Project Based Learning

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
What is project based learning?  How can I implement it in my classroom?  These are all questions I had just a few weeks ago that many of you may have too.

project based learning ideas

I hope that I can better explain it to you and I highly encourage you to try it in your own classroom.  It was such fun as a teacher to see my third graders work through the driving question I gave them.  They had more problem solving skills than I realized!

project based learning poster

This is just a little taste of what it's like.  Typically you give your students a driving question or situation for them to solve in small groups. ~ explains it like this:  

Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In Gold Standard PBL, Essential Project Design Elements include:
  • Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management. 
  • Challenging Problem or Question - The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
  • Sustained Inquiry - Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
  • Authenticity - The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
  • Student Voice & Choice - Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
  • Reflection - Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
  • Critique & Revision - Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
  • Public Product - Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
My engaging problem for my third graders was: 
** Help me create a more viable seating chart to use in our classroom.  **
They were given a class list, rulers, yardsticks, graph and regular copy paper.  They were given the direction that they could use anything they needed in the classroom, white boards, manipulatives, etc.  They worked in small groups of 4 -5.  I did have them assign their groups jobs ( so everyone would take part ) - they had to work through that in their small group.  Here are some pictures that I think say it all:

project based learning -- create a class seating chart

Some groups felt the need to measure my library and computer area so they could estimate the space better on their thinking!  I even added a challenge to figure out the area and perimeter of their seating configurations.
project based learning project - work together to create a viable seating char

project based learning project - create a class seating chart

project based learning - build a seating chart

When presenting I was so thrilled to see my listeners in the audience hard at work.  They asked hard questions to the groups.  One girl asked why they put a boy at the back of the room when he wore glasses.  Deep thinkers indeed!  Another student pointed out that there was a row of b/f/f/'s and they might talk too much.  

Create a seating chart - project based learning in small groups

working together in small groups - project based learning

presentations of a project based learning project - building a class seating chart

As you can see it was a full day!  They worked so hard and I was so proud of all of them.  Since I made them choose jobs everyone was involved ~ even the quieter students had to offer something up.  Not only was I pleased with the presentations and the thoughts and reasoning behind them but with the questions my students asked the groups.  One child asked the group to demonstrate one of their table configurations right then and there.  I had kids get up and the group got hard to work...only to find out that 2 of the kids were not facing the front of the classroom.  It was a good lesson for everyone that there is so much to think about when creating a seating chart.  Not an easy task ~ ~ ~ I think they had a deeper appreciation for me and my job at that moment.

If you want to give it a try I have this very lesson available in my store with directions, tips, etc.  You can grab it { here }

project based learning product from TPT 
**NOTE : If you are having trouble with this link:  in the TPT search bar:  type project based learning victoria moore 

I sure hope you give it a try -- be ready for some great academic conversations and a buzz in your classroom!  Don't be afraid of the noise ( it was productive noise ) and well under control.  I can't begin to tell you how very proud I was of ALL of them!


  1. This looks amazing! I really want to try this project in my class. I am having trouble finding it on TpT. The link on your blog won't take me there. Can you help me find it? Thanks so much for sharing this great idea!

    1. Hi Julianne - you are so sweet thank you! It looks like blogger is giving me trouble with the link for some reason: you can type project based learning victoria moore in the TPT search bar. Thank you for pointing it out. If I can help you with anything else please let me know. BTW you rock jumping out of an airplane girl. <3 ~ ~ Vicky

  2. I love all your work. Im sure my kids are going to love these freebies.Thank you so much for taking time to show us your good work. love it.