Challenged Based Learning (CBL)

Secondary World Studies/Social Sciences/Religion

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Ash Wednesday Prayer

Oh God of second chances,

Lent is made for me.

Fill me, direct me

And empower me.

Bless me that I might

walk in the way of your Cross.


Big Idea

Teachers will leave the session with an understanding of Challenged Based Learning and how to enhance the challenge with technology based tools.

Ice Breaker: Quiz, Quiz, Trade.


  • How do we make World Studies more engaging?
  • How do we connect real world problems to do what the students are learning?


“Challenge Based Learning in a Nutshell”

Challenge Based Learning is an engaging multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that encourages students to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems.

Challenge Based Learning is collaborative and hands-on, asking students to work with other students, their teachers, and experts in their communities and around the world to develop deeper knowledge of the challenge the students research, accept and solve.

Students are called to take action, share their experience, and enter into a global discussion about important issues.

Challenge Based Learning Explained

Browse some examples of "Challenges" :

How can we connect big ideas within the real world to the curriculum expectations and faith based learning?

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Connecting Curriculum to CBL

How do the bigger ideas of identity, sustainability, creativity, violence, peace and/or power connect to the world studies curriculum expectations?

Using our curriculum documents, choose 1 or 2 of the big ideas and connect them to expectations within the course you are currently teaching.

Connect to Faith Based LEarning

Challenge yourself as a Catholic Educator to use faith based teaching.

Using Catholic links - What does our faith have to say about the issue? What are the Catholic Social teachings surrounding your big Idea?


Resource Websites:

The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario – This website provides direction and resources for Catholics living in Ontario including pastoral letters, statements and guidelines.

The Catholic Curriculum Corporation – provides Catholic curricular resources to support faith through learning and professional development

Catholic Association of Religious and Family Life Educators of Ontario- Provides a host of resources to serve Catholic educators and students in Ontario

All Education for Justice resources are designed to promote greater knowledge of Catholic Social Teaching and highlight the connection between current world events and our faith. Living as a disciple in a globalized world requires both greater awareness of local and global justice issues and ongoing faith formation.

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Essential Questions

Students develop a wide variety of essential questions that should reflect the interests of the students and the needs of their community.

With a partner or solo, choose a big idea that you discovered within your course curriculum. We will be using Mindomo to build our essential questions.

Use Ontario Curriculum Documents to Guide the Challenge

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Canadian and World Studies Curriculum Documents

Mindomo ~ Digital Mind Mapping Tool

While creating a mind map, students can identify core concepts, organize them, and see how they are interconnected. The information becomes clearer and easier to understand.

To understand something students need to visualize its main elements and the connections between them. Mind Mapping with Mindomo is the easiest way to do that.

CBL is about making choices and looking for the best alternatives. Mindomo helps you get a clear picture of your goals and actions in order for students to work through the challenge and find the best solution.

Mindomo Website


Using a specific question from your mind map, create a specific answer or solution.

Developing GUIDING QUESTIONS based on the specific question you chose to examine.

Depending on the task or the end point, the challenge could be something that happens with the 75 minute class or throughout a unit.

It all depends on the purpose of the task and how in depth you wish the students to explore.

Use Course Content to Set the Direction of the Challenge

Teachers facilitate the big idea, essential questions and eventually lead the students toward one particular challenge.

The solution and how the students solve the challenge is up the them!

Learning Enhanced With Technology - Where do I start?

Technology affords us many opportunities to make learning environments and experiences richer for students. In order to keep focused on excellent best practices with technology, it’s helpful to think critically about how to best use the many choices that are available to us.

Keeping these questions in mind may also help:

  1. How might this technology enhance what I’m teaching?
  2. How might this technology improve the access to information, resources, or thinking strategies for students?
  3. What might be amplified in using this technology?
    • Authentic audience?
    • Multimodal approaches that remove barriers for students?
    • Transparency, which may make thinking more visible?
    • Digital records that make progress more visible?
  4. How does this technology make assessment more authentic, visible and/or formative for me as a teacher?

Tools for Learning

What tools will students need to explore and find a solution for the challenge?

With technology, students are able to explore concepts and find solutions on their own. Through collaborative tools, an abundance of research and experts to learn from and the ability to organize and analyze our information online from anywhere and anytime; it helps to increase achievement in content areas, places emphasis on higher order thinking and prepares students for the future work force they are preparing to meet.

