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Problem Based Learning

Page history last edited by Tricia Lazzaro 14 years, 6 months ago



Students work best on real world problems and solutions, especially ones where their solution can be implemented.



Are there any issues or real world problems in the school or community that students can research, brainstorm solutions, and then implement?


For example:

Garbage in school - how do we solve the problem of students leaving garbage behind?


H2O - Is our school water safe to drink?




Examples from Illinois Math & Science Academy:



7th grade life science


: A local man wins a large amount of  money in the lottery and asks for advice on how to invest  his winnings wisely. [Students will explore the concept of  investing and will learn investment terms. They will contact  local tax advisors, investment advisors, and financial  institutions to see how the financial industry works.]


8th Grade science:

Concerned parents are lobbying  the school board to replace fluorescent lights with  incandescent lights because they believe fluorescent  lighting to be harmful to the students’ eyesight. The  principal presented the problem to the 8th grade class,asking them to investigate the science behind the claim. (Students will study different types of light, electromagnetic spectrum, CBL, and light meters, as well as spectroscopy.) 



9th Grade Mathematics

: Students studying ecology receive a letter from the Illinois Farm Bureau. This letter discusses the overpopulation of deer in Illinois and the increase in traffic accidents and fatalities in the state. The IFB asks the students to consider the situation and offer possible solutions. [Students will explore the habitat of the deer, hunting regulations, diseases caused by overcrowding and methods of population reduction.]





4th grade social science students: The students,  playing the role as Business Development Officers, are  asked to determine whether Harris Bank should open a  branch in their school. (Students will study how economic  systems decide what goods and services are produced and  who consumes them, identify factors that affect how  consumers make choices, and recognize and explain  examples of competition.



and either accept or reject. (The 1

1st and 7th grade science students: The Department  of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has animals which have been  orphaned and injured and is asking the students to choose  an animal and make recommendations about the proper  placement of the animal. The 1st graders will make  recommendations that the 7th graders, as members of the  Animal Rehabilitation Review Group for DFW, will evaluatest graders will study the  animal’s special needs, habitats, and diet, and the 7th  graders will research rehab/release methods, graph  success rates, locate and contact primary sources, such as  zoo officials, biologists, and animal rehabbers.)



The business office has asked each principal to investigate ways to conserve energy use in the schools. The principal appeals

to the mathematics classes to analyze current and future use of energy and make recommendations that he can take to the next administrators meeting. (Students will study alternative energy sources and the cost/ benefit analysis of each energy source. They will create and interpret graphs to substantiate their findings.)

7th/8th grade mathematics students:



12th grade biology students: The senior AP biology  students are asked by the Community Health Department  of their town to develop a strategic plan that would contain  an infectious disease within their high school. They would  also be asked to educate the school population on correct  protocols to avoid mass hysteria. (Students will study the  dynamics of an infectious disease, collect, evaluate, and  use data, graphing and charting.)

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