iDigFossils Project-Based Learning Lesson Plan
e.g., How Big Was Megalodon?
e.g., 6th – 7th grade
e.g., two 45-minute class periods
e.g., How big was megalodon?
A good question is feasible, worthwhile, contextualized, meaningful, and ethical (Krajcik & Czerniak, 2013). The driving question captures the heart of the project by providing purpose using clear and compelling language. Driving questions (also called compelling questions) pose simply stated real world dilemmas. They pose predicaments that students find interesting and actually want to answer. What is a compelling question for a teacher may not be a compelling question for a student!
- Select disciplinary core idea (e.g., matter and its interactions) List of disciplinary core ideas: www.nap.edu/read/13165/chapter/2#3ngss.nsta.org/AccessStandardsByDCI.aspx
- Unpack the core idea and identify crosscutting concepts and crosscutting statements (e.g., particles are too small to be seen; regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved etc.). List of crosscutting concepts and statements: www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/Appendix%20G%20-%20Crosscutting%20Concepts%20FINAL%20edited%204.10.13.pdf
- List science and engineering practices (e.g., asking questions and defining problems, developing and using models). List of practices: www.nap.edu/read/13165/chapter/2#3
- Define learning performances (these blend core ideas with scientific and engineering practices – e.g., constructing and communicating models to predict and explain the motion of molecules in various phases and during phase change). Performances (standards) by disciplinary core idea: ngss.nsta.org/AccessStandardsByDCI.aspx
Describe how you plan to trigger students’ interest in the question and problem (e.g. invite a scientist to situate the problem, show a PBS video clip explaining its causes and effects etc.).
Describe the types of collaborative work that will occur during the project. Simple placement of students in groups does not ensure effective collaboration. How will you facilitate effective collaboration within and across teams and possibly even classrooms?
Describe the science, math, engineering, and technology knowledge and skills this activity helps develop.
What artifacts will students develop during the project and how will these projects be assessed. To be effective, artifacts need to address the driving question and demonstrate student understanding of the learning goals by reflecting the learning performances you identified above. If you plan to use a rubric, please paste it here.
Buck Institute’s PBL Rubrics: bie.org/objects/cat/rubrics
How will your assessment incorporate student understanding of the 3 dimensions of learning – disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific/engineering practices?
- Formative assessments:
- Summative assessment(s):
Explain the specific sequence of activities that will scaffold student learning. A good frameworks for developing procedures is the 5E model (bscs.org/bscs-5e-instructional-model). Does the procedure meet the following criteria: bie.org/object/document/pbl_essential_elements_checklist
List relevant NGSS standards for the intended grade level.
List relevant CCSS state standards for the intended grade level for math and/or language arts.
(optional – examples are ISTE standards, 21st century skills and 4C’s etc.)
Resources & Materials
List the resources and materials that teachers may find useful when they implement this project-based lesson. Common examples are Youtube videos, TED Talks, simulation tools, research briefs etc.
Key Academic and/or Scientific Language
List the terms used in the lesson and definitions (e.g., deep time, brachiopod etc.).
Some of the many paleontology glossaries:
Explain what knowledge and skills students should have developed before engaging in this project-based lesson.