Components of Project-Based Curriculum

Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. 

  • Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management. 
  • Challenging Problem or Question - The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
  • Sustained Inquiry - Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
  • Authenticity - The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
  • Student Voice & Choice - Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
  • Reflection - Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
  • Critique & Revision - Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
  • Public Product - Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
 

Why Project-Based Learning?

  • Engaged Student Learning - students are encouraged to engage in active learning; project-based learning engages hearts and minds, and provides real-world relevance for learning
  • Improved Learning and Retention of Knowledge - after completing a project, students understand content more deeply, remembering what they learn and retain it longer than is often the case with traditional instruction.  This allows students to not only think critically about the knowledge they learn, but also think creatively in how the student applies the knowledge to real-world concepts and situations
  • Project-Based Learning Addresses Standards - The Common Core and other present-day standards emphasize real-world application of knowledge, skills, and thought processes in addition to the development of success skills like critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, communication through different media, and presentation skills.  Project-Based learning is an effective and fun way for students to meet standards.
  • Project-Based Learning Teaches Mixed Media - Projects, especially here at Homer A. Plessy Community School, utilize a wide variety of media, from spoken word and poetry to computer presentations and school-wide performances.  Students are familiar with an enjoy utilizing a variety of technology as well as the wealth of experience of the many art and art-inclined faculty at Plessy. 
  • Project-Based Learning Encourages Teacher and Student Creativity - Projects allow teachers to work more closely with active, engaged students, allowing both students and teachers to produce high-quality, meaningful work, and discover and re-discover the joys of learning and working with children
  • Project-Based Learning Helps to Build a Community within the classroom and between the classroom and the real world.  Projects provide students with empowering opportunities to make a difference through solving real problems and addressing real issues.  Students learn how to interact with their peers and adults and other organizations, exposed to adult issues, and can develop career interests.  Plessy's curriculum encourages parent involvement where possible, and parents can often be seen getting involved in the classrooms.

 

Special Thanks to the Buck Institute for Education for their pages on "What is Project-Based Learning" and "Why Project-Based Learning" in helping Plessy create this outline detailing our views on Project-Based Learning.  Their website may be found here.