A Case for Problem-Based Learning
Suppose you are a high school social studies teacher who works in a culturally diverse school somewhere in Texas. At the teachers’ team meeting, you had a discussion with the other teachers in your grade level about the upcoming unit on the “purpose and function of the U.S. Constitution.” One of the teachers indicated that she planned to distribute the same packets she used last year and schedule five days of independent seat work for her students to complete the packets by locating answers in the course textbook. This would be followed by a written exam over the material in the packets.
You have been aware for some time that the students in this teacher’s class are frustrated, bored, and worst of all, not really learning anything important about social studies as shown through the student data. This could be your opportunity to get her to try something new and more valuable to students. You explain to this teacher that you plan to implement a week-long problem-based learning experience for your students, involving group projects, computer time, and class presentations; you would like to share this plan with her and to partner together on the project. She is apprehensive because it sounds like a lot of work, but you assure her that you have the entire experience planned well.
In this assignment, you will apply principles of problem-based learning to the design of a specific learning experience within a culturally relevant and collaborative learning experience that facilitates the 21st century skills of creativity and innovation. Review the Week Five Instructor Guidance for detailed assistance on preparing for and completing this assignment, including access to resources that will help you identify the characteristics of problem-based learning environments. Next, create your assignment to meet the content and written communication expectations below.
- Plan (5 points): Create a general plan for this problem-based learning experience that includes the following six components:
- Overview of the general problem you will establish related to the topic “The purpose and function of the U.S. Constitution”
- Description of the project that will need to be developed by the group and presented to the class
- Description of how you plan to use the computer time (refer to the information in the Instructor Guidance for examples of how you might make this decision)
- Overview of how student groups will be assigned and monitored
- Description of how the creativity and innovation 21st century skills are learned and/or specifically applied within the project
- Brief summary of how the learning experience incorporates cultural relevance strategies
- Problem-Based Learning Perspective (2 points): Plan includes common characteristics of problem-based learning, addressing an open-ended problem posed to each learning group.
- Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (1 point): Plan includes descriptions of the specific culturally relevant strategies supported.