Project-Based Learning Elements

The core idea of project-based learning is that real-world problems capture students' interest and provoke serious thinking as the students acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context. The teacher plays the role of facilitator, working with students to frame worthwhile questions, structuring meaningful tasks, coaching both knowledge development and social skills, and carefully assessing what students have learned from the experience. Typical projects present a problem to solve (What is the best way to reduce the pollution in the schoolyard pond?) or a phenomenon to investigate (What causes rain?). PBL replaces other traditional models of instruction such as lecture, textbook-workbook driven activities and inquiry as the preferred delivery method for key topics in the curriculum. It is an instructional framework which allows teachers to facilitate and assess deeper understanding rather than stand and deliver factual information. PBL intentionally develops students' problem solving and creative making of products to communicate deeper understanding of key concepts and mastery of 21st Century essential learning skills such as critical thinking. Students become active digital researchers and assessors of their own learning when teachers guide student learning so that students learn from the project making processes. In this context, PBLs are units of self-directed learning from students' doing or making throughout the unit. PBL is not just "an activity" (project) that is stuck on the end of a lesson or unit.

Comprehensive project-based learning:
is organized around an open-ended driving question or challenge.
creates a need to know essential content and skills.
requires inquiry to learn and/or create something new.
requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication, often known as 21st century skills.
allows some degree of student voice and choice.
incorporates feedback and revision.
results in a publicly presented product or performance.