Saturday, January 26, 2013

PBL...Bringing the real world to life

After reading the three articles and watching the video segments that were included, I noticed that all three Project Based Learning situations had many things in common. I particularly noticed this when it came to the overall project design, and the roles of those who were involved. All three of the projects involved both students and teachers; however, there seemed to be a slight role reversal. Teachers were doing much of the “behind the scenes” planning and organization of the project, while the students were very much in charge of their own learning on a daily basis. The planning and organization of the project needs to be conducted by the teacher to ensure that the State Standards are being met, along with the fact that various subject areas are being woven into the project. The students who are participating are directly involved, extremely engaged, and anxious to continue the project each day at school. 

Students were first able to conduct a project that was chosen by the class that provoked their curiosity and interest. They then conducted experiments, research, and activities that helped to bring the project to life, while creating a learning experience that was one of a kind. The projects allowed students to work as, for, and with, other community members so that their experiences with the project could be more lifelike. For example, the high school students’ future schools were judged by local architects, who volunteered their time, to judge the creations based on real world standards. The project involving the study of asthma and Cystic Fibrosis had a lot of real world application to the students due to the fact that one of their classmates was dealing with this disease. The idea of having a local nurse come in to explain some of the symptoms of Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis was key to the students’ understanding of the diseases so that they could better conduct their research.

Throughout the duration of all of the activities involved with the projects, teachers were able to conduct various assessments that supported the learning process, and they were able to see direct, real-world connections being formed from the students’ perspectives. All of the projects increased students’ awareness of the world around them, and allowed them to display their projects using the latest technology available to them.

I loved the idea of these types of projects in a classroom because they really seem to spark an incredible interest in students that is otherwise not always there. Students participating in Project Based Learning have a hands-on experience like no other, and that engagement can often lead to a better understanding of the concept being taught. Throughout the entire process, not only do students want to do the work, but students learn how to work. They do so by working collaboratively with others while using their 21st Century Skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and questioning.

Once I narrow my focus on a particular area, I’m excited to give PBL a try in my classroom:)

The articles listed below have active links that you can use to view the information that I discussed above…check them out!

Armstrong, S. (2002). Geometry students angle into architecture through project learning. Edutopia. Retrieved from

Curtis, D. (2001). More fun than a barrel of . . . worms?! Edutopia. Retrieved from

Curtis, D. (2002). March of the Monarchs: students follow the butterflies' migration. Edutopia. Retrieved from .

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