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001 What and Why SFPBL

What & Why of Standards-Focused PBL


What is Standards-Focused Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning is a means to facilitate learning with deep rigor and relevance. Students are empowered with choice, decision making, and deep exploration of the key concepts. Unlike traditional projects that occur after the teaching and learning has occurred, and the culminating activity is to begin, PBL begins at the start of the unit. Instruction, traditional and otherwise, is done in context of the project. My son, a 5th grader at the time, called it "scenario-based learning" while learning the school stuff at the same time.


In formal terms, Standards-Focused PBL incorporates the important elements that quality instructional practices include to address high expectations for learning.


  • Focuses on identified content standards
  • Curriculum-embedded learning
  • Student-centered
  • Deep understanding of concepts
  • Real-world application and/or context relevance to the participants
  • High engagement


Action Steps

  1. Read the article, "Introduction to Project Based Learning. and highlight or take notes on at least three sections.
  2. Watch the videos of students and educators in action. Consider how they represent the ideas expressed in the article.
  3. Comment in the Reflection section for this module. Use one of the provided prompts.


History and Overview of PBL

Read this article by the Buck Institute on Introduction to Project Based Learning (PDF). Of the 8 sections in this article, find at least one passage in 3 of the sections that resonates for the impact or effectiveness of PBL. Be prepared to share your thoughts in the Reflection Section.


Videos: Students and Educators in Action

Engagement, Relevance, and Rigor. Standards-Focused PBL excite students to learning in meaningful and purposeful ways. They are developing 21st century skills and honing collaboration and communication skills necessary for the workforce and public services initatives. And by the way, students are deeply engrossed, self-motivated, and having fun as they learn academic concepts and content.


Here are some videos of PBL in action that also explain the impact and effect on teaching and learning. You can view additional videos in the library.


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Use this link if the video does not apear.

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Module Reflection

Answer one of the following questions in Reflection 001

  • What makes Project Based Learning appropriate and different in comparison to traditional instruction?
  • What considerations are important when incorporating a Project Based Learning approach into the classroom? 
  • What issues and benefits must a teacher consider that are specific to PBL instructional strategies?
  • How can all types of students will be successful in PBL environments?

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