A Case for Problem-Based Learning

A Case for Problem-Based Learning


EDU 693: Creativity, Culture, and Global Contexts in Education Decision Making

Keeping students engaged in their learning should be the top priority of teachers. Creativity and collaboration are a great way that teachers can do this. According to a journal, “Systems that do not encourage innovation and creativity have a tendency to stagnate a wear individual down to the point where they lose desire to do anything new or different” (Wurdinger & Carlson, 2009). Creativity within the classroom is important for students to feel as though they are a part of their learning choices. Projects that allow students to research and build up on that are great and are best done in groups.

The grade that my project is designed for will be elementary school students in the 5th grade. The subjects that this project-based lesson will fall under will be Science and Math. The demographics of the class for this project-based lesson will be middle class students of different races.

There will be 20 students in the class, and they will be divided into four equal groups with five students in each group. Each member of the group will be required to take their own daily notes that I will take up at the end of each day of the week.

The project and problem-based lessons are geared to allow the students to learn how to collaborate and come together to decide which material can create the sturdiest bridge. In the classroom I will already have certain materials that the students must choose from to build their bridges. The project for the group is to first research three different bridges all over the world. On Monday and Tuesday, the group will research the three different bridges and research when and how they were built. Over the next few days the group will create an outline of the materials they will need to build their bridges and begin to get the required materials. The bridges will be allowed to dry over the weekend and on Monday each group will have the chance to present their bridges to the class. I will be grading the bridges by looking at how each group collaborated over the past weeks, how they used critical thinking to see what worked and what did not work, and on creativity.

Problem-based learning allows students to lead their learning and learn from each other when placed in small groups. This type of learning helps students to continue to stay engaged in their learning. Each student has their own thinking and are culturally different this is a common characteristic of project-based learning. By collaborating they are learning from each other. This project will help students to think come up with different ways to build their bridges (Amayfiel, 2014, 0:49).

Critical thinking is a major skill that each student will use during this project. Along with critical thinking, collaboration and creativity will also be key 21st Century skills that the students will use. Creativity will be seen because each group will be able to show and explain their own thoughts. Innovation and critical thinking skills will be displayed during this project when each group can show how their bridge can stand and how they came to that conclusion.

Culturally relevant strategies were applied when each student in the group could collaborate and come up with the bridge. Working together is a great way for students to learn about other cultures and how others think when solving a problem (Savery, 2006).


Amayfiel. (2014, November 8). Problem-based learning (Links to an external site.) [Video file].

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcGOe_JsXUY

Savery, J. R. (2006). Overview of problem-based learning: Definitions and distinctions (Links to

an external site.). Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(1), 9-20. Retrieved from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=ijpbl

Wurdinger, S. D., & Carlson, J. A. (2009). Teaching for experiential learning: Five approaches that work. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy-library.ashford.edu

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