The PBL Super Highway… Over 45 Links To Great Project Based Learning

9/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
Are you on a journey to find  great PBL ideas? Then you have come to the right place. In fact, you just might want to spend some time here and also continue to come back. The first of my list includes sites that have created data bases of PBL Units. You will find units that you can use, improve, or incorporate as a base.

Other PBL Idea Generators

While the sites below may not all always provide a total PBL unit, they will offer an idea starter for a  some great PBL. Some are based in Project Based learning while others focus more on Problem Based learning. You may find an entire project, an idea, or scaffolding for a project you have in mind. Enjoy the selection… you are bound to walk away with some great ideas!

  • Talladega School Collection - Great collection of PBL resources, projects and ideas.
  • PBL Gallery – Some wonderful projects from state of Michigan teachers
  • Middle School Gallery – If you teach middle school look at this expanded list from the above  PBL Gallery in Michigan
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute – Wonderful collection of Industrial Mathematics projects.
  • PBL Academy – Collection of PBL projects including a concentration of math ideas
  • High Tech High School - Selection of PBL projects from High Tech High in San Diego, California
  • Envision Schools - Collection of projects from Envision Schools
  • Emergent Math - A blog dedicated to brainstorming interesting and dynamic math problems that could be part of a PBL
  • The Learning Network – This amazing site from the New York Times provides ideas to start or scaffold a PBL Unit
  • Virtual Schoolhouse - Online and blended PBL ideas for projects
  • Edutopia - Article pointing to ideas for High School with regards to PBL
  • Global Schoolhouse - Whether you’re just starting out, or ready for advanced levels — this tutorial will help you  implement collaborative, project-based learning on the Internet.
  • Indiana University PBL Academy – Contains some great project ideas, especially in Math areas. It is a Moodle so log in as guest and realize you may have to navigate a bit. It is time will spent.
  • Real World Math – Provides some interesting ideas that could provide for some great math PBL.
  • Project Foundry – Any school investigating PBL must take a look. It is the last of my Land Of PBL only because it does carry a cost. Project Foundry is an online learning management and student portfolio system that allows innovative educators to scale authentic, integrated, individualized learning. It really works well in a connected online environment. You will find that this fee-based system includes integration with online tools such as Google Apps and Moodle.
  • Mathalicious – While this is primarily a fee based site, there are some great ideas (even some free).For those willing to put up some funds the price is very reasonable!
  • PBL Pathways – Some great advanced math and science ideas that could spur some PBL into action.
  • Cases Online - A collection of great STEM related activities that will satisfy students at all levels.
  • CIESE - The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education has wonder units that are PBL based

Challenges and Competitions

Did you know that a challenge or competition can be a great base for PBL? You can enter that competition and provide some engaging authenticity for students. Are you just getting started? You do not have to enter a competition to use the resources, although the completions are a lot of fun! In fact, many times a resource in a competition can be the perfect tool for a scaffolding activity in PBL.  While this list starts with science and math, you will find other subjects as you keep reading down the list. How can you use one of these ideas be used to facilitate PBL in the classroom?

  • Siemens We Can Change The World Challenge – Great site loaded with resources, standards, and ideas. Enter the competition or just use the resources that are provided. Applicable to all levels of K-12 education.
  • Kids Science Challenge – Awesome and inspiring challenges involving bio-designed scientific inventions, sports on Mars, and detective science. Be sure to check out the great podcasts listed in Pulse of the Planet.
  • Young Scientists Challenge – Great resource for students in  K-8. Lessons, multi-media, and other materials that can be incorporated into PBL units.
  • National Engineer Week: Future City – Great Project-Based Learning Activity incorporating STEAM along with Language Arts and Social Studies. Engage students with Sim City Software, model building, and a new curriculum designed to integrate disciplines.
  • Google Science Fair - The Google Science Fair challenges students aged 13-18 to carry out a scientific investigation on a real-world problem or issue that interests them. The competition asks them to carry the investigation forward through rigorous experimentation, recording and conclusions.Students compete with peers in their age group from all over the world to win scholarships, internships and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
  • National STEM Video Game Challenge - Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.

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Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education.  His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at

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