• Project-Based Learning 


    The Duxbury Public School District is continuing a major initiative to enhance pK-12 curricula by embedding project-based instruction in all Curriculum Maps and Understanding by Design templates (UbDs). Project-based learning is a dynamic element in the District’s newly developed Strategic Plan. This initiative requires professional development resources and time over the next 2-5 years. As students require 21st-century instruction and skills in order to be successful in a global environment, this initiative will encourage collaboration while enriching learning for students and faculty.

    The information regarding project-based learning on this link is the beginning of a journey requiring life-long learning. Please refer to this website link periodically for updates and feel free to send any information about this topic to me at dklingaman@duxbury.k12.ma.us.



    Strategic Plan: PBL Focus


    Smart Blog on Education

    Ideas that Work

    Dispelling misunderstandings about PBL

     by Andrew Miller         

    I spend a good chunk of time on Twitter, often participating in or lurking on a Twitter chat. I have seen project-based learning — PBL — a topic of discussion, but at the same time, I see a lot of claims about PBL that are just not true. What bothers me about these claims is not that they are wrong but that these misconceptions lead to further problems when implementing PBL. I’d like to take some time to dispel some of these misunderstandings in hopes that they clear up other issues teachers may have with PBL.

    (Read more "Smart Blog") 



    5 Tools to Help Students Learn How to Learn

     Helping students learn how to learn: That’s what most educators strive for, and that’s the goal of~ inquiry learning. ~That skill transfers to other academic subject areas and even to the workplace where employers have consistently said that~ they want creative, innovative and adaptive thinkers. Inquiry learning is an integrated approach that includes kinds of learning: content, literacy, information literacy, learning how to learn, and social or collaborative skills. Students think about the choices they make throughout the process and the way they feel as they learn. Those observations are as important as the content they learn or the projects they create. 


     Going Deep: STEM in the Connected Classroom

    Units that incorporate each component of STEM -- or science, technology, engineering, and math -- and connect students to the larger world to achieve deeper learning are at the heart of project-based learning, Nevada-based STEM instructional coach Brian Crosby writes in this blog post. Crosby outlines steps for including each part of STEM, plus ideas that teachers can use to guide students to develop critical-thinking skills.



    February 11, 2013


    What Project-Based Learning Is — and What It Isn’t

    January 2, 2013 | 10:43 AM | By Katrina Schwartz


    The term "project-based learning" gets tossed around a lot in discussions about how to connect students to what they’re learning. Teachers might add projects meant to illustrate what students have learned, but may not realize what they’re doing is actually called "project-oriented learning." And it’s quite different from project-based learning, according to eighth-grade Humanities teacher Azul Terronez. (Click here to continue reading)


                                                                 Project-based classes focus on hands-on learning

        8 Essentials for Project-Based Learning
    Some "projects" border on busywork. Others involve meaningful inquiry that engages students' minds.



    When Students Do the Teaching

    OCTOBER 16, 2012

    Not every teacher gets to hear these words: the process of making "this video gave me a better understanding of how teachers' teach, so when I am faced with a math problem that I don't understand I can break it down and teach it to myself." This quote came from a ninth-grade student at the culmination of the Upside Down Academy project.  Continue Reading - Click Here


    Why Learning Should Be Messy

    October 18, 2012 | 9:49 AM | By MindShift

    The following is an excerpt of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School, by 17-year-old Nikhil Goyal, a senior at Syosset High School in Woodbury, New York. Continue Reading- Click Here


    An Uncommon Path to Common Core Implementation: PBL

    Re-imagining teaching under the common core can boost engagement:

    As schools prepare to implement the Common Core State Standards, Lydia Dobyns, president of the nonprofit New Tech Network, offers some suggestions for helping teachers to turn the standards into engaging instruction. She points to Josh Hatala, a Rensselaer, N.Y., high-school social studies and language arts teacher, who used project-based learning on an American history assignment to encourage students to think critically, remain engaged, improve collaboration and information literacy skills that are part of the common core. 


