Project-based learning is a comprehensive instructional approach to engage students in sustained, cooperative investigation (Bransford & Stein, 1993).
Students pursue solutions to nontrivial problems by:
- asking and refining questions
- debating ideas
- making predictions
- designing plans and/or experiments
- collecting and analyzing data
- drawing conclusions
- communicating their ideas and findings to others
- asking new questions
- creating artifacts (Blumenfeld et al., 1991).
There are two essential components of projects:
1. A driving question or problem that serves to organize and drive activities, which taken as a whole amount to a meaningful project.
2. Culminating product that develops a concept and set of skills, and tasks associated with that concept. Draw in lessons that involve research, literature, writing, social studies, science, math, computer technology, art, music, class trips, guest speakers, (from the business community, museums, parent community) and experts. As teachers create their units and lesson plans, they will use many curriculum areas to integrate into each thematic unit.
Project-based units result in students who are excited about what they are learning; the units help students probe deeper into the topic, retain the information to a greater degree, and synthesize the information so as to be able to apply the information to other situations. These students also develop positive socialization skills and learn to work cooperatively and in collaboration with others. In addition, "Research supports the use of project-based learning in schools as a way to engage students, cut absenteeism, boost cooperative learning skills, and improve test scores. Those benefits are enhanced when technology is used in a meaningful way in the projects."
Examples of Project-based learning at CSA:
- New Play, Film and Poetry Festival
- Taiko Drumming