There are so many amazing ideas for PBL units. Here are some driving questions.
- How do stories from the past define who we are today?
- What new monument or museum should be built in our city to enhance the lives of our citizens and visitors?
- How can we create a more sustainable and efficient modern ecosystem?
- How can we create "farm to table" at our school during the winter months?
- How can we build community through art?
- How can we make getting around in the winter more safe and convenient?
- How can we prevent E. coli from entering our swimming areas?
- In what ways can I change the injustices I witness?
- What's the fastest and cheapest way for me to get to school on time?
To Help Brainstorm Big Ideas Visit These Sites:
Engineering Design (PBL)
Problem - PBL
Based on the article: Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL by John Larmer, Editor in Chief at the Buck Institute for Education on Edutopia
Read full Article about Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL
Problem-Based Learning Vs. Project-Based Learning
Because they have the same acronym, we get a lot of questions about the similarities and differences between the two PBLs. We even had questions ourselves -- some years ago we created units for high school economics and government that we called "problem-based." But we later changed the name to "Project-Based Economics" and "Project-Based Government" to eliminate confusion about which PBL it was.
We decided to call problem-based learning a subset of project-based learning -- that is, one of the ways a teacher could frame a project is "to solve a problem." But problem-BL does have its own history and set of typically-followed procedures, which are more formally observed than in other types of projects. The use of case studies and simulations as "problems" dates back to medical schools in the 1960s, and problem-BL is still more often seen in the post-secondary world than in K-12, where project-BL is more common.
Presentation of an "ill-structured" (open-ended, "messy") problem
- Problem definition or formulation (the problem statement)
- Generation of a "knowledge inventory" (a list of "what we know about the problem" and "what we need to know")
- Generation of possible solutions
- Formulation of learning issues for self-directed and coached learning
- Sharing of findings and solutions
If you're a project-BL teacher, this probably looks pretty familiar, even though the process goes by different names. Other than the framing and the more formalized steps in problem-BL, there's really not much conceptual difference between the two PBLs -- it’s more a question of style and scope:
Project Based Learning vs. Problem Based Learning
|Project Based learning
|Problem Based Learning
|More often single-subject, but can be multi-subject
|May be lengthy (weeks or months)
|Tend to be shorter, but can be lengthy
|Follows general, variously-named steps
|Classically follows specific, tranditionally prescribed steps
|Includes the creation of a product or performance
|The "product" may be tangible OR a proposed solution, expressed in writing or in a presentation
|May use scenarios but often involves real-world, fully authentic tasks and settings
|Often uses case studies or fictitious scenarios as "ill-structured problems"