GENERATE A PROJECT IDEA

ESC11 - Project Based Learning

Ingredients of High Quality PBLS

Project Based Learning: Explained.

Project Types

from Tony Vincent of Learning in Hand


Solve a Problem: There’s a real-world predicament with multiple solutions.

  • How can we stop phantom traffic jams?
  • How can we beautify the vacant lot across the street for $200?
  • What’s the best way to stop the flu at our school?
  • Design a better lunch menu for our school.
  • Design a safe and sturdy bridge to replace one in our city.

Educational: The purpose of the project is to teach others.

  • How can we teach second graders about helpful insects.
  • Create a campaign to teach senior citizens how to use an iPad.
  • What do the students at our school need to know about being respectful?

Convince Others: Students persuade a specified audience to do something or change their opinions.

  • Create a public service announcement (PSA) that persuades teens to drink more water.
  • Drive yourself to define a question and then Prove It to your classmates.
  • Convince grocery shoppers to return their shopping carts.
  • How can we convince our principal that we should have a party in December?

Broad Theme: The project tackles big ideas.

  • What does it mean to read?
  • How does conflict lead to change?
  • How does math influence art?
  • How do writers persuade others?
  • How are good and evil depicted in different cultures?

Opinion: Students need to consider all sides of an issue in order to form and justify their opinions.

  • Should pets be allowed to attend class?
  • Why has a woman never been a U.S. president?
  • What makes a good astronaut?

Divergent: Students make predictions about alternative timelines and scenarios.

  • What if Rosa Parks gave up her seat?
  • What if the world ran out of oil tomorrow?
  • How might your city change if the climate became an average of 10°F warmer?
  • What if the USA switched to the metric system?

Scenario-Based: Students take on a fictional role with a mission to accomplish.

  • You’re a NASA engineer, and you are in charge of building a moon base. What are the ten most important things to include and why?
  • Imagine that you are King George. What would you have done differently to keep American part of England?
  • You are the CEO of a company that is designing a new social media app. Present a business plan to your investors that explains how your company will make money.
  • You’ve been hired to revamp your local shopping mall. Come up with a plan to increase business.
  • How would you spend $1,000,000 to help your community?

Scaffolded Around Framing Words: BIE has a tool to help you develop driving questions called a Tubric. It provides possible framing words, actions, audience, and purpose. If you’d rather not take the time to construct a tube, you could use Rhoni McFarlane’s Developing Inquiry Questions chart, Amy Mayer’s Scaffold for Writing a Driving Question, or TeachThought's PBL Cheat Sheet.

  • How can I create a campaign to reduce bullying in my school? (from Rhoni McFarlane)
  • How can we find a solution to reduce the litter in our school permanently? (also from Rhoni McFarlane)
  • How can we as first graders create geocaching sites to promote physical fitness in our neighborhood? (from Washington Discovery Academy)




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