Math and Project Based Learning: 22 Amazing Resources, Part 1

Math and Project Based Learning: 22 Amazing Resources, Part 1

Welcome this first of a four part series intended to provide Math teachers with some outstanding PBL resources. First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration, please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

When facilitating Project Based Learning (PBL) workshops across the country I often have math teachers eagerly ask for additional math PBL resources. They want material that might provide a further idea, a scaffolding lesson, footprint, or even an entire plan for a PBL unit. In meeting these teachers’ needs I have spent hours in research. I am pleased to share with you these twenty sites that I am certain can help facilitate Math PBL. Of course I have many things I would like to discuss in regards to Math and PBL… but I will save that for a future post. I hope you enjoy these twenty-two resources that are a part of this four part series. Is there something that should be added? Let me know! Please return, share, and provide a retweet.

Part 1: Math and Project Based Learning… 22 Amazing Resources

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BIE – The Buck Institute (BIE) is of course is one of the international leaders in PBL. In fact, I am a proud member of their National Faculty. On the front of BIE page you will find a large collection of projects. A simple search through the data base may just land you on that project you have been looking for. Many times the project will contain those essential PBL elements. Enjoy the search!

The New York Times Learning Network – The supplied link happens to bring you right to the math section of this amazing site. Have you ever thought about exploring Driving Questions that ask some of the below mathematical concepts?

  • How is math beautiful?
  • How big is infinity?
  • What happens if we go over a fiscal cliff?
  • Is Algebra necessary?

If these questions spark your curiosity to explore the wonderful world of numbers and computation then the New York Times Learning Network is a must visit! The Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials, ideas, and lesson plans based on New York Times content. Teachers can use or adapt these lessons and even contribute their own ideas. While the lessons may not be a complete PBL unit, they can sure provide the footprint for a new idea or scaffolding for a current project. Take a visit and start reading some of these amazing ideas. I guarantee it will get you looking at math in a different way and might help you generate a completely new idea.

Emergent Math – Looking for ideas that just might spark a PBL math idea? Emergent Math is dedicated to brainstorming interesting and dynamic math problems and projects. The facilitator of the blog is employed by the New Technology Network of Schools. The posts really do allow for real mathspiration (inspirational combined with math). As stated in the blog, “interesting math problem/project can come in the form of a picture, a video, a tweet, something your child says, etc”. This blog really does attempt to use all of the preceding ideas, plus more! The posts generate ideas on how these concepts just might fit in the classroom and/or provide some driving/guiding questions. The best place to begin your exploration is at the first page of the blog and read the index! You will enjoy your immersion in Math!

Less Helpful Math – Many math teachers are familiar with the amazing work of Dan Meyer. Dan has been a high school math and currently studies math education at Stanford University. He speaks internationally and works with textbook publishers assisting in the transformation of print past to digital future. You will be tempted to spend hours, days, and weeks in this amazing blog. In fact, just subscribe so you do not miss a thing. Dan has the wonderful ability to talk in a real world math language. Many of his examples and ideas can be the footprint of scaffolding for either PBL or PrBL (Problem Based Learning). Areas to make sure you explore include blog articles, author’ choice, My Curricula (3 Act Math), My Projects, and of course the Categories! Just don’t watch the clock, there is no way to predict the minutes you will spend in this amazing land of math!

Share My Lesson – This link will land you at the PBL Math Portion of the site. Share My Lesson is a place where educators come together to create and share their very best teaching resources. It was created by teachers for teachers. It is a free platform giving access to high-quality teaching resources. It provides an online community where teachers can collaborate with, encourage and inspire each other. Many of the math activities and plans will provide ideas to a PBL project, the idea for a PBL project, or scaffolding ideas to reside in a PBL project. Be sure to explore the lessons in Algebra, Geometry, Mathematical Functions, Statistics, and Probability. At last count there were over 3500 combined lessons. Perhaps that is still not enough and you will find something to share!

PBL Pathways – This is a website dedicated to Math and PBL. In the supplied link you are directed to the PBL Projects. Here you will discover some project ideas covering many areas of advanced math. Each is a complete project that you may wish to include. Please be sure to read their Terms of Copyright Statement when using the materials. The site really does contain some outstanding mathematical PBL pathways.

Project Based Instruction in Mathematics for the Liberal Arts – The purpose of this wonderful web site is to provide projects and resources for instructors and students who wish to teach and learn college mathematics or post-algebra high school mathematics via project-based instruction. Many of these projects can be geared toward high school mathematics. Project-Based Instruction in Mathematics for the Liberal Arts (PBI-MLA) was developed at the University of South Carolina Spartanburg (now known as University of South Carolina Upstate). In six years, it developed an amazing 30% higher success rate than traditional textbook-driven sections of College Mathematics. You will find some great ideas as you explore.

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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