Project-Based Learning: An Introduction


Artifact Introduction: During our first week in Technology-Supported Project-Based Learning, we were to review a serious of resources including the website for the Buck Institute Project Based Learning (PBL) Model reflect on one of three sets of questions to familiarize ourselves with PBL. Additionally, we were to comment on our peer’s responses to continue the dialogue and increase connectivity and understanding. My reflection on the three questions I answered concerning What is Project-Based Learning, is below.


     1. Define Project Based Learning. Describe the difference between Project Based                     Learning and Problem Based Learning.

According to the Buck Institute Project-Based Learning (PBL) Model, 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.” Project-Based Learning has been revised time and time again and the latest model (released in 2015) is called Gold Standard PBL, more on that is found below. Project-Based Learning  begins with an end product or “project” in mind, this requires specific content knowledge or skills and the learning is focused on developing that creation.  Problem-Based Learning begins with a problem for students to solve or learn more about, the learning is focused on the process of solving the problem and acquiring knowledge along the way. (Johnson, Larry & Lamb, Annette 2007)

2. Why should teachers consider incorporating PBL in their classroom?

Edutopia states: “today’s students will face complex challenges when they complete their formal education. Knowing how to solve problems, work collaboratively, and think innovatively are becoming essential skills — not only for finding future careers but also for tackling difficult issues in local communities and around the world.” Incorporating PBL in the classroom increases engagement because students are involved in solving a “real-world” problem, and do not feel the need to ask “When will I need this when I grow up” because they need what they are doing at the present time. As well as increasing student engagement, student learning is increased because problem-based learning is not rote memorization but requires deep thinking and collaboration with problem-solving. The Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, emphasize understanding problems and persevering in solving them, constructing viable arguments and critiquing others, and using appropriate tools strategically; all of these standards lend themselves to Project-Based Learning.

      3. What are the essential components of a PBL approach to instruction?

Screenshot (11)According to the Buck Institute Project-Based Learning (PBL) Model, the eight essential components (elements) of a successful PBL approach to instruction, also found in the graphic to the left, are :

  1. Key Knowledge, Understanding, & Success Skills
  2. Challenging Problem or Question
  3. Sustained Inquiry
  4. Authenticity
  5. Student Voice & Choice
  6. Reflection
  7. Critique & Revision
  8. Public Product.

The Buck Institute greatly emphasizes that in order for PBL to be successful the instructor needs to ensure that all of these components are present within a project, to avoid “poorly designed and implemented projects (that) could frustrate students, disappoint teachers, and damage PBL’s reputation.” (Buck Institute) Along with these eight essential components, the role of the teacher changes dramatically when participating in PBL, from classroom expert to knowledge facilitator. (Boss, 2011) 


Boss, Suzie. Project-Based Learning: A Short History. (2011). Edutopia. Retrieved from:

Buck Institute of Education (2016). Why project based learning (PBL)? Retrieved from

Buck Institute of Education (2016). What is project based learning (PBL)? Retrieved from

Johnson, Larry & Lamb, Annette. Project, Problem, & Inquiry-Based Learning. (2007). Teacher Tap. Retrieved from:

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Washington, DC: Authors. Retrieved from:


Reflection of Learning/Standard Connection:  This assignment required me to delve into several articles and websites to develop a thorough understanding of Project-Based Learning.  I got the experience to analyze various situations and synthesize the information I’ve learned to solve these problems.

  • AECT Standard 4.3 Reflection on Practice: To write about what project-based learning is and engage in conversations with my peers I needed to analyze and interpret artifacts and reflect on the effectiveness of the design, development and implementation of technology-supported project-based learning instruction and learning to enhance my own professional growth.

About jasminequezada

I’m extremely lucky to call Boise Idaho, an outdoor haven of a beautiful little city, the place I call home. I teach 4th grade dual language. This means that I teach native English speakers, Spanish, and native Spanish speakers, English, by using both languages to teach the regular 4th grade curriculum to nine year old’s. I also have an extremely creative and inquisitive seven year old son who keeps me playing, laughing, and on my toes all day long, he is my favorite person. My boyfriend’s name is Victor and he is my partner in discovering the outdoors, which is why living in Boise is perfect for us! While I enjoy being outdoors, I also love technology and all of the doors it has opened to humanity to learn, grow, and evolve. This is why I consider it vital for myself as an educator to delve deeper into this technological world so I can continue to serve as a guide for my students, in their discovery of the world.

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