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Use these guiding principles to pull together projects with the time and resources you have. Sure, King Middle School has some amazing projects, but the Portland school has been refining its expeditionary learning projects for nearly two decades. David Grant, who guides the school's technology integration and curriculum development, has put together a six-step rubric (1) for designing a project. He says Fading Footprints (2) , which became a model for King and Expeditionary Learning Schools, doesn't take an entire school, or even a team of twelve, to plan and carry out; one or two teachers can tailor this one to fit their time and resources. The Fading Footsteps project is a twelve-week interdisciplinary ecology unit centered around the guiding question: How does diversity strengthen an ecosystem? Using this project as an example, see how King Middle School creates an action plan around each step.
At one New Tech Network high school, strategies backed by research make project-based learning effective and engaging for teachers and students. At Manor New Technology High School (1) in Manor, Texas, several research-based practices interact to promote successful inquiry-based learning: Manor New Tech is part of the New Tech Network (2) , a nonprofit that works with schools and districts around the country providing services and support to help reform learning through project-based learning (PBL). Since opening its doors in fall 2007, the school has achieved several notable accomplishments: It has graduated two classes with an average annual graduation rate of 98 percent. All 39 students in the first senior class graduated, and 95 percent of the 74 students in the class of 2011 graduated.
Studies have proven that when implemented well, project-based learning (PBL) can increase retention of content and improve students' attitudes towards learning, among other benefits. Edutopia's PBL research review explores the vast body of research on the topic and helps make sense of the results. In this series of five articles, learn how researchers define project-based learning (5) , review some of the possible learning outcomes (6) , get our recommendations of evidence-based components for successful PBL (7) , learn about best practices across disciplines (8) , find tips for avoiding pitfalls (9) when implementing PBL programs, and dig in to a comprehensive annotated bibliography (10) with links to all the studies and reports cited in these pages. Schools That Work: Middle school science students work on a project with their teacher (left), and a boy identifies the parts of a fish before painting it to make a Japanese-style gyotaku print (right). Learn more about this school. (11)
For this installment of Schools That Work, we chose Manor New Technology High School, a public high school that is part of the New Tech Network of schools. Located just outside of Austin in Manor, Texas, it is an entirely project-based learning school that has consistently achieved outstanding results since opening. We followed a project there for three weeks to find out what makes their model so effective. By Mariko Nobori (4) There is a small town, about 12 miles east of Austin, Texas, where a high school devoted to teaching every subject to every student through project-based learning (PBL) opened five years ago.
An overview of the Edutopia professional development guide for teaching how to use project-based learning in the classroom. Edutopia.org's Project-Based Learning professional development guide can be used for a two- to three-hour session, or expanded for a one- to two-day workshop, and is divided into two parts. Part one is a guided process, designed to give participants a brief introduction to project-based learning (PBL), and answers the questions "Why is PBL important?"