Common Core: Project Based Learning and the Common Core

165 Learners | 165 Completed Lessons | 41 Hours of Learning Time

Learning Activity

Hands-on learning. Learn by doing. These are all terms that are similar to the concepts adhered to in Project-Based Learning. Not every teacher who facilitates a hands-on project in their classroom, however, is adhering to Project-Based Learning and its research-based success. PBL is an inquiry-based model where the curiosity of the student drives the learning of significant content. It provides meaningful instruction to students by not only giving them a sense of choice but also by giving them a real-world scenario and audience. It is so much more than building model California Missions or salt-maps of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. 

It only takes a brief look at the Common Core to understand the emphasis placed on Project Based Learning--or, at the very least, how PBL can support the instruction and achievement of the Common Core. Let's take a look at several anchor standards:

The concept of presenting and preparing for a public audience in PBL is similar to this Speaking and Listening ELA Anchor Standard:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

PBL asks us to teach significant content that is meaningful and sets the standard high for our students. Common Core asks of us the very same thing: that students become masters at exploring meaningful, real-world, complex text. 

Here is one ELA Reading Standard:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

What drives PBL is an inquiry. Students are given scenarios and questions that drive them to ask more questions, research a topic in-depth, and draw meaningful conclusions. 

The very first CCSS Standard for Mathematical Practice echoes the emphasis on problem-solving: 

CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

As you can see, the themes present in Project-Based Learning can be found woven throughout the Common Core State Standards, and it is a well-matched pedagogy for achieving the Core. 

For this activity, reflect on your current understanding of project-based learning and its relationship with the Common Core.

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