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:



                      Duration 3:49

              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.


                        Elementary Student

                      Explain PBL Projects


                      Duration 3:45

                           Elementary students of various

                           grades explain what they have

                           learn while completing a PBL unit.





                            Middle School Project:

                             Balloon Car

                             Edutopica & BIE

                             Duration 4:11

                               Landry Middle School 8th

                               grade students work on a project

                               focused on cars that integrate

                               science, language arts, math, and