Problem based learning is something that you should be focusing on in your classroom every single day. You want to make problem-based learning activities a focus because you want your students to be successful out in the real world and PBL is the way to blend classroom learning with real-world learning. In this post, I am going to share some easy ways to add problem based learning activities into your classroom each day.
What is PBL?
The center of teaching and learning at Illinois State College describes PBL as, “Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which complex real-world problems are used as the vehicle to promote student learning of concepts and principles as opposed to direct presentation of facts and concepts.”
Basically, it is a way of teaching that allows your students to teach themselves through problem solving and real-world application. You are the facilitator and the students are the teachers and learners.
Problem Based Learning Activities Throughout Each Day
- Make Your Objective Real World Based- When you talk about your objectives in the morning, have the students create a list of how they could use this in the real world, challenge them to look at what problems they could solve with this skill.
- Don’t Solve Their Problems- When students ask you something instead of telling them the answer, have them create possible solutions first.
- Quick STEM activities- Give students any materials and have them build something that will solve a problem or complete an activity. This is great for any grade because all grades love to build. All you have to do is change the objective depending on your grade level.
- For example, I gave my students a spoon, a rubber band, and a cup and told them I wanted them to find a way that I could fly my army man from one side of the room to another and I gave them five minutes!
- Research, research, research!- Take a break from planning and just put a problem on the board. Let your kids research how to solve that problem and come up with solutions!
Problem Based Learning Activities in Centers
You can add some PBL into center work easily! For writing, have students write essays on solutions to problems in the real world (you can find some ideas in the freebie below).
For word work, have students use the words in real-life contexts. For example, have them make a business plan that requires them to use their vocabulary words (Find that activity here).
When you do listening to reading, have kids read news sites online. Timeforkids.com or news-o-matic.com are great for this!
Problem Based Learning Projects
Taking standards that you already have to teach and making them applicable to real lives, giving students an experience, is a great way to do PBL. Some examples are:
- Economics Project- Have students create businesses and sell items to learn all the economics standards.
- Plan a Vacation– Students use some complex math and research skills to plan out an entire vacation that they want to go on. This is a great project for enrichment.
- Build a House– Are your students learning area and perimeter? Give them a LARGE piece of paper and have them build out a house. They can calculate the area and perimeter of each room in their dream house.
This blog post shares some more simple activities to get started with PBL!
Problem Based Learning Freebie
Want some simple PBL freebies to use in your classroom today!? Put your email below to grab them!