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What is Project-Based Learning?

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Would you rather read about a science experiment or resolve the hypothesis yourself? Even better, wouldn't you like to create a hypothesis that helps solve why you get sunburned, but your brother doesn't? That would be a project that would actually impact you personally. Project-based learning is an educational technique where students are faced with a problem or challenge and work individually or collaboratively to resolve it. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, proper project-based learning should include seven vital components:

  1. A need to know: This first step in creating project-based learning addresses the "Why are we doing this?" question from the start. It encourages to start with the WHY and then lead into the material that will be explored.
  2. A driving question: Students develop a driving question as a roadmap for the entire project, and it should engage the students to develop how they would like to proceed (with the guidance of the teacher).
  3. Student voice and choice: In this step, students are encouraged to select from several available options on how to address the driving question. It could include a video, a poster, an essay, or anything else the teacher can dream up.
  4. 21st Century skills: The teacher would help the students in each step-including collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and the use of technology to increase communication and creativity.
  5. Inquiry and innovation: As students continue developing their project, they will fine-tune their questions and develop their ideas.
  6. Feedback and revision: As in a real job, students have the opportunity to correct things as they go along with their teacher by meeting periodically to ass progress.
  7. A publicly presented project: Publicly presenting their work helps build confidence and presentation skills that are easily transferable to their future career lives!

Project-Based Learning is integrated into numerous curricular activities at TCCS; however, one of the biggest is a senior exhibition! Students complete a project and present it to business and community members. The students receive direct feedback for their projects and presentation skills: feedback that they can later apply to their future interviews and presentations as they enter college and beyond.

Project-based learning not only helps the students create a measurable product, but build skills that they will use no matter where they head after graduation. 

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