This post is #8 in a series of 10 posts that serve as extensions of the 10 chapters in Hacking Project Based Learning, which I coauthored with Erin Murphy. This post is an extension of Chapter 8, which focuses on mini-lessons. #HackingPBL
For all of the posts in the series, tap/click here.
During project based learning (PBL), or any form of inquiry-based learning, it is unlikely students will accidentally stumble upon uncovering all necessary content. Therefore, some level of direct instruction will need to be integrated into your teaching. After all…
Students can’t think critically about nothing.
This direct instruction usually takes place in the form of mini-lessons, which are strategically placed throughout the learning to provide students with relevant information at just the right time.
Planning for these mini-lessons can be an intimidating task, especially while one is already so consumed (and possibly, overwhelmed) by the job of constructing the overall PBL experience. However, help can come from one of the most unexpected and unlikely resources of all…the textbook. In fact, I have found “boring” textbook activities often times take on lives of their own when they are implemented within the context of PBL. For example, while putting together simple electrical circuits might feel like a common science experiment, this same experiment holds a lot more value when conducted after students are notified they are going to be incorporating these circuits into pinball machines.
That being said, here is the process I follow for transforming common textbook activities into project based mini-lessons.