Resources and Tools for PBL Start to Finish

Educators from Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas, part of the New Tech Network of schools, have provided these resources and tools for project-based learning.

May 23, 2012
Credit: Zachary Fink
English teacher Mary Mobley (at computer) shared the PBL resources and tools she and her teaching partner created for their sophomore world studies project featuring the novel "The Hunger Games".

Documents to Help You Get Started

The Hunger Games Project Documents

Below are sample project-based learning documents from teachers Mary Mobley (English) and Michael Chambers (world history) of Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas. They team-teach a sophomore world studies class. These documents were used for their "Controlling Factors" project, a three-week project in which students learned about the global economic crisis of the pre-World War II era, how it led to the rise of totalitarianism, and the societal moral dilemmas that arose out of those conditions, and then drew parallels to similar fictional themes in the novel The Hunger Games. (Read more about it in the Step-by-Step Guide to the Best Projects.)

Project Form - completed for Hunger Games project

Project Form - blank sample

When Manor New Tech teachers create a project they must first submit a project planning form. The form was created as a guide for teachers by the Buck Institute for Education.

Project Calendar - completed for Hunger Games project

Project Calendar - blank sample

The project calendar lays out the state standards covered, objectives, and deliverables due for each day of the project from the entry event through the final project presentations.

The entry event is used to engage and motivate the students when the project is introduced. This video was created by Mobley and Chambers as the entry event for the Controlling Factors project.

Rubric - completed for Hunger Games project

Rubric - blank sample A

Rubric - blank sample B

Project rubrics usually include the following elements:

  • Driving questions
  • Overview of the project
  • State standards
  • Assessment criteria on content literacy, critical thinking, and oral engagement
  • Rhetorical strategies


Workshops are provided during the project process to help clarify concepts, answer questions, and share information. Workshops for each project differ depending on student needs, but can include lectures, creating graphic organizers, and group discussions. For the Controlling Factors project, students had the option of writing about real moral dilemmas from events in history or creating fictional examples based on the book The Hunger Games. Then they had group discussions about these moral dilemmas. Below are student examples:

Additional PBL Documents from Manor New Tech High School

"Bourne to be Wild" -- World Geography

"When Opinion is Not Enough" -- International Culture and History

"Re-creating a Planet" -- World Geography

Students present their in-progress projects to each other for peer review and use these peer-to-peer critique sheets to give each other feedback.

Students write group contracts detailing each team member's role on a project. The contract must be signed by all members at the beginning of a project.

Think Forward Brochure

Brochure on Think Forward's four-day conference on project-based learning.

Mary Mobley created this presentation on writing rubrics for the Think Forward Institute.

Podcast created by the Digital Media Literacy class. This must be viewed or downloaded using iTunes.

Culture at Manor New Tech High School

An overview of Manor New Tech for visitors, including mission statement, learning outcomes, and the school's commitments to their students

Manor New Tech's learning outcomes for all classes

Daily bell schedule for Manor New Tech

Additional Resources on the Web

Manor New Technology High School -- Manor New Tech's website

New Tech Network -- Nonprofit that works with schools and districts nationwide providing services and support to help reform learning through PBL

Buck Institute for Education -- Nonprofit dedicated to improving 21st-century teaching and learning through effective project-based learning

Educate Texas -- Educate Texas connects legislators, funders, business groups, school administrators and teachers to create change for Texas students

The System for Teacher and Student Advancement Program (TAP) -- A National Institute for Excellence in Teaching Initiative was created in 1999 to develop and retain highly effective educators

Texas Education Agency -- Texas state agency whose goal is to provide leadership, guidance, and resources to help schools meet the educational needs of all students

Dinah Zike Academy -- Institute for training teachers in the use of graphic organizers

Suggested Reading

PBL Handbook. Thom Markham, John Larmer and Jason Ravitz (2003) The Buck Institute for Education

Notebook Connections: Strategies for the Reader's Notebook. Aimee Buckner (2009) Stenhouse Publishers

Reviving the Essay: How to Teach Structure Without Formula. Gretchen Bernabei (2005) Discover Writing Press

Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading. Tanny McGregor (2007) Heinemann Educational Books

More Edutopia Resources on Project-Based Learning:

Schools That Work Package: Project Learning in Maine

School Snapshot

Manor New Technology High School

Grades 9-12 | Manor, TX
345 | Public, Suburban
Per Pupil Expenditures
$5488 School$6909 District$7494 State
Free / Reduced Lunch
44% Hispanic
32% White
22% Black
2% Asian

5% English language learners
4% Special needs

Data is from the 2011-12 academic year.

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