Top PBL News Stories

Here are some articles, blog posts, research studies, and other resources I’ve recently run across that relate to Project Based Learning.

How Teachers Set the Stage for Sticky Learning
ASCD Express
This article by Suzie Boss for ASCD’s “Make Learning Memorable” themed Aug. 9 newsletter explains why and how learning with PBL “sticks” with students.

Emotions Are the Rudder That Steers Thinking
ASCD Education Update
Here’s a powerful argument for PBL that engages students minds and hearts. A couple of key quotes from the interview with University of Southern California professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang: “emotions are the thing that is causing us to think” and “Knowledge of your learners and their contexts then informs how you orchestrate opportunities for project-based learning, active reflection, debate, and Socratic dialogue.”

God Save the Routine: Debunking Five Myths and Avoiding Anarchy in the PBL Classroom
ASCD Education Update
PBL consultant Jenny Pieratt offers some sage advice for common myths about PBL, such as “Students should have voice and choice over all things” and “The teacher should always take the back seat” and “Assessment is a dirty word.”

Why We Might Consider Teaching Less This Year
Education Week Teacher
It doesn’t mention PBL explicitly, but this article gives a clear, basic argument for changing traditional instruction that relies too much on covering content and “teacher thinking and teacher talk.”

Four Inquiry Qualities at the Heart of Student-Centered Teaching
KQED Mind/Shift
Teacher and author Trevor MacKenzie gives a very helpful explanation of how terms like PBL, design thinking, genius hour, and other student-centered instructional strategies all have inquiry-based learning as a foundation.

Embed Computational Thinking into PBL
Jorge Valenzuela, a member of Buck’s National Faculty, tells the story of his daughter’s STEAM/coding design challenge and provides many related resources for PBL teachers.

Generalizing 'For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood ... and the Rest of Y'all Too'
Education Week Teacher
This is not about PBL per se, but it connects to what we say about the need to design projects that are authentic to students’ lives, cultures, interests and identities—which requires that teachers get to know their students, as the author advises.

How Can We Successfully Land a Rover on Mars?
Suzie Boss describes how “the classic egg drop experiment gets re-invented as a driving question for physics students to explore a real-world problem”—with engineers from local aerospace companies in the public audience for their final presentations.

Using a Mock Trial to Build Literacy Skills
Author and educational equity advocate Shane Safir offers an excellent structure for conducting a mock trial, which is a classic format for PBL, especially in history and literature-anchored projects.

The Workshop School: Where Project Based Learning Gives Back
EdWeek Market Brief
The story of a public school in Philadelphia “focused on solving real-world problems” whose summer program includes some very cool projects, including rebuilding cars, creating businesses, digital animation and photo editing, and designing a restorative justice program for the school.

Projects: what they’ll remember in 20 years
Emergent Math
Here’s a nice blog by a math teacher who connects the kinds of projects they remember from school with practical advice and good sample projects for fellow math teachers.


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