How to Implement Distanced Project-Based Learning

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Trends in STEM

How to Implement Distanced Project-Based Learning

Educators and district administrators have long praised the effectiveness of project-based learning (PBL), a pedagogy that invites students to learn by undertaking real-world projects that are meaningful to them, when it comes to teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

However, due to the increased need to offer hybrid and distance learning options to combat the spread of COVID-19, it might at first seem like PBL is incompatible in these learning environments.

In our recently published white paper, Implementing Project-Based Learning in Distanced Environments, we reexamine this assumption and discuss how PBL has the power to adapt to the needs of students on an individual basis.

Read below for an excerpt from this white paper about how PBL can take place in an at-home environment, followed by a list of recommended materials that can be found around the house to make PBL a success.


Accessible Project-Based Learning at Home

For John Larmer, editor-in-chief at the Buck Institute for Education, incorporating PBL into a district’s distance learning curriculum is also an effective way to address discrepancies of resources that differ between households. If, for example, a family lacks access to technology or the internet, Larmer suggests that teachers reassure families that projects can be “low- or no-tech.”

For more than three decades, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) has been implementing STEM education programs across the country, and we’ve seen firsthand the power of encouraging students to use everyday objects to construct invention prototypes.

A great example of this comes from Collegiate Inventors Competition® Finalist team NeoVent, which used a yogurt container and duct tape to prototype its lifesaving infant respirator. Though everyday household items like cardboard, masking tape and plastic bottles might not look like much, they represent the perfect building blocks for students to explore their ideas and embrace hands-on learning without access to technology.


Recommended Household Materials for Project-Based Learning

  • Small or medium boxes
  • Paper towel tubes
  • Cannisters and containers
  • Cups and lids
  • Bubble wrap
  • Foam trays
  • Rubber bands
  • Miscellaneous paper (construction paper, magazines, newspapers, etc.)
  • Balls and sporting goods
  • Pulleys
  • Springs
  • Strainers
  • Tape
  • Washers
  • Unwanted toys (building blocks, car/train tracks, game parts, pinwheels, plastic figures, toy vehicles, etc.)
  • Unwanted DVDs, tapes and cases


Read the Full White Paper Today

To download and read the entirety of our Implementing Project-Based Learning in Distanced Environments white paper, we encourage you to check out our website.

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