Project-Based Learning (PBL) Resources

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Project-based learning, or PBL, requires thorough, "hands-on" classroom projects with "real world" applicability to facilitate active learning. PBL also requires students to use higher level critical thinking skills to master tasks and outcomes. Not to be confused with problem-based learning, project-based learning was first promoted by the California-based Buck Institute for Education (BIE) in the early 1990; the organization is still the leading resource on the topic.

Teachers in all subject areas can utilize PBL in their classrooms. Use these resources below to get started. Also, a word of advice for teaching your first PBL: start small. PBL units can be massive, some of which can span an entire semester.

Consider these resources to get started:

The Buck Institute for Education’s PBL Site - If you haven’t worked with PBL planning before, this is a great resource to begin with. Learn about the basics of PBLs, watch student testimonials, and access several PBL tools.

Edutopia’s PBL Site - Another invaluable PBL resource.

How to Lecture in a PBL Classroom - An excellent column about the PBL process.

PBL Checklists - Browse age-appropriate, customizable project checklists for written reports, multimedia projects, oral presentations, and other projects.

PBL Online - Browse PBLs and learn how to design your own project, plan rigorous and relevant standards-focused lessons that engage students in authentic learning activities, teach 21st century skills, and demand demonstration of mastery.

Teach 21 PBL site - Access to a growing collection of PBLs created by West Virginia public school teachers. PBLs are available across many subjects and grade levels.

Houghton Mifflin's Project-Based Learning Space would make an excellent, printable quick reference guide to PBL.


Further Reading:

Would you like to see learn more about how PBL is carried out in the classroom? Educational blog Edudemic provides this excellent post "An Inside Look At How Project-Based Learning Actually Works". (Note: A few Youtube videos are embedded in this post, so you might wish to watch them off-campus.)

Educator and blogger Amy Meyer helps alleviate some confusion in her post, "What's the Difference Between "Doing Projects" and "Project Based Learning"? The chart she refers to is available for download.


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