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Previously on EdTalk, we presented to you the fundamentals of Project Based Learning (PBL). Now that you know the elements of PBL and how it can transform your classroom, it’s time to present you with ideas! PBL is often considered a more effective learning vehicle for students than traditional lecture, or “sit and get” methods. The opportunity to be creative, solve problems, and collaborate is what makes all the difference. No matter what grade level or subject you teach, there are some very cool ways to implement PBL that will stick with your students for a lifetime.

It can be difficult to let go of traditional teaching and implement PBL. It can be even more difficult for students to transition into an environment where they have autonomy to learn, research, and create. No matter what the driving question is, the most important thing is to allow students to make decisions on what is most important to them (with some guidance, of course). Here are five ideas to jumpstart PBL in your classroom!

Design an App

Students and teachers alike love fresh, new apps. Take learning to the next level and have your students design their own app. Students can learn how to create apps or online games all while learning the ins and outs of software and coding, utilizing problem-solving skills, and being engaged in something that they do everyday. You can get started on appypie. It’s simple and free!

Public Service Announcement

A PSA can make students feel like they’re making a real impact. The driving issue could be anything from problems in their community, to bullying, or global issues. Students can be tasked with working in groups to create an effective PSA combatting those problems, record themselves, and present it to the the community. PSAs foster collaboration, problem solving, and just plain good citizenship.

Student Farm

A student farm would be a perfect semester-long interdisciplinary PBL unit. Students will learn lessons about science, math and economics by planning, planting and maintaining their very own farm. They can research the crops and under what conditions they grow best, use a budget to determine how much things cost and how they will fund their farm, and if all goes according to plan, they might even be able to sell some of the food they’ve grown for a good cause.

Build a Catapult

This project is perfect for younger students (who all seem to be intrigued by projectiles). Students are tasked with creating a catapult to learn more about engineering and math. With just a few simple craft materials, students can build a catapult, and while presenting to their audience, explain their thought processes. It is very effective for students to get hands-on experience exploring the different physics and geometry concepts that reveal themselves.

Design your own project

Effective learning engages students and encourages them to set their own goals. One of the most engaging ways to implement PBL is to have students design their own project. Give them a driving question and allow them to take it from there. Set specific guidelines and allow their creativity to unfold.

What are some exciting ways you have implemented PBL? Share them with @edvergent and #iTeachDigital!

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