I love the PBL model of education, but it sure is hard on teachers! Coming up with new ideas for project based learning activities is taxing.
The good news is that there are plenty of project ideas floating around, many of which will work for both in-person and online classes. In today’s blog I share a list of sources with curated activity lists and PBL resources to help cut down on your class prep time and give you plenty of activity ideas.
What is Project Based Learning?
In one sentence, project-based learning (PBL) is the process of learning through projects. To be a bit more specific, PBL is the process of learning through the design, development, and completion of projects.-TeachThought
Yep, project based learning is exactly what it sounds like: learning through projects. PBL encourages students to use critical thinking, data analysis, and pattern recognition to identify problems and learn how to solve them. It also pushes students to think creatively and figure out multiple ways to reach a common goal. To further engage your students, you can turn your projects into team building challenges or competitions.
Below, I have listed ten websites that offer free project based learning activities and resources. They are not listed in any particular order, so I suggest you take a look at them all!
Free PBL Resources
Daily Stem posts a free weekly one-page ‘newspaper’ with STEM activity ideas, quotes, STEM puzzles, and other fun educational tidbits. The STEM Everyday podcast also has lots of teacher interviews that talk about STEM culture. It might take some time to browse through Daily STEM’s resources, but there are plenty of project based learning ideas sprinkled throughout their website.
This blog has a list with 112 project ideas that can be implemented in your classroom. You can also download several free PBL tools, like a PBL planner and a student assessment portfolio. These tools are helpful if you are new to project based learning, or if you are trying to document your students’ learning progress.
3. My PBL Works
You do have to create an account to access the projects on My PBL Works, but you can preview each activity in their project library without signing up and see if you are interested in any of them. You can filter the projects by subject and grade level, making it easy to pick out activities that work for your classroom. If nothing else, they may give you some ideas for crafting your own projects!
PBL doesn’t have to be complicated! Teach Thought has a list of 20 simple but comprehensive project based learning activities that really connect learning with real world problems. TeachThought also offers PBL professional development workshops and coaching, as well as a video course on getting started with project based learning.
5. Project Pals
Looking for activities divided by grade levels? Project Pals has a list of project based learning activities divided into categories for preschoolers, grade schoolers, and high schoolers. Be sure to check out the rest of their blogs on project based learning!
Edutopia has a PBL blog, with lots of different helpful resources. Some of the blog posts include project based learning activities, while others are focused more on methods and ideas for teaching with a project based learning model. Click here for their post on 20 ideas for engaging projects.
This website has a lot of resources on getting started with project-based learning, including example schedules, project based learning activities, and more. Take some time to browse through their blog posts and free resources!
Okay, so I know Crafted Curriculum’s list says “20 of the Best Project Learning Ideas for 2020.” But the list of projects is just as relevant in 2022. Who knows? Maybe this website will post a new list for 2022 soon. Until then, there are more PBL resources and activity ideas in their blog.
9. We Are Teachers
Looking for PBL ideas that work for online classes? We Are Teachers shares tips for designing project based learning activities in a virtual space, as well as a list of activities that you can modify for your online or Zoom class. Be sure to browse the rest of their blog for both virtual learning tips and STEM activities.
10. Catalyst Learning Curricula Lesson Plans
If you aren’t familiar with Catalyst Learning Curricula yet, make sure to download our free biology sample lesson plans! Our lesson plans are student-centered and use games, debates, experiments, model-building, and other project based learning activities. Click on the links below to download your lesson plans.
For more lesson plans, click here to view all of our full-year curricula.