What is Project Based Learning?

In Project Based Learning (PBL), students conduct an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. The Zulama projects allow for student “voice and choice,” yet are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students:

  • Learn important academic content
  • Practice 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking
  • Create high-quality, authentic products & presentations

Zulama focuses on project-based learning.

Zulama project based learning:

  • is organized around an open-ended driving question that focuses student work and deepens learning by centering on significant issues, debates, questions and/or problems.
  • creates a need to know essential content and skills.
  • presents students with knowledge and concepts that, once learned, are applied. PBL begins with the vision of an end product that requires learning specific knowledge and concepts, thus creating a context and reason to learn and understand the information and concepts.
  • requires inquiry to learn and create something new. When used properly, inquiry should lead students to construct something new, for example, an idea, an interpretation, or a new way of displaying what they have learned.
  • develops critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and communication skills.
  • requires students to use higher-order thinking skills.
  • teaches students to work as a team and contribute to a group effort. They will listen to others and make their own ideas clear when speaking, will be able to read a variety of material, write or otherwise express themselves in various modes, and make effective presentations.
  • allows some degree of student voice and choice, which increases student engagement.
  • teaches students to work independently and take responsibility when they are asked to make choices.
  • incorporates feedback and revision. Students use peer critique to improve their work and create higher quality products.
  • results in a publicly presented product or performance. What you know is demonstrated by what you do!

Why use PBL?

Students gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and standards at the heart of a project. Projects build vital workplace skills and lifelong habits of learning. Students can use projects to address community issues, explore careers, interact with adult mentors, use technology, and present their work to audiences beyond the classroom. PBL can motivate students who might otherwise find school boring or meaningless.

If we are serious about reaching 21st Century educational goals, PBL must be at the center of 21st Century instruction.