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PBL#3- The Product and Student led inquiry

You are on part 3 of a 4 part blog post on PBL in the science classroom. If you missed the previous posts, CLICK HERE to head back to blog post 1- “What is PBL?” or CLICK HERE to head back to blog post 2- “How to get started”. This blog post will cover how to complete the meat of the project- the product.
Product Options
Before the project launch, you should have come up with the product idea. Remember the product is the summative assignment you want students to complete by the end of the project. You should have 2 products: a group product and an individual product. This allows students to showcase their own learning as well as work with others to problem solve and learn to work cooperatively.

Student Voice and Choice
Students should given some sort of choice options throughout the project. How much freedom you give them depends on you. Voice and choice options could include:

  • Let the groups pick their audience
  • Let the groups pick how to display their product (powerpoint, poster, 3D model, etc).
  • Let the students choose who is in their groups
  • Let the students choose their own group roles

Allowing students to have ownership over some of the decision making increases student buy-in. They will be more excited to complete the project when they have a chance for their voices to be heard.

Research and Sustained Inquiry
PBL takes a great deal of research on the students’ part (remember, they are in charge, not you!). You will need to teach students about how to find reliable sources and how to cite them properly. Also, since projects usually take a few weeks to complete, how will you keep students engaged? You should plan ways to keep the project moving and on track.
Included in my PBL resource is a form for students to record their research and group forms for them to create norms, a group contract, and a status report form so you can easily check in with each group. You can check out this resource HERE.

Student Critique and Revision
It is important for students to be given opportunities to review, critique, and edit their work before the final product is due. While it is good to give feedback yourself, it is also good to teach students how to give feedback to each other. This can be difficult for students unless they have been taught how. Some tips include:

  • Be specific with your feedback
  • Comment on things that were done well
  • Comment on things that can be actionably worked on
  • Give recommendations on how to improve

Project-based-learning-guide-for-secondary-science

One more step to go- having a public audience. If you are ready, CLICK HERE to head to the last blog post in this PBL series. Don’t forget to check out my PBL resource that includes a lot more details, student forms, grading rubrics, and sample projects by clicking on the image to the left!

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Hi, I'm Becca!

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