The Project-Based Learning (PBL) instructional framework requires
students to use a variety of skills, including collaboration, communication,
and critical thinking, to reach a goal and gain essential language arts and
In the Project-Based Learning Packs, the goal is for teams of students to find their answer to a Driving Question, which provides students with a purpose and structure for learning. Answering a Driving Question helps students understand what they are learning about and why it's important. The numerous grade-appropriate resources associated with each pack help keep students' investigations focused on the topic and help the students plan and organize their approach.
Project-based learning (PBL) is an instructional framework that encourages creativity, problem solving, research, inquiry, and career readiness. PBL is a key tool for teachers who need to meet the implementation challenges of national and international standards. The Project-Based Learning Programme focuses on 21st Century Skills and reading across genres to gain essential language arts and content-area knowledge. The programme use a guided inquiry, inclusion model of project-based learning that establishes a set of standards-based topics that students develop to answer a Driving Question.
Students will receive a PBL Pack. They might take on the role of historian, scientist, artist, business owner, or responsible citizen, as they investigate a Driving Question. A Driving Question provides a purpose that guides the investigation and generates student interest in essential knowledge, so students can structure what they are learning and understand why it is important.
Content Area Skills
Each PBL Pack provides resources focused on two to three content areas, including language arts, math, science, social studies, or the arts. Students need to understand key topics within the content areas of the pack in order to answer the Driving Question, and topics are explicitly stated in each pack’s Driving Question Project Outline for students. A core set of resources along with an Anchor Text from Reading Leveled Books is assigned to each Project-Based Learning Pack. The Packs helps teachers focus on differentiating text to meet their students’ instructional needs.
21st Century Skills
Working on projects in groups, students learn how to navigate the four C’s of 21st Century learning: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Students investigate a Driving Question in small groups of three to four students and present projects to a public audience to show what they have learned. The Project Based Learning packs provide tools to help students stay on task, work well as a team, plan their investigations and projects, and reflect on their work—all key features of project-based learning that will prepare students to be college and career ready.
The Project-Based Learning Pack Process
Each pack’s lesson plan follows a similar structure to establish a familiarity with the project-based learning process and resources for investigation, teamwork, planning, and presentation.
Resources in the left two columns of the table above provide support for
students in a grade range and are used across all packs within those grades.
Resources in the right two columns are specific
to each grade and each pack. Both grade-range resources and
grade-specific resources provide teachers with the tools they need to help
students become experts at working in groups and on grade-appropriate content
at the same time.
Each pack provides multiple text types and experiences with primary and secondary sources. The Reading and Activities provides a list with summaries of core student resources that are specific to each pack, including an Anchor Text at a reading level within the grade-level expectations.
Labels of resources as either primary or secondary vary based on content, area of discipline, and other factors.
The Anchor Text serves as the cornerstone of each pack and is read aloud by the teacher, used in guided reading, or read independently by all students. The project-based nature of the packs, which includes the goal of empowering students in their own learning, means that students will likely need resources outside of those featured in the packs to complete their projects.
Additional suggested reading lists provide varying levels of key or supplemental information for research into the Driving Question in each pack. Students are also provided with a list of available research sources online and from our school library to supplement reading that is helpful in the research of their "Driving Question".
Research Bookmarks guide students through evaluating their sources to think critically about what they have read. Three different bookmarks provide questions to answer who, why, what, how, when, or where and set a purpose for reading and re-reading a text. Students use the bookmarks when reading closely to determine who wrote the source and why, what kind of source it is, how it tells or shows information, and when or where the source was created. Knowing that information ensures students dive more deeply into each text they research to answer the Driving Question. Research Bookmarks are provided at different grade ranges. Each grade range contains questions to address appropriately complex text and ideas. Students try to answer at least one question from each bookmark about every source to determine whether a source will support their projects.
Assessment and reflection opportunities in the form of a Peer Review Sheet, Presentation Rubric, and Pack Rubric; evaluation and writing opportunities at the end of each team meeting and project; and the projects themselves help teachers determine how students perform with 21st century skills, content area skills, speaking and listening skills, and presentation skills called out in Kurrikulum 2013 Competencies and other internationally recognized content standards.