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An Introduction to Project-Based Learning

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An Introduction to Project Learning On March 24, you are going to stand in front of your peers you are going to stand in front of your parents you are going to stand in front of a panel of engineers You will have data, you will have graphs and you're going to knock the socks off people. Seattle teacher Scott McComb is outlining a project to his 9th grade physics class that will have them creating, building, and testing various wing structures that they will design in teams. McComb is part of a growing group of educators who believe project learning is the most effective way to teach. When you think about project-based learning, Learning that results in demonstrations of performance, real tasks that have broad challenges to students to solve you can see that it's in context with the ways in which kids have to be able to be functioning adults "...quite an improvement for us... " "... remember our first wing didn't even hold water?" Project learning is a hands-on, student-directed activity in which students create something that demonstrates what they have learned. Whether it's a website, a play, "Can you believe this arrogance..." "...they think they can stop us, nothing can stop us..." Or a wing design portfolio. The first thing we have to do is to give up the idea of curriculum. Curriculum meaning you have to learn this on a given day. Replace it by a system where you learn this where you need it. So, that means you've got to put kids in a position where they're going to use the knowledge that they get. Projects involve in-depth investigations of subject matter which are often guided by professional experts to enrich and supplement the teacher's knowledge. "We do this in the real world, too, and it's very cool.. " "...and that's what I'm hoping to show you how cool it is..." "I liked doing hands-on projects more just because I feel I learn better... "... by learning from my own experiences. When we were doing the wing project "I learned our first wing was really bad and then our third wing we did really well... Current research shows that project learning can be more effective than traditional instruction in increasing academic achievement. It is also effective in helping students understand, apply, and retain information. Other benefits include building skills like critical thinking communication, and collaboration. Students who work on projects show increased motivation and engagement in their studies. "Our task was to create a high-efficiency, low-weight wing... " "...that when tested would, you know, would show the values you'd want for a real wing." "These kids, the way they present themselves, they are articulate, they know what they're about, they know what they've learned, they've obviously been able to work together, and in a situation like this for ninth graders to pull off something like that is absolutely remarkable." "... here's our data for our wings. This would be the first round of the 1, 2, and 3, etc." For more information about what works in public education, go to

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 35 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Edutopia
Director: Ken Ellis
Views: 492
Posted by: amichetti on Sep 13, 2010

In this hands-on approach to teaching, students create schoolwork that demonstrates core subject knowledge. For more information and resources on project-based learning, visit

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