    Edutopia Project Based Learning Guide

    Click above

    An overview of the Edutopia professional development guide for teaching how to use project-based learning in the classroom.



    Project-Based Learning


    Problem-Based Learning


    Project-Based Learning

    Project-based learning, or PBL, is the use of in-depth and rigorous classroom projects to facilitate learning and assess student competence (not to be confused with problem-based learning). Students use technology and inquiry to respond to a complex issue, problem or challenge. PBL focuses on student-centered inquiry and group learning with the teacher acting as a facilitator.



    Project-based learning is best defined as instruction relating questions and technology relative to the students' everyday lives to classroom projects. Students form their own investigation of their own group, which allows students to develop valuable research skills. The students engage in design, problem-solving, decision-making, and investigative activities. It allows students to work in groups or by themselves and allows them to come up with ideas and realistic solutions or presentations. Students take a problem and apply it to a real-life situation with these projects.

    Project-based learning (PBL) provides complex tasks based on challenging questions or problems that involve the students' problem solving, decision making, investigative skills, and reflection that include teacher facilitation, but not direction. Project Based Learning is focused on questions that drive students to encounter the central concepts and principles of a subject hands-on.


    With Project-based learning, students learn from these experiences and take them into account and apply them to their lives in the real world. PBL is a different teaching technique that promotes and practices new learning habits. The students have to think in original ways to come up with the solutions to these real-world problems. It helps with their creative thinking skills by showing that there are many ways to solve a problem.


    Important characteristics of project-based learning include the following:

    • Students can shape the project to fit their own interests and abilities.
    • Students collect and analyze information, make discoveries, and report their results.
    • Students conduct research using multiple sources of information.
    • The project cuts across a number of disciplines.
    • Students must draw on a broad range of knowledge and skills.
    • The project extends over a significant period of time.
    • The project involves the design and development of a product, presentation, or performance that can be used or viewed by others.
    • The context for the subject matter is larger than the immediate lesson.
    • The instruction and facilitation is guided by a broad range of teaching goals.


    Problem-based Learning

    Problem-based learning is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject in the context of complex, multifaceted, and realistic problems (not to be confused with project-based learning). Working in groups, students identify what they already know, what they need to know, and how and where to access new information that may lead to resolution of the problem.


    The role of the instructor (known as the tutor in PBL) is that of facilitator of learning who provides appropriate scaffolding and support of the process, modeling of the process, and monitoring the learning. The tutor must build students' confidence to take on the problem, encourage the student, while also stretching their understanding.

    PBL was pioneered in the medical school program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in the late 1960's by Howard Barrows and his colleagues. The PBL curriculum was developed in order to stimulate the learners, assist the learners in seeing the relevance of learning to future roles, maintain a higher level of motivation towards learning, and to show the learners the importance of responsible, professional attitudes (Barrows, 1996).

    Problem-Based Learning subsequently has been adopted by other medical school programs (Barrows, 1996), adapted for undergraduate instruction (Boud and Feletti, 1997; Duch et al., 2001; Amador et al., 2006) as well as elementary and high school (Barrows, 1996; Gasser, 2011). The use of PBL has expanded from its initial introduction into medical school programs to include education in the areas of other health sciences, math, law, education, economics, business, social studies, and engineering (Barrows 1996; Gasser, 2011). The use of PBL, like other student-centered pedagogies, has been motivated by recognition of the failures of traditional instruction (Wingspread, 1994; Boyer, 1998) and the emergence of deeper understandings of how people learn (National Research Council, 2000). Unlike traditional instruction, PBL actively engages the student in constructing knowledge. PBL includes problems that can be solved in many different ways and have more than one solution. A good problem is authentic, meets students level of prior knowledge, engages students in discussion, and is interesting.


    The steps involved in problem-based learning include:

    • determining what the problem is;
    • creating a specific statement of the problem;
    • identifying the information needed;
    • identifying the resources to be used to find that information;
    • developing a possible solution;
    • analyzing and refining the solution;
    • presenting the final solution, orally and/or in writing.


    PBL Links