Why Is PBL
HOW DOES PBL WORK?
A process for setting up project-based learning.
Project-based learning, as with all lessons, requires much preparation and planning. It begins with an idea and an essential question. When designing the project and the essential question that will launch the activities, it is important to remember that many content standards will be addressed. With these standards in mind, devise a plan that will integrate as many subjects as possible into the project.
Have in mind what materials and resources will be accessible to the students. Next, students will need to be given assistance in managing their time -- a definite life skill. Finally, have multiple means for assessing your students' completion of the project: Did the students master the content? Were they able to apply their new knowledge and skills? Many educators involve their students in developing these rubrics.
Steps for Implementing PBL
Start with the Essential Question
The question that will launch a PBL lesson must be one that will engage your students. It is greater than the task at hand. It is open ended. It will pose a problem or a situation they can tackle, knowing that there is no one answer or solution.
Take a real-world topic and begin an in-depth investigation. Base your question on an authentic situation or topic. What is happening in your classroom? In your community? Select a question about an issue students will believe that, by answering, they are having an impact on. Make it relevant for them. The question should be a "now" question -- a question that has meaning in your students' lives.
Design a Plan for the Project
When designing the project, it is essential that you have in mind which content standards will be addressed. Involve the students in planning; they will feel ownership of the project when they are actively involved in decision making. Select activities that support the question and utilize the curriculum, thus fueling the process. Integrate as many subjects as possible into the project. Know what materials and resources will be accessible to the students to assist them. Be prepared to delve deeper into new topics and new issues that arise as the students become increasingly involved in the active pursuit of answers.
Create a Schedule
Design a timeline for project components. Realize that changes to the schedule will happen. Be flexible, but help the students realize that a time will come when they need to finalize their thoughts, findings, and evaluations. Consider these issues when creating a schedule:
Enable success by practicing the following tactics:
Also, allow students to go in new directions, but guide them when they appear to digress from the project. When a group seems to be going in a different direction, ask the students to explain the reasoning behind their actions. They may have an insight to a solution you haven't seen. Help the children stay on course, but don't accidentally set limitations.
Monitor the Students and the Progress of the Project
To maintain control without preventing students from taking responsibility for their work, take these steps:
What's the difference between these two assessment models? Team rubrics state the expectations of each team member: Watch the group dynamics. How well are the members participating? How engaged are they in the process? Assess the outcome.
Project rubrics, on the other hand, ask these questions: What is required for project completion? What is the final product: A document? A multimedia presentation? A poster? A combination of products? What does a good report, multimedia presentation, poster, or other product look like? Make the requirements clear to the students so that they can all meet with success.
Assess the Outcome
Assessment meets many needs. It
Whenever possible, give the students the opportunity to conduct self-assessment. When a student's assessment and the teacher's assessment don't agree, schedule a student-teacher conference to let the student explain in more detail his or her understanding of the content and justify the outcome.
Evaluate the Experience
Little time for reflection is available in the busy schedule of the school day, yet reflection is a key component of learning. How do we expect our students to be able to synthesize new knowledge if they are not given time to reflect on what they have discovered? Too often, we teachers do not allow ourselves that time, either. Designate a time for reflection of the daily activities. Allow for individual reflection, such as journaling, as well as group reflection and discussion. (For example, validate what students have learned and make suggestions for improvements.)
To enable effective self-evaluation, follow these steps: