To help you effectively implement Project Based Learning with your students, this site provides support for both high quality project design and the practice of project based teaching.

Model Projects

To support you in designing high quality projects, you will find model projects to adopt, adapt, or use as inspiration for an original project of your own.

Project Based Teaching Strategies

To support you in shifting your teaching practices to PBL, you will find specific and detailed strategies to use with students as you implement projects.

Projects

Inspired by Nature

Inspired by Nature

Science • Elementary

Students design nature-inspired solutions to problems faced by humans.

Journey to the Red Planet

Journey to the Red Planet

Interdisciplinary, Science • Elementary

Students present a unique engineering design for an invention to make it possible for humans to survive Mars exploration.

Starting a Business

Starting a Business

Mathematics • Elementary

Students develop a concept and plan for a new business while learning key math skills.

Make a Difference

Make a Difference

English Language Arts, Social Studies • Elementary

Students explore how they can act as change agents and meet their civic responsibilities.

Community Photojournalist

Community Photojournalist

English Language Arts, Arts & Music • Elementary

Students design and present photo essays about their community.

Healthy Choices = Long Life!

Healthy Choices = Long Life!

Health or Physical Education • Elementary

Students research aspects of health and wellness to improve the school community.

Waiting on the World to Change

Waiting on the World to Change

Social Studies • Elementary, Middle School, High School

Students actively engage in the political process by identifying a problem and designing an action plan to raises awareness or solve the problem.

Community Voices

Community Voices

Social Studies • Middle School

Students tell a compelling story using data about a high-needs community issue.

Grow It Green

Grow It Green

Science • Middle School

Students experiment with and test two approaches to growing vegetables, grounding their experiment in research on sustainable gardening practices.

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap

English Language Arts • Middle School

Students study adolescence through the lens of their own experiences, the experiences of their peers, literature, and the work of expert researchers to create a “Survival Guide” for 5th-6th graders.

Parabolas for Profit

Parabolas for Profit

Mathematics • Middle School, High School

As market research analysts working for locally-owned companies, students determine the most profitable price point for one of their goods or services.

Making Space for Change

Making Space for Change

Science • High School

Students design community spaces for environmental sustainability.

Design It Clean

Design It Clean

Science • High School

Students use the engineering design process to develop water filters to meet the needs of a specific community struggling to access clean water.

Think Globally, Act Locally

Think Globally, Act Locally

Science • High School

Students determine the health and well being of a local environment and connect it to the larger watershed to which they belong.

Ultimate Design Challenge

Ultimate Design Challenge

Mathematics • High School

Students use the engineering design process and geometric modeling to redesign a product’s packaging to make it more sustainable.

The Moth

The Moth

English Language Arts • High School

Students explore the art of storytelling, investigate the craft of storytelling, and create and perform their own true story.

A Civilized World

A Civilized World

Social Studies • High School

Students unpack concepts of “primitive” and “civilized,” creating multimedia exhibitions of ancient societies while critiquing the labels placed upon them.

Are You Buying What I'm Vending

Are You Buying What I'm Vending

Social Studies • High School

Students use economics and marketing to develop a proposal for a new vending machine products.

Strategies

Use these project based teaching strategies to develop your skills in implementing BIE’s Project Based Teaching Practices and cultivating Deeper Learning Competencies in your students. The strategies are organized by BIE’s Project Path to give you a sense of when in the course of a project they are most useful and this table shows how the strategies align to the deeper learning competencies.

Launch
Creating and Using Norms to Build Effective Culture
Creating and Using Norms to Build Effective Culture

How to create and use norms in your classroom to build, positive, productive culture

Using Roles in Teams
Using Roles in Teams

How to create roles to maximize the effectiveness of student teams.

Generating Need to Knows
Generating Need to Knows

How to initiate inquiry and access prior knowledge through the creation of student-generate questions.

Creating and Using Team Contracts
Creating and Using Team Contracts

How to manage student teams while building students' skills of self-management and collaboration, and classroom culture.

Revisiting Need to Knows
Revisiting Need to Knows

How to sustain inquiry throughout the project using the student-generated list of need to know questions.

Build Knowledge
Learning Log
Learning Log

How to help students keep track of their questions and learning as they research.

Work Time
Work Time

How to structure work time during projects to focus on new learning, its application, and the development of the final product.

Exit Tickets
Exit Tickets

How to quickly and efficiently formatively assess and create opportunities for students to reflect on their learning.

Develop and Critique
Using Rubrics
Using Rubrics

How to use rubrics as a tool to throughout the project to support learning, revision, and reflection.

Critique Protocols
Critique Protocols

How to use critique and revision to improve student products and learning throughout the project.

Present
Working with Outside Experts
Working with Outside Experts

How to engage with outside experts to increase authenticity, which also increases accountability and enthusiasm.

Post Project Reflection and Feedback from Students
Post Project Reflection and Feedback from Students

How to engage students in critique and revision of the project.

Audience Feedback Form
Audience Feedback Form

How to increase audience engagement during final product exhibitions.

About the Out of the Gate Project

The Out of the Gate project explores and examines the use of Project Based Learning (PBL) by Teacher Education Program (TEP) faculty to prepare preservice teachers to teach PBL “out of the gate,” so they enter K-12 public school districts ready to engage all students in meaningful deeper learning. The goal of this project is to build the capacity of TEP faculty to teach and support preservice teachers to use PBL as an instructional method for all students, including those who are furthest from opportunity (i.e., students who are living in poverty, students of color).

Thanks to generous funding from ECMC Foundation, BIE is providing customized professional development to faculty, and preservice and cooperating teachers at four teacher education programs and 12 district partners in four states, identified below. Learn more about this project here.

For more information, email [email protected].

Grand Valley State University Allendale, Michigan

Forest Hills Public Schools

Lowell Public Schools

Kenowa Hills Public Schools

Kent Innovation High School

Kentwood Public Schools

Otterbein University Westerville, Ohio

Canal Winchester School District

Olentangy Local School District

Westerville City Schools

Whitehall City Schools

Worthington City School District

University of Mary & Dickinson State University Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck Public Schools

About the Authors

The Buck Institute for Education is a nonprofit organization who believes that all students – no matter where they live or what their background – should have access to high quality PBL to deepen their learning and achieve success in college, career, and life. Since 1998, BIE has provided high-quality curriculum materials, research, and professional development for PBL teachers worldwide, and support schools and district in systemic PBL implementation.

Many of the projects on this site were created by reDesign. reDesign is an education design company with a social mission that collaborates with clients on projects that push the envelope of vision and design, reimagining what teaching and learning can be, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized youth in our society.

The Project Based Teaching Strategies were written by BIE National Faculty members, Brandon Cohen and Erin Starkey in collaboration with BIE staff Megan Parry and Sarah Field and edited by John Larmer.