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De Vivo, K. (2022). Pairing Competency-Based Education with Project-Based Learning Makes for a Powerful Learning Experience. Competency Works Blog, Aurora Institute.

The topic, “Better Together, Connecting Project-Based Learning and Competency-based Education,” drew inspiring stories, thought-provoking questions, and an overall rich conversation.

Krugman, D., and Marcy, R. (2022). Lessons learned from shift to project-based science instruction. District Administration.

San Francisco Unified School District is using a project-based learning science curriculum across middle schools. SFUSD leaders Devin Krugman and Renée Marcy explain in this District Administration article how their team developed and implemented the curriculum and the benefits they’re seeing in the classroom. They also share advice for other system leaders interested in making a similar shift toward student-centered, inquiry-based learning at scale.

“Science Education Through Multiple Literacies: Project-based Learning in Elementary School,” co-edited by MSU scholars Joe Krajcik and Barbara Schneider, was published by Harvard Education Press in December 2021. The book is based on Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning, or ML-PBL, a long-term effort to develop freely available materials and related resources for grades 3-5 that have been shown to increase achievement and social and emotional learning. This story is told through the experiences of nine third-grade teachers who participated in the project.

Polman, J., and Boardman, A. (2022). Authenticity Brings Project-Based Learning to Life: How to Ensure It’s at the Center of Instruction in Your Classroom. International Literacy Now.

How do we help students stay connected and engaged in deeper learning when being at school still means communicating through masks, dealing with student and teacher absences due to COVID-19 exposures, and catching up on lessons and learning experiences lost to distance learning?

DeVivo, K. (2022). A new research base for rigorous project-based learning. Phi Delta Kappan.

Project-based learning (PBL) is an educational approach in which students explore real-world problems through individual and group projects. When done well, it allows students to make sense of why content is useful and how it might be applied. The approach that Peek-Brown, an education specialist at Michigan State University, uses today to support elementary science teachers is one of four PBL programs studied in a new body of research that has generated strong evidence — based on “gold-standard” studies, using randomized control methods — showing that rigorous PBL improves student learning.

Herrmann, Z., Grossman, P., and Schneider Kavanagh, S. Teach Like a Runner: 3 Ways to Get Started With Project-Based Learning. EdWeek. 2021.

Research has found that running as little as five to 10 minutes a day can have a massive impact on your health. In other words, you don’t have to go from a no-exercise lifestyle to an Olympic training regimen to see improvements. Taking small steps now can make a big difference later.

Similarly, project-based learning—an approach to teaching in which students create real solutions to real problems—can start with taking the equivalent of a five-minute run every day.

Albanese, Erin. (2021). "Science through toys, squirrels and boats". School News Now.

In her own classroom, Geer has seen a big boost in vocabulary test scores, and sees it cross into all subjects. Students write about squirrels in English Language Arts, and include information from what they learn in science. “This has led to my students asking questions in all subject areas, asking questions of their peers, and knowing you need evidence to answer a question in science, math, and reading,” she said.

Anna Rosefsky Saavedra, A.R., Rapaport, A., Morgan, K.L., Garland, M.W., Liu, Y., Hu, A., Hoepfner, D., and Haderlein, S.K. (2021). Project-based learning in AP classrooms: Lessons from research. Phi Delta Kappan.

KIA students outperformed non-KIA students overall, and KIA students from low-income households outperformed non-KIA students from similar households. In short, our results suggest that a PBL approach to teaching AP Environmental Science and AP U.S. Government can better prepare students of all backgrounds for their exams.

Hunt Scott, K. (2021). What Is Project-Based Learning? U.S. News & World Report.

Four studies released in February by Lucas Education Research, along with researchers from five major universities, showed that students in project-based learning classrooms across the United States significantly outperformed students in typical classrooms.

Piper, K. (2021). Getting Parents Excited About Project-Based Learning. Edutopia.

Teachers can use these handy talking points to move parents from being skeptical about PBL to “why didn’t I get to do this in school?”

Schneider Kavanagh, S. and Herrmann, J. (2021). Use project-based learning to engage students this fall. District Administration

“Making the transition to PBL isn’t easy. But research shows it works and is a great way to provide students with what they need in these challenging times.”

Fitzgerald, M.S. (2021). Pairing Literacy Instruction With Project-Based Learning Is a Win for Students. International Literacy Association.

During a hands-on, project-based science lesson, a group of third graders in Michigan excitedly worked on creating their own garden to grow food for their community. Along the way, they learned about biology, ecology, weather and climate science, and engineering design. But the learning didn’t stop there.

De Vivo, K. (2021). Roundtable Highlights Ties Between Project-Based Learning and Competency-Based Education, Explores New Research. Competencyworks Blog, Aurora Institute.

As education leaders look for ways to accelerate learning this fall, following months of virtual and hybrid instruction, more schools should leverage competency-based and project-based learning. These student-centered approaches share many features, covered in a recent roundtable webinar hosted by the Aurora Institute, examining those ties and highlighting new research into project-based learning.

Graeber, A. Reimagining AP teaching with PBL. ASCD Smart Brief.

“You can give students a mound of Supreme Court cases to read and regurgitate information from, or you can set up projects like moot court where students take on the roles of the judges and attorneys. Which do you think will be more memorable for students? Which will help that learning stick with them after they take the exam? My answer: the project.”

Penuel, W. (2021). Effective Science Learning Means Observing and Explaining. There’s a Curriculum for That. Education Week.

Researchers say grappling with problems beats out traditional approaches

Shusterman, J. (2021). Project-based learning is how we teach critical thinking. Seattle Times.

In order to create a generation of critical thinkers, we need to make the use of project-based learning (PBL) in classrooms widespread. Critical thinking (or training minds to think) is one of the most important skills for students to develop. It is correlated with academic success, is invaluable in the ever-changing workplace, and increases empathy – which makes for more meaningful social interactions.

For the Media

Media inquiries may be directed to nancy.zuckerbrod@glef.org. Please indicate if you are on deadline.

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