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The SAMR Model Explained By Students

Guiding Resources, Activities and Lessons

Provide (just) Enough Structure

Challenge Based Learning is intentionally designed to be a free flowing process in which students are allowed to search, struggle, re-focus, and learn through making mistakes. The amount of structure that you need to provide depends on the maturity of the students. Give them freedom to explore, but make sure there are boundaries so they do not get lost.

How Technologies Foster Learning

If technologies are used to foster meaningful learning, then they will not be used as delivery vehicles. Rather, technologies should be used as engagers and facilitators of thinking. Based on our conception of meaningful learning, we suggest the following roles for technologies in supporting meaningful learning:

Technology as tools to support knowledge construction:

    • for representing learners’ ideas, understandings, and beliefs
    • for producing organized, multimedia knowledge bases by learners

    Technology as information vehicle for exploring knowledge to support learning by constructing:
    • for accessing needed information
    • for comparing perspectives, beliefs, and worldviews

    Technology as authentic context to support learning by doing:
    • for representing and simulating meaningful real-world problems, situations, and contexts
    • for representing beliefs, perspectives, arguments, and stories of others
    • for defining a safe, controllable problem space for student thinking

    Technology as social medium to support learning by conversing:
    • for collaborating with others
    • for discussing, arguing, and building consensus among members of a community
    • for supporting discourse among knowledge-building communities

    Technology as intellectual partner (Jonassen, 2000) to support learning by reflecting:
    • for helping learners to articulate and represent what they know
    • for reflecting on what they have learned and how they came to know it
    • for supporting learners’ internal negotiations and meaning making
    • for constructing personal representations of meaning
    • for supporting mindful thinking

    Solution (Action)

    Stage One

    The solution they choose may involve informing and/or convincing family, peers, or community members about the need for change; specific actions that can be taken to address their challenge on an ongoing basis; school or community improvement projects; and other activities. Encourage the students to be creative in designing and carrying out their solutions and to document their activities.

    Releases~ obtain certain releases, either from parents, community members, or other students if students will film them (such as for interviews or to produce a video project). A parental release form also may be needed for students who are to appear in videos. Check with school administration to see if policies are in place that should be followed

    Stage Two

    After identifying their solutions, the students will implement them, measure outcomes, reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and determine whether they made progress in addressing the challenge. When implementation is complete, students share their work with the rest of the world.

    When students have collected all of their data, they begin the analysis process. Did anything change? Did it change the way they had hoped? In addition to comparing the beginning and ending data, the students can look for trends. When did the biggest change take place? What can they say about how people behaved at different times during the trial? Using this information, they can determine and explain whether the solution had the desired effect.

    Publishing Results - Presentation Tools

    Story, Imagery, & the Art of 21st Century Presentation: Garr Reynolds at TEDxKyoto 2012


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    Comic Life

    Comic Life Tutorial

    Assessment of Solution

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    Balanced Achievement of Expectations

    The four categories should be considered as interrelated, reflecting the wholeness and interconnectedness of learning.


    Knowledge and Understanding. Subject-specific content acquired in each course (knowledge), and the comprehension of its meaning and significance (understanding).


    Thinking: The use of critical and cre a t ive thinking skills and/or processes :

    – planning skills (e.g., focusing research, gathering information, organizing an inquiry)

    – processing skills (e.g., analysing, evaluating, synthesizing)

    – critical/creative thinking processes (e.g., inquiry, problem solving, decision making, research)


    Communication. The conveying of meaning through va rious forms:

    – oral (e.g., story, role play, song, debate)

    – written (e.g., report, letter, diary)

    – visual (e.g., model, map, chart, movement, video, computer graphics)


    Application. The use of knowledge and skills to make connections within and between various contexts.

    Self Assessment

    Students conclude the project by designing a reflection on their experience/project. Discuss the challenges, rewards, unexpected outcomes, etc.

    • What did you learn from this project?
    • Did you enjoy working with a group? Why or why not?
    • Did you enjoy creating your multimedia presentation?
    • How did other students respond to your solutions?
    • What are your thoughts on your peers’ projects?
    • Would you suggest any improvements to the project in general? What would make it a more successful project from a student perspective?

    Read and respond thoughtfully to peers.