Get Messy! An Introduction to Problem Based Learning Hi, Im Nicole Read. Former AP United States Teacher Currently OCSAs Learning Specialist Grading practices enthusiast
New mother of two Assessments of 21st Century Skills must be In variable rather than standardiz ed conditions
As teams rather than as individuals With assessmen ts that are public rather
than secret Cycle through process of learn, understan d, create, explore, share
P B L Possible Types of Inquiry-based Learning/Assessments Cooperative Learning Socratic Method Scientific Method Student Self Reflection Essential Questions
Problem Based Learning A Brief Introduction to PBL Problem Based Learning Introduction to PBL What is PBL? Problem-based learning (PBL) is focused experiential learning organized around the
investigation and resolution of messy, real-world problems. PBL engages students as stakeholders immersed in a messy, ill-structured, problematic situation. Introduction to PBL What is PBL?
PBL organizes curriculum around this holistic problem, enabling student learning in relevant and connected ways. PBL creates a learning environment in which teachers coach student thinking and guide student inquiry, facilitating learning toward deeper levels of
understanding while entering the inquiry as a coinvestigator. Essential Questions v. Messy Questions Trouble with Problem Based Questions What is an Essential Question? Broad in scope Timeless in nature
Perpetually arguable Big-idea questions Teaches students how to learn, not just content based Historically important, but still relevant in the field Promotes inquiry into core content and big ideas Promotes deep thinking, lively discussion, and more questions Connects past learning or personal experience to new content Does not have one right answer
Examples of EQs: What is justice? Is art a matter of taste or principles? How far should we tamper with our own biology and chemistry? Is science compatible with religion? Is an authors view privileged in determining the meaning of a text? How well can fiction reveal truth? Why did that particular species/culture/person
thrive and that other one barely survive or die? What is the price of progress? Bad examples of EQs: What is abolition? What were the causes of the Civil War? What is the best method of factoring? Describe the Scientific Method. How does one explicate a poem? What are the steps of photosynthesis?
Are messy questions EQs? All messy questions, in the context of PBL, are essential questions and fit the qualities of a good EQs. Not all EQs qualify as messy questions that can be used in a PBL day or unit. So then, what is different about a messy
Messy or Ill-structured questions Always ask students to create or produce something Always ask students to employ research skills Are often related to real-world problems or scenarios Often ask students to consult experts in the field Always ask students to work collaboratively with each other and their instructor Are often interdisciplinary
Rarely have two defined sets of answers (pro/con; true/false) What is the impact of PBL on learners? What is the impact of PBL on learners? Increases Motivation: PBL engages students in learning through the attraction or pull of problem dissonance or tension. They take on more and delve deeper as they make a personal investment in the
outcome of their inquiry. Makes Learning Relevant to the Real World: PBL directs students to answer their own questions about how the curriculum relates to their everyday lives. Promotes Higher Order Thinking: Coupled with cognitive coaching strategies, the ill-structured problem scenario calls upon critical and creative thinking by suspending the guessing game of, What's the answer that the teacher wants me to find?"
Continued Cultivates Research Skills: Students gather information significant to the problem and assess its credibility and validity. In bringing the problem to acceptable closure with evidence to support decisions, students meet high benchmarks of thinking. Encourages Learning How to Learn: PBL promotes metacognition and self-regulated learning as students generate strategies for
defining problems, gathering information, analyzing data, building and testing hypotheses, comparing strategies with those of other students and mentors, and sharing methods and conclusions. Continued... Requires Authenticity: PBL engages student learning in ways that are similar to real world situations and assesses learning in ways that demonstrate
understanding and not mere replication. Student Responses to What activity helped you the most to understand the problem? Student responses to What do you think you were most successful at doing? Lets Put It Into Practice
What kinds of classes can PBL be used in? PBL has successfully been used in disciplines ranging from engineering to art history. When adapting PBL for your course, consider the following: An entire course can be PBL based, or PBL can be used for part of a given unit. What kinds of classes can PBL be used in?
Depending on your learning goals, it is possible to design problems with a narrow range of correct solutions (such as medical diagnoses) or with a wider range of creative possibilities (such as architectural designs). Though usually based in group work, PBL can also have individualized components, provided that students are required to come together to discuss their findings.
Sample Problems Algebra: A local man wins a large amount of money in the lottery and asks for advice on how to invest his winnings wisely. (Students explore the concept of investing and learn investment terms. They contact local tax advisors, investment advisors and financial institutions to understand how the financial industry works.)
Sample Continued AP biology: The Community Health Department asks students to develop a strategic plan to contain an infectious disease within their high school and also to educate the school population on correct protocols to avoid mass hysteria. (Students study the dynamics of an infectious disease and collect, evaluate and use data, graphing and charting.)
Samples Continued Geometry: The current high school building is under construction for additional space and renovation. Students will prepare a proposal for the administration with recommendations and substantiation of their choices as they consider the variables of various desk/ chair designs, including size, cost, effective use of workspace, comfort in
design, and color. Samples Continued American literature: A member of a local citizens group challenges the inclusion of Mark Twains novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the curriculum. What are the issues? Should students study this novel? Why or why not? Samples Continued
Interdisciplinary: You are an African nation that desires a substantial loan from the World Bank. Your goal is to convince the World Bank that your countrys needs are great and you deserve a loan. The World Bank has a limited amount of money to lend and many other countries are asking for loans. Therefore, you must prepare a strong case for receiving a loan and be able to defend your need for the
Samples Continued American literature: A member of a local citizens group challenges the inclusion of Mark Twains novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the curriculum. What are the issues? Should students study this novel? Why or why not? Checklist for Developing a Problem: Selected appropriate content? Determined availability of resources?
Written a problem statement that is ill-structured or messy? is developmentally appropriate? is grounded in student resources? is curriculum based ? allows for a variety of teaching and learning strategies and styles? Chosen a motivation activity? Determined evaluation strategies?
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