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

The Happy Eating Place: How Elementary Students Can Run Their Own Business

Last comment 5 days 14 hours ago
6 54 12,863 views

Big Ideas for Better Schools: Ten Ways to Improve Education

Last comment 1 week 4 days ago
9 619 68,766 views

Collaboration: Key to Innovation

Last comment 3 weeks 8 hours ago
4 1,470 6,922 views

Browse

Article

Sammamish Year 3: Teaching, Leadership, and School Change

A year after introducing us to the schoolwide PBL curriculum at Sammamish High, teacher leader Adrienne Curtis Dickinson reviews how their seven key elements have played out in course design, professional development, and student learning.

4 586 5,933 views
High School Teachers Meet the Challenges of PBL Implementation
video

High School Teachers Meet the Challenges of PBL Implementation

Teachers at Sammamish High in Washington share their difficulties and triumphs as their school moves from traditional delivery of instruction to schoolwide problem-based learning.

46 6,180 views
Article

Focus on Audience for Better PBL Results

Edutopia blogger and PBL expert Suzie Boss describes how connecting students with a real audience often leads to deeper learning.

5 496 8,899 views
Article

PBL Meets WWII: A History Lesson to Remember

Guest blogger Heather Calabro, teacher and founding member of Mid-Pacific Institute's eXploratory Program, details a PBL history project about WWII that her students took to heart - and took much farther than she expected.

3 245 9,895 views
Article

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 2,990 27,458 views
Article

5 Tips for Flipping Your PBL Classroom

Edutopia blogger Andrew Miller considers how the project-based learning and flipped-classroom models can successfully intersect, offering five tips for engaging students in the project while moving aspects of it outside the classroom walls.

25 707 16,574 views
Article

How to Build Students' Creative Confidence

Edutopia blogger Suzie Boss proposes teachers carve out a Genius Hour, providing students a regular time each week to tackle projects that reflect their personal interests and passions.

5 1,080 11,626 views

Pages

photo of young students working on a project
Article

My PBL Failure: 4 Tips for Planning Successful PBL

Here are four lessons learned from a failed PBL unit: align with the school calendar, allow planning time, carefully create the topic and guiding question, and collaborate with peers.

8 658 13,110 views
article

Reinventing a Public High School: A Case Study in Integrating Problem-Based Learning

Keep up to date with Edutopia's coverage as we follow the whole-school transformation of Sammamish High School, near Seattle -- from traditional delivery of instruction to completely problem-based learning.

1 21 13,110 views
Two young girls are standing on grass next to a table with paper, stamp ink, crayons, and glove-like cloth that they're using as stamps. One girl is pushing her glove into the stamp ink, and the other girl is holding up her glove.
Article

Making Room for Children's Ideas Through PBL

An educator recognizes the value of PBL while watching his young son play creatively with engineering design, scaling, iterating, imagining, selecting materials, and mapping steps toward a goal.

3 2,499 12,863 views
Article

The Happy Eating Place: How Elementary Students Can Run Their Own Business

Fourth and fifth graders develop a service learning project that prepares meals for their school community and donates the proceeds to a county food bank.

6 54 12,863 views
Article

Kids Like Blues: Using Music and Video to Rock Your Classroom

Teacher and musician Jon Schwartz tells the amusing and inspiring story (with generous video examples) of how he turned the blues into an effective pedagogy for his first graders.

8 358 12,863 views
Article

A Call to Action: Challenges Facing Global Youth

Blogger Suzie Boss proposes sharing the International Youth Foundation report with students, and using it to inform class discussions on global education and the current economic trends.

62 12,863 views
Illo of a Baltimore Oriole with an olive branch in its mouth
Article

Teachable Moments and Academic Rigor: A Mini-Unit

Teachers present a PBL unit to help students understand, through the violent, tragic events in Ferguson and Baltimore, how public perception affects law enforcement and justice.

402 12,616 views

Pages

Girls testing wing strength using plywood
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.

15 214 78,413 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...

2 3,450 106,859 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 2,966 views