PBL Posts: What is project based learning?

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Hi everybody!

Today is a short post, but I am posting about something I have been wanting to do for a while- move to a PBL classroom!

What the heck is PBL? It stands for "project based learning" and is a great way to get students to become more creative and innovative thinkers! It is a method of teaching that encourages students to actively discover the information in the curriculum themselves, not to sit passively by while the teacher lectures. It is a big buzzword going around in education right now.

The general idea of PBL is to use the standards as a guide to structure a unit that will allow students to discover ideas, experiment, make mistakes and "productively struggle" to reach an understanding of the material. This is a huge undertaking! As I sit here, and think about my subject (chemistry!) I can think of units here and there that can easily fit into PBL, others not so much.

My biggest concern is that the students will not get the information they need, based upon the standard I am supposed to follow. I teach high school chemistry, and most of the information about PBL that I find is geared more toward middle school, or towards having the students choose a problem and find ways to solve it (while learning the material on the way). I have still not quite figured this part out.

A big challenge will also be that my students are not on level, as far as reading goes (so the textbook is out) and we do not have any real access to computers. I think I will still have to do a little presentation to introduce basic facts, or to move investigations along...

So, my goal for this semester is to start adding in a lesson to each unit where I will give a demonstration (or show a video) and have the students begin to study to figure it out. I am thinking that this will be sort of like a 2-4 day lab, with materials and information to guide them on their way.

I would love to hear from some other teachers, of any subject- do you use PBL or inquiry based learning? How have you implemented it? Do you have any tips for a newbie! Leave comments below, and help a teacher out!!!

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