Starting PBL: 30 Amazing Resources To Help Plant A New PBL Idea, Part 2

Starting PBL: 30 Amazing Resources To Help Plant A New PBL Idea, Part 2

I sure hope you enjoyed that last post on ideas to get you started with that PBL unit. If you missed it then be sure to check it out here. As you know, the web provides us with many possibilities. As you suspect, there are a lot of PBL ideas out there. I often tell people you can begin a search in some of the following ways:

  1. Go to google and use key word PBL along with some other keywords… what do you find?
  2. Check out Twitter… use hashtag PBL along with some other keyword(s)… what might your tweet uncover?
  3. Perhaps there is an online competition that you have used or just come across… how can you turn it into a PBL?
  4. You may have found that perfect lesson at your favorite curriculum site… can it be expanded to a PBL?
  5. Don’t forget your local newspaper or favorite news outlet( local, national, and world)… what interesting story might engage students and also start a project?

[Part 2: Ten Reasons for Mapping Out PBL… Scaffolds That Makes Project Based Learning Work]

There are also specific sites that are geared toward Project Based Learning. Some provide an entire project. Others will give a lesson or activity that could be turned into a project when mapped out. Let me share some of those with you in the space below. Keep in mind that I am trying to keep it simple so you have a starting place. You may want to consider your subject area and organizations that support that specific curriculum. This will allow you to do your own search. Let’s get started!

1. BIE Tools – This is the BUCK Institute Project Search Database/ Here you will find a collection somewhere around 450 proven lesson plans to set any PBL desire into action. Look at the database but also click on the BIE home tab to view the entire site.

2. PBL Projects – This is a list of PBL possibilities for all grade levels in multiple subject areas.

3. Edutopia –This link brings you to a wonderful PBL treasure chest of ideas, resources, and research.

4. Unit Starter Resources – These are from the Read to Be Ready Program in Tennessee and provide some great possibilities for building a PBL.

5. Sites Supporting PBL – Use these resources for your Project Based Learning and collaborative based teaching. While you are using PBL in the classroom, search here for data sources, biography and inventor topics. Check subject area topics for development like math, science, and weather, and projects on countries and continents. There are projects for elementary levels as well as project ideas for middle and high school. Also listed are Problem Based Learning topics. Please explore them all! You will find great ideas for PBL learning6. Learning Reviews – This website claims to connect kids to learning on the web. It really connects kids to awesome, engaging, rigorous, and relevant projects. It points to numerous websites on the internet that house some great PBL possibilities. Be sure to check out all of the subjects and grade levels.
Here are more than 30 websites with free PBL examples, guidance, rubrics, and templates. To see Project Based Learning lessons sorted by subject go to:
PBL Language Arts Projects by grade level
PBL Science Lesson Ideas by topic
PBL Math Project Ideas by topic
PBL Social Studies Project Ideas by grade level

7. TeachThought – Here you will find a long list of ideas for Project Based Learning. Take some time to explore for inspiration.

8. New Tech – A great collection of resources from an amazing school (New Tech High School). You will find authentic student owned PBL.

9. Google Project Slide Resources Ideas – While not full-blown PBL there are some possibilities fo using Google Slides for presenting a PBL.

10. Seventeen Examples of STEM PBL – Take a look at this list of STEM activities that can be brought into PBL.

11. PBL Math Ideas – This is a wonderful collection of Math possibilities from various location made possible by Thomasville City Schools.

12. Fifteen Classroom Literacy Ideas for Early Childhood – The folks at NWEA have assembled a wonderful list of real literacy ideas to bring your students not just in their early education years, but also ideas that can be adapted for older students. They can also work into a PBL. I like these as a base due to the authenticity possibilities.

13. Fifty Student Competitions – I mentioned competitions and how they can build into a PBL. Take a moment to check out the possibilities.

14. Real Projects – Inspired by approaches pioneered in the US, and developed through a partnership between Innovation Unit and High Tech High in California, REAL Projects are now being used by schools all over England.

15. PBL U – Here are several great project already designed by the people at BIE. Take a look and learn more!

16. Global School Net – This organization supports 21st century, brain-friendly learning, and improves academic performance through content-driven collaboration. They engage educators and students in brain-friendly e-learning projects worldwide to develop science, math, literacy and communication skills, foster teamwork, civic responsibility and collaboration, encourage workforce preparedness and create multi-cultural understanding.

17. Imagination Foundation Cardboard Challenge – Take a break from digital technology and devices and find a way to bring old fashion technology in the classroom such as… cardboard! You will imagine some great PBL possibilties.

18. iEarn – Join this interactive curriculum-based groups where students are creating, researching, sharing opinions and becoming global citizens.

19. Roots and Shoots – Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) global youth-led community action program, consisting of thousands of young people as they connect knowledge and service with the real world.

20. ePals – This is another wonderful site allowing students to collaborate across the globe. Check out the amazing possibilities for PBL.

21. Taking it Global – Visit one of the world’s leading networks of young people learning about, engaging with, and working towards tackling global challenges.

22. The Globe Program – Take a look at this organization that inspires to promote the teaching and learning of science, enhance environmental literacy and stewardship, and promote scientific discovery.

23. New York Times Learning Reviews – Check out these wonderful and thought-provoking lesson plans that could be built into a PBL. You will be amazed!

24. NASA Search – Take a look at this data base of lessons and activities that could be empowered into some PBL possibilities. Not only might you get the idea for a PBL, you could also get specific lessons to put in your PBL map.

25. Arts Edge – One of my favorite places for the Arts from the Kennedy Institute. You are bound to find some wonderful ideas for a PBL.

26. The Exploritorium Tinkering Studio – Tinkering is at the very heart of formative learning, allowing for iterations that encourage revision and reflection. Kids develop an understanding of how to learn from failure and setbacks in order to experience eventual success. The Tinkering Studio is primarily an R&D laboratory on the floor of the Exploratorium, but whenever possible they try to share their projects, activities, and developing ideas following an “open source” model. Learn how you too can enjoy their activities in your classroom while allowing your kids to Tinker and Make!

27. EGFI – If you are into STEM… than take a look at EGFI and all of its possibilities. Many of these activities and lessons can be scoped out to bring about a PBL. Give it a try!

28. Project Approach – Reading about—and seeing—project work in the classroom provides an excellent way to learn about or enhance one’s use of the Project Approach, a kind of project-based teaching and learning. The projects compiled here are sorted by grade level, with many making use of local surroundings and resources, integrating technology in purposeful ways, raising awareness about “green” issues, and achieving other goals aligned with best practices in 21st-century education.

29. PBL Clearing House – This University of Delaware site provides some interesting possibilities for secondary schools and PBL.

30. High Tech Elementary – Their high school projects are awesome. Take a look at these student projects aimed at the elementary

There you have it! I do hope you enjoy these thirty possibilities. I do plan on adding as I get more resources. If you know of one please let me know at ( or on twitter at mjgormans. I wish you the very best as you come up with that new PBL idea. Perhaps you now have at least one from your journeythroug this post. Enjoy the PBL journey!

cross-posted at

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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