Real-world problems and project-based learning

Adapting big science for a middle school classroom

real-world problems and project-based learningOne of the keys of the Project-Based Learning approach is to engage students in solving real-world problems. Ideally, students are involved in exploring relevant and authentic challenges in their community, state, nation, or world. Sometimes teachers and students have to search hard for a need or an opportunity.

But other times it falls into our laps.

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Find an authentic audience for public service announcements

Help your students’ PSAs find their public

find an authentic audience for public service announcementsStudent-made PSAs are a great way for students to engage in project-based learning with real-world impact. Especially if they join up with community partners to tackle local issues.

But once the PSAs get made, how can you help them find an authentic audience?

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Robotics, PBL, and collaboration

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark OlofsonAt TechJam this past autumn I was fortunate to run into a number of student groups who were there to show off projects. That forum, and others like it, gives learners a space to share, interact, and learn from each other. One group I met was from Big Picture South Burlington (@BigPictureSB), a community of learners working in the Big Picture model within South Burlington High School. Big Picture is all about authentic real-world learning, and this group of students had chosen to enter the ChampBot Challenge at the Champlain Mini Maker Faire. Talking with the students and their advisor Jim Shields during and after got me thinking about a number of issues related to collaboration, constructivism, and student choice in STEM education. Continue reading

Project-based learning at Essex Middle School: algebra and songwriting

Making math and music at The Edge

algebra and songwritingWe were lucky enough to get to sit down with three groups of students at Essex Middle School’s Edge Academy just before the break and hear how their year-long project-based learning (PBL) projects are going.

In the final installment of the series, we talk with three students making math and music in equal measures.

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Project-based learning and creative writing

The play’s the (learning) thing

The 21st Century Classroom podcast by the Tarrant InstituteAlso the musical film and the series of novels. Stay with us on this.

In the 2nd of our three-part series looking at project-based learning with The Edge team at Essex Middle School, we talk to a novelist, a playwright (slash-director-slash-costume-designer-slash-actor) and a film-maker — all at the same time.

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“See America”: Cabot students share their PBL research

Project-based learning is alive and well in rural Vermont

As part of The Cabot School‘s Exhibition of Learning earlier this spring, middle school students had a chance to share out some PBL research. Themed around the cultural landscape of the United States, the “See America” exhibit boasted a number of amazing students who showed off outstanding examples of how project-based learning can be applied to history and social sciences. Check out some of the highlights from the exhibition, below.

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23 ways to use the iPad in a PBL classroom

Via TeachThought, here are 23 ways you can integrate an iPad (and its apps) into a classroom focused on project-based learning (PBL):

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Image attribution: flickr user flickeringbrad 

How are you using iPads in your PBL classroom?