All resources in Project Based Learning

Opening the World through Journaling: Integrating Art, Science, and Language Arts

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"Opening the World through Journaling: Integrating Art, Science, and Language Arts" teaches children to become keen observers of the natural world by drawing and writing about the plants and animals in situ. In a set of nested exercises, students use games to gain confidence in drawing and writing as a way to gather information. Later, they employ these skills to put together a field guide, make treasure maps, and to write short stories and poems.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Authors: Emily Bruenig, John Muir Laws

City X Project

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The City X Project is an international educational workshop for 8-12 year-old students that teaches creative problem solving using 3D printing technologies and the design process. This 6-10 hour workshop is designed for 3rd-6th grade classrooms but can be adapted to fit a variety of environments. Read a full overview of the experience here:

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Diagram/Illustration, Interactive, Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Authors: Brett Schilke, Libby Falck, Matthew Straub

Engineering Derby: Tool Ingenuity

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Student teams are challenged to navigate a table tennis ball through a timed obstacle course using only the provided unconventional “tools.” Teams act as engineers by working through the steps of the engineering design process to complete the overall task with each group member responsible to accomplish one of the obstacle course challenges. Inspired by the engineers who helped the Apollo 13 astronauts through critical problems in space, students must be innovative with the provided supplies to use them as tools to move the ball through the obstacles as swiftly as possible. Groups are encouraged to communicate with each other to share vital information. The course and tool choices are easily customizable for varied age groups and/or difficulty levels. Pre/post assessment handouts, competition rules and judging rubric are provided.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Andrew Palermo

Project Based Learning: Collaborative Project Guide

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A GNG collaborative project is a project-based learning activity that challenges students to work together to develop solutions to real-world problems. Within and across classrooms, students collaborate to identify a challenge in their local or global communities and develop a project that addresses the issue by promoting positive change and community engagement.

Material Type: Interactive

Author: Global Nomads Group (GNG)

Project-Based Learning: Changing the Face of Traditional Education

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Project-based learning in a technology rich environment can be effective in K-12 classrooms allowing students to negotiate understanding and construct knowledge in social situations. Benefits include connecting students in communities in and outside of their cultures, and meeting learning goals in non-institutional fashion, while educators share practices and resources using technology tools. When projects endure over time, characteristics of communities of practice begin to emerge in which shared content grows and is amended by participants, generating historical artifacts. Once instantiated, the project philosophy provides an ongoing basis for immersive learning, using wikis, blogs, and other social networking applications. A projectbased classroom philosophy sets an engaging, attractive environment for students by meeting their needs to be socially involved, as opposed to being passive receivers. An example long term Internet learning event called the Monster Project is examined in this paper. Widespread use of project-based learning has been curtailed by a strong focus on traditional instruction to meet testing goals. Research shows that active participation in project-based education results in students being more intrinsically motivated, more likely to show conceptual understanding, and more well adjusted than students in traditional education modes. These characteristics are those of a community of practice, where members are informally connected by their accomplishments and by what they learn together. The range of academic content that can be integrated into project-based learning as the main approach in a classroom is bounded only by a teacher’s energy and creativity.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Terry K. Smith

PBL Project

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PBL activity in which students are researching what their school year should look like. This includes coming up with when breaks will be, start and end time of the regular school day, and why they think their calendar is what our school should use. They will present their final project to their classmates, instructor, and a school administrator defending their position.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Abby Marcoux

Using Models of Quality Work

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Using models of quality work is a powerful strategy for Gold Standard Project Based Learning. When students analyze models that exemplify high-quality work in the genre or format they are working to produce, it helps them gain a clear sense of the expectations for their final product. Students then apply the insights from their analysis of these models to develop, self-assess, and refine their work, aiming for the standard of excellence they saw modeled in the exemplars.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Aujalee Moore

Air Quality InQuiry (AQ-IQ)

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Students engage in hands-on, true-to-life research experiences on air quality topics chosen for personal interest through a unit composed of one lesson and five associated activities. Using a project-based learning approach suitable for secondary science classrooms and low-cost air quality monitors, students gain the background and skills needed to conduct their own air quality research projects. The curriculum provides: 1) an introduction to air quality science, 2) data collection practice, 3) data analysis practice, 4) help planning and conducting a research project and 5) guidance in interpreting data and presenting research in professional poster format. The comprehensive curriculum requires no pre-requisite knowledge of air quality science or engineering. This curriculum takes advantage of low-cost, next-generation, open-source air quality monitors called Pods. These monitors were developed in a mechanical engineering lab at the University of Colorado Boulder and are used for academic research as well as education and outreach. The monitors are made available for use with this curriculum through AQ-IQ Kits that may be rented from the university by teachers. Alternatively, nearly the entire unit, including the student-directed projects, could also be completed without an air quality monitor. For example, students can design research projects that utilize existing air quality data instead of collecting their own, which is highly feasible since much data is publically available. In addition, other low-cost monitors could be used instead of the Pods. Also, the curriculum is intentionally flexible, so that the lesson and its activities can be used individually. See the Other section for details about the Pods and ideas for alternative equipment, usage without air quality monitors, and adjustments to individually teach the lesson and activities.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Authors: Ashley Collier, Ben Graves, Daniel Knight, Drew Meyers, Eric Ambos, Eric Lee, Erik Hotaling, Evan Coffey, Hanadi Adel Salamah, Joanna Gordon, Katya Hafich, Michael Hannigan, Nicholas VanderKolk, Olivia Cecil, Victoria Danner