In Project-Based Learning (PBL) learners engage in extended inquiry in response to a Driving Question, a complex problem or challenge (the solution can't be Googled). Students in collaborative teams explore specific areas in depth and ultimately capture and disseminate their learning to other teams in a very powerful way: by creating a knowledge transfer process which results in a learning community - accelerating the learning of everyone over time.

PBL does not mean abandoning establish curricular units. Often PBL can be accomplished through a shift enabled by the driving question:
Traditional Project

PBL Project with Driving Question
Create a model of a cell with all the organelles.

Can we improve on nature? Design a better Cell! Explain how your improvements overcome current limitations of the cell.

Research indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning. In addition, students develop confidence and self-direction as they move through both team-based and independent work.

In the process of completing their projects, students also hone their organizational and research skills, develop better communication with their peers and adults, and often work within their community while seeing the positive effect of their work.Because students are evaluated on the basis of their projects, rather than on the comparatively narrow rubrics defined by exams, essays, and written reports, assessment of project-based work is often more meaningful to them.

Link to Larger Graphic

Developing and Refining Your Project


Managing Your Project

Evaluating the Project

Managing PBL with your Online Class Space

Click Here for 21st Century Learning Standards

An exemplar PBL school

Sample SLA UBD and Rubric

Our resources have been adapted from BIE

A wonderful Framework for differentiating in a PBL setting.