Project-Based Learning (PBL)
What is PBL?
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 authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. The Essential Project Design Elements include:
- 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.
-from Buck Institute for Education
Locally Developed Assessments
In 2014, the General Assembly replaced the following SOL assessments: Grade-3 History/Social Science, Grade-3 Science, Grade-5 Writing, U.S. History I (formerly administered in grade 5 or grade 6), and U.S. History II (formerly administered in grade 6 or grade 7) with locally developed authentic performance assessments. These assessment must be consistent with Virginia Board of Education guidelines.
School divisions must certify that they have provided instruction and administered an alternative assessment, consistent with Board of Education guidelines, to students in grades and subject areas that no longer have a corresponding SOL test.
PBLs allow teachers to meet the Virginia Board of Education guidelines and provide students an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
More information about Project-Based Learning:
Project Based Learning:
This simple video makes the essential
elements of PBL come alive and brings
to light the 21st Century skills and
competencies (collaboration, communication,
critical thinking) that will enable K-12 students
to be college and work-ready as well as
effective members of their communities.
Explain PBL Projects
Elementary students of various
grades explain what they have
learn while completing a PBL unit.
Middle School Project:
Edutopica & BIE
Landry Middle School 8th
grade students work on a project
focused on cars that integrate
science, language arts, math, and
Teaching & Learning Facilitator – History & Social Studies