Project Based Learning

What is Project Based Learning?

Project Based Learning is a teaching method where students try to answer a challenging question or solve a real-world problem. Projects are designed to help students gain knowledge and understanding of the standards outlined by the Colorado Department of Education and develop their ability to collaborate, solve problems (think critically), communicate effectively and find creative solutions to their problems. All projects include the following essential elements:

  • PBL diagramSustained Inquiry - a process of asking questions, finding answers and asking more questions. We use a variety of resources to help students find answers to their questions including research tools, videos, guest speakers, and books.
  • Authenticity - we look at the standards, look at who uses those skills in the real world and build projects to support those standards.
  • Student Voice and Choice - students are given opportunities to make some decisions about the project (e.g. groupings, presentation of knowledge, pathway to find the answer or solve the problem. . .)
  • Reflection - “We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience” - John Dewey. We all reflect in different ways and grow from that reflection. Throughout our projects, we provide students with a variety of ways to reflect on their learning to help them grow.
  • Critique and Revision - students give, receive, and use feedback throughout their project to revise and refine.
  • Public Product - explaining, presenting, and/or displaying to an audience beyond their classmates and teacher helps students prepare for real-world situations.

What does PBL look like at Timber Trail Elementary?

Grade level teachers collaborate to write 3-5 projects per year based on standards and skills for each grade level. Most projects integrate science or social studies with literacy to give students a more complete understanding of the concepts being taught.