What is Project Based Learning?

  • DMES is a Project Based Learning (PBL) school. We adhere to the model designed by the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), the global leader in PBL.


    DMES’s goal is to become a regional leader in PBL education, in the process becoming a part of the growing body of evidence that students engaged in PBLs improve in a number of important ways.


    BIE defines PBL in this way:


    Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In Gold Standard PBL, projects are focused on student learning goals and include Essential Project Design Elements:

    • Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, communication, collaboration, and self-management. 
    • Challenging Problem or Question- The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
    • Sustained Inquiry- Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
    • Authenticity- The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
    • Student Voice & Choice- Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
    • Reflection- Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
    • Critique & Revision- Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
    • Public Product- Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.



    If you are interested in learning more about PBL or the research that shows that, when it is done well, student achievement improves, please contact our PBL Lead Teacher, Kim Shear or click this link to learn more from the Buck Institute.