IDE Corp
Professional Development for Innovative Schools

Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based Learning is at the core of student-centered classrooms.

A strong, authentic, open-ended, content-rich problem drives students into the curriculum, building a felt need to learn. It is the foundation that will allow our “digital generation” students to achieve at the levels required by the Common Core State Standards.

Why “Problem” and not “Project”? Project-based learning can be closed-ended on the content side, such as: create a salt and flour map of the state. Problem-based learning is open-ended, such as: decide where your state should build a new airport. Academic rigor and the level of thinking required by the Common Core State Standards are best addressed through problems.

Brain researcher David Sousa points out that in order for information to be stored in long-term memory, it must make sense and have meaning. We use Problem-Based Learning to drive instruction and launch a unit, as opposed to serving as the culminating project, so that subsequent instruction makes sense and has meaning.

Beyond instruction, problem-based learning can be used to design an innovative curriculum.

Consider . . .
• Subscribing to the IDEportal to access hundreds of problem-based task and assessment rubrics
• Taking a problem-based approach to instruction
• Designing a problem-based curriculum

IDEportal resources for you (click DEMO to view) . . .
• Sample Authentic Learning Unit from the IDEportal for 1st/2nd grade math – Describing the Class
• Sample Authentic Learning Unit from the IDEportal for 4th grade – The Airport Problem
• Sample Authentic Learning Unit from the IDEportal for 6th-8th grade American history – Declaring Independence
• Sample Authentic Learning Unit from the IDEportal for 11th/12th grade SS/ELA – A Question of Objectivity
Take a Closer Look at Problem-Based Learning