PBL for Superheros

Education Service Center Region 11


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Do you need a PBL Refresher? Check out the resources below:

<>PBL Learning Activities

Need To Knows

In project based learning, this very simple discussion starter marks one of the differences between PBL and the traditional instructional model. Students begin learning by recognizing what they already know, their prior knowledge. In a brainstorming session students contribute what they know. The list can grow very long and amazingly, when asked, students know a lot more than you would think!

After carefully typing (using a Word document projected onto a screen) or handwriting (on a whiteboard, for example) exactly what students share, the facilitator then asks the students, "What do you need to know?" This list becomes the research questions that students will try to answer next. This list also informs the facilitator of possible product ideas.


In Project Based Learning, we want students to "uncover" as much of the content as possible. However, we often need to provide scaffolds. A scaffold is a temporary platform that provides support. A scaffold gets people to a higher level than they could reach alone.

The Inquiry Process

National School Reform Faculty Protocols

As you think about what support learners will need from you during the inquiry process, you need to consider:


-Workshops (Mini-Lessons)



-Other activities

Mapping Out Assessment in PBL

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Completing the PBL Assessment Map:

1. Start on the left with the culminating product. This is the final product the learners will produce.

2. Next, move to the middle column, these are your supporting assessments. You should have a supporting assessment for each of your Learning Goals (Overarching Understandings). These could be traditional assessments, products, mind maps; anything that you can use during the project to determine when the student meets the goal. These are key to valid and authentic assessment in that they show you when the learner meets the learning goals.

3. Finally, look at the formative assessments on the right. These may or may not be graded depending on your district policies. The purpose of these formative assessments is to inform your instruction, to help you know who "gets it" and who needs more help in specific areas. You want to have multiple formative assessments throughout the project.


More PBL from ESC11

ESC11 will be offering several PBL Institutes during the 2014-2015 school year. Each Institute will consist of 2 days face-to-face training in which participants will design a PBL unit. Follow-up online conversations will be held once a month to allow educators from around the region to discuss their successes and failures in implementing PBL in the classroom. Contact Tracie at tcain@esc11.net for more information.

Wondering if the PBL Institute would be worth your teachers' time? Ask Barbara Stice or Patti Seckman about the PBL workshops we facilitated in their districts.

Future Ready Learning Experience

The Future Ready Learning Experience equips and supports teachers as they endeavor to transform teaching and learning to meet the needs of digital-age students. Through this innovative blended-learning course, teachers will:

  • build student-centered learning environments that cultivate problem solving, innovation, and collaboration.
  • design and facilitate learning activities that move beyond simply digitizing traditional lessons to redefining the learning task.
  • leverage the power of digital age applications, tools, and devices for deep, connected learning.

For more information, contact Tracie at tcain@esc11.net or talk to Kent Josselet from Ponder I.S.D. about how the FRLE is impacting instruction in Ponder.