Some strategies and tips for implementing PBL:
Mixed groups are important, however sometimes it may be beneficial for students to be grouped by ability level to enable them to work together at the same level of difficulty. In the math projects that I designed, you could encourage students teamed together to take on more challenging choices throughout the project to make it more difficult.
REFLECTION & GOAL SETTING
Students must reflect on their learning and continue to set goals. I structure my math projects to have tasks and levels that they must complete in order to progress to the next level. Completing a level reminds students to reflect on how they went during that level, whilst also giving them a sense of accomplishment. Students continue to set goals to achieve more levels to reach the end of the project. In my math projects, like My Theme Café and My Winter Wonderland, students could also set goals to make a sizable profit.
Students are able to tune with their learning when they are able to truly take ownership of it. This is why, when I designed my math projects, they all begin with “MY” . . . because that is exactly what they will be doing, creating their own café, pet hotel, Winter Wonderland, Spooky Store or Easter Factory!
Giving lots of opportunity for students to make their own choices is important with Project-Based Learning, this empowers students and increases motivation. While I have structured my math projects to have a variety of math, written work and artistic design . . . students are prompted frequently to make their own choices throughout all of my projects. Students will find in my math projects that choices they make earlier in the project will impact what happens later on in the project.
Assessment for PBL could be a mix of observation notes, written reflection statements, students presenting their project to the class with a discussion that answers a variety of key questions you may wish to address. For my math project: My Theme Café, I have designed a comprehensive rubric that I used recently to mark it (if you would like to use please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send the rubric for FREE!)
MIX IT UP
PBL doesn’t always have to be in groups, it is just as important to balance it out solo. This is important because some students perform better in groups, while some perform better working individually. As with all of my own designed math projects, they can be used either in groups or completed individually.
I would love to hear any PBL strategies that you have used in your classroom. Please feel free to comment or email me with your experiences.
For more information on the math projects that I designed, please visit the links below to find out more. They each vary in length, difficulty and skills. You can purchase them individually through my TPT store, or there is a math projects bundle that offers a big discount to purchase them all! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like some help with these.