Pump Up Your Project

Kina Vinson and Malinda Treiber

A crash course on how to make your lessons authentic, challenging and differentiated.

If you have an I Phone or I Pad please download the chirp app. Make sure if you are downloading it on you I Pad you search for it under I Phone apps. Its only available for the I Phone but you can still download in on your I Pad and it will work.


Back Channel

What can you do to change your students learning environment?

Do your lessons require your students to think on a higher level?

Are you a facilitator? or do you simply talk at your students?

Are you differentiating your lessons so that ALL your students will show mastery?

What do you think motivates your students to learn?

What is Authentic Engagement and how can it be used to PUMP UP YOUR PROJECT?

It poses a question or a problem that all students can answer through hands-on experiences.

It allows students to INVESTIGATE issues and topics in real world problems.

It fosters abstract, intellectual task to explore higher level learning

Authentic and Technology are Not Synonyms.

How Does It Work

  • Question
  • Plan
  • Schedule
  • Monitor
  • Asseses
  • Evaluate

DOES it work?

The Research

In her article, "Project Based Learning Research Review", Vanessa Vega states, "Studies comparing learning outcomes for students taught via project-based learning versus traditional instruction show that when implemented well, PBL increases long-term retention of content, helps students perform as well as or better than traditional learners in high-stakes tests, improves problem-solving and collaboration skills, and improves students' attitudes towards learning (Strobel & van Barneveld, 2009 (14); Walker & Leary, 2009 (15))." For the full article, see link below.

Essential Question

What is an essential question?!?!

An Essential Question

  • causes students to investigate real world issues.
  • has multiple & complex answers.
  • can't be answered by a search engine.
  • covers many TEKS/standards.
  • requires higher level thinking.
  • is better answered by a group of thinkers.

Below is a link to the BIE project libary. Scroll down to the bottom to see secondary and college project idea resources.

Below is a website that has projects for all core subjects with projects that relate to enviornmentail health science issues.

The Recipe

There's no one way, and it can take some time!

  • Decide what curriculum/TEKS must be in the project.
  • Look at a list of real world issues/scenarios.
  • Find a link between the two.

Kina's Essential Question: Do students feel safe at McKinney High School? Is everything being done to ensure that our students here at MHS are safe and secure when at school?

Malinda's Essential Question: Are we promoting healthy choices with the products and pricing of items in our vending machines at McKinney High? Justify your answer. If changes need to be made to the current set up, make a new proposal to present to Dr. Faris.

Check Points

Teacher John Spencer gives us these questions to ask our students:

  • Tasks and sub-tasks: What are the steps needed to complete this? What are the sub-tasks?
  • Deadlines: How do you prioritize the tasks into subtasks? When are components due? How much time will you allocate to this project?
  • Skills: What types of skills will you need that you might not already have? How will you learn these skills? Are there some people who can help you?
  • Resources: What do you need in order to pull this off?
  • Communication: Who are the people you will report to? Who will be helping you along the way?Who will be your final audience?

Mark Liddell tweets, "The brain changes when people make a mistake. With each mistake a new synapse is grown...How about that!"

plan and let go


  • A rubric helps students meet your expectations.
  • Create it before students start
  • You may have more than one rubric.
  • If it's difficult, complete the project first yourself.


  • Start with a template.
  • Mull it over.
  • Share with a friend.

The Outcome

Below is a letter from a New Tech High alumni after his Freshman year of college. New Tech High teaches their students with pumped up projects throughout the year and across all curriculum.

We want our students to...

Real Examples

Click the link below to see some projects from Teachers here in Texas.

Some Resources

More resources can be located in our Edmodo group under the folders tab.

Apps we used, found interesting or just wanted you to know were out there

Kina Vinson

Kina is a criminal justice teacher at McKinney High School in MISD. She has been an educator for 10 years. She also participated in the field as a police officer and a juvenile detention officer.

Malinda Treiber

Malinda is a math teacher supporting special populations at McKinney High School in MISD. She has been an educator for 3 years. She also participated in the field as an actuary.