Project-Based Learning Deepens Knowledge in Science for 3rd Graders in Michigan

Students outside in winter on looking at something on sidewalk
March 30, 2021

In its March 29, 2021 edition of The Conversation, Joe Krajcik, Lappan-Phillips Professor of Education at Michigan State University and the director of the CREATE for STEM Institute, and Barbara Schneider, Professor of Education and Sociology and the Hannah Chair of Education at Michigan State University, share their findings around Project-Based Learning and how it expands students' understanding of scientific concepts and their social-emotional skills.  

Project-Based Learning is the focus of CREATE's ML-PBL research and curriculum design. As opposed to learning from textbooks, students in PBL classrooms spend time developing driving questions, designing research projects, and working with other students to find solutions to problems or questions. The findings thus far have been exciting and appear to hold promise for other elementary grades, as well. The ML-PBL curriculum has been awarded a Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS) Design Badge and was recently featured on Edutopia, an education-focused initiative funded by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which funded this important work. 

The ML-PBL curriculum was designed using principles supported by research and aligning with recommendations from the National Research Council.  Compelling phenomena is at the center of student learning; students learn to use scientific practices and other skills to help make sense of the problem they are solving. 

To learn more about CREATE's ML-PBL curriculum work, go to

To learn more about CREATE for STEM, go to

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