Every year at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine, teachers stage a model car race as the culminating event for an integrated math and physics project that helps students connect to content in a hands-on way. Teams of students design, test, and tinker with several car designs before the big day in an attempt to build the fastest—and the slowest—model cars. And on race day, an atmosphere of competition and celebration builds excitement for their demonstrations of learning. Only one team wins, but everyone walks away with a better grasp on higher-level STEM concepts.
To learn more about the research behind the practices seen in the video, check out the links below.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics’ report on how play enhances development in young children (2018)
- Kayleigh Skene, Christine M. O’Farrelly, Elizabeth M. Byrne, Natalie Kirby, Eloise C. Stevens, and Paul G. Ramchandani’s meta-analysis and review on whether guidance during play can enhance children’s learning and development in educational contexts (2022)
- Rachel Parker, Bo Stjerne Thomsen, and Amy Berry’s article on learning through play at school (2022)
- Rosangela Bando, Emma Näslund-Hadley and Paul Gertler’s study “Effect of Inquiry and Problem Based Pedagogy on Learning: Evidence from 10 Field Experiments in Four Countries” (2019)
- Lu Zhang and Yan Ma’s “A study on the impact of project-based learning on student learning effects: a meta-analysis study” (2023)
- Cheng-Huan Chen and Yong-Cih Yang’s study “Revisiting the effects of project-based learning on students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis investigating moderators” (2019)
- Linda Darling-Hammond, Lisa Flook, Channa Cook-Harvey, Brigid Barron and David Osher’s article “Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development” (2019)
- Helena M. Thuneberg, Hannu S. Salmi and Franz X. Bogner’s research on the link between cognitive learning and hands-on inquiry in math (2018)