What do PBL teachers say?




Inquiry based learning

Good projects are based on inquiry-based learning that is guided by the teacher. The Driving Question is central to the inquiry process and must come before deciding on project activities. The natural outcome is a project that is driven by the question or problem statement.

A good Driving Question should:

Drive the project

Capture a project theme or a "big idea"

Point students toward mastering content and skills that enable them to answer the question

Not be easily solved or answered

Tip: Creating Driving Questions takes time and careful thought. Often, brainstorming with colleagues produces the best Driving Questions.


A good Driving Question makes a project intriguing, complex, and problematic. Although standard classroom assignments, like story problems and essays, pose questions that students must answer, a Driving Question requires multiple activities and the synthesis of different types of information before it can be answered.

Coherence It brings coherence to disparate project activities and serves as a "lighthouse" that promotes student interest and directs students toward the project's goals and objectives.
Authenticity Also, the Driving Questions should address authentic concerns