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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning is a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge.

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Overview

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. Watch an introduction video.

History

What's the History of PBL?

Confucius and Aristotle were early proponents of learning by doing. Socrates modeled how to learn through questioning, inquiry, and critical thinking -- all strategies that remain very relevant in today's PBL classrooms. Learn more.

Experts

What the Experts Say

"One of the major advantages of project work is that it makes school more like real life." --Sylvia Chard, University of Alberta See what other experts say.

Research

Research: Studies on PBL Success

Did you know PBL students remember learned content for longer periods of time? Did you know PBL students view themselves as better prepared in problem solving and perform better in tasks that emphasize understanding and application of knowledge? Dig deeper.

Discuss

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Browse

blog

Grit Happens in PBL

Looking for practical applications of grit? Try project-based learning and move beyond character education to teach students how stuff gets done in the real world.

7 2,577 7,185 views
blog

Personalized PBL: Student-Designed Learning

Project-based learning may be the best vehicle for personalized learning as teachers move beyond "course-based" approaches and open the way for student-designed curriculum.

8 878 10,144 views
Five Keys to Rigorous Project-Based Learning
video

Five Keys to Rigorous Project-Based Learning

Well-designed project-based learning (PBL) has been shown to result in deeper learning and engaged, self-directed learners. Learn more about the five core elements of successful PBL.

14 5,129 93,174 views
blog

From Modern Farm to Sustainable Table: Teaching STEM and Humanities with Authenticity

Follow a ninth grade interdisciplinary PBL class from an on-site sustainability study through designing hydroponic gardens, growing food, and an Iron Chef cook-off.

566 3,804 views
blog

Using Entrepreneurship to Transform Student Work

Guest blogger Raleigh Werberger, a high school history and humanities teacher, describes a PBL unit that flipped a class from 'just good enough' to creating a working business model and seeking funds to launch a startup.

2,319 5,353 views
blog

Innovative Education: Make Room for "What Ifs"

Edutopia blogger Suzie Boss highlights a science project where eighth-graders created a "robohand" after their teacher invited them to solve a real-world problem.

2 3,081 11,695 views
blog

AP and PBL: It Works!

Edutopia blogger Andrew Miller, challenging the assumption that PBL is incompatible with AP expectations, suggests three ways of making them more synergistic: embedding assessments within the project, using past exams for review, and targeting...

1,312 3,945 views

Pages

Anatomy of a Project: "Soil Superheroes"
video

Anatomy of a Project: "Soil Superheroes"

Project Learning Assignment: Seventh graders work with community experts to advance their understanding of bacteria in the environment -- and then share their findings with the community at large.

48 20,690 views
blog

Critical Thinking Pathways

To teach critical thinking, consider applying six definitions of that discipline to the practices of authentic inquiry, PBL, and integrated studies.

7 1,491 20,408 views
article

Project-Based Learning Research: Annotated Bibliography

Dig deeper into the specific articles, studies, and reports included in our project-based learning research review.

44 20,408 views
blog

Curious Homework: An Inquiry Project for Students and Parents

Blogger Suzie Boss presents real examples of how to continue to engage student curiosity in school after the homework projects are over.

8 2,984 19,986 views
blog

The Role of PBL in Making the Shift to Common Core

Guest blogger Sara Hallermann, Curriculum Development Manager at Buck Institute for Education, looks through the lens of PBL to show how six of the Common Core's big ideas are compatible with this activity-centered approach.

9 1,002 19,705 views
blog

Good-to-Go Projects for 2014

Edutopia blogger Suzie Boss proposes teachers start with a ready-made plan they can adapt to fit within the context of their classroom.

3 1,870 19,564 views
blog

5 PBL Best Practices for Redefining the Teacher's Role

PBL changes a teacher's traditional role through framing the learning, helping students develop ideas, consulting as they revise, and encouraging feedback, reflection, and authentic presentations.

5 5,878 19,423 views

Pages

Article

Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide

An overview of the Edutopia professional development guide for teaching how to use project-based learning in the classroom.

15 219 62,351 views

Classroom Guide: Top Ten Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning

This guide will inspire and expand your thinking about effective assessment for project-based learning. Tips are organized to follow the arc of a project: planning, launch into active learning, and then a culminating presentation. Reflection is the final...

3,439 158,762 views
Article

Project Learning: Model Schools with Solutions

Project learning encourages students to explore real-world challenges while developing cross-curriculum skills in small collaborative groups. Edutopia has visited many schools that have implemented project-based learning programs -- here are some of the best...

1 2 5,917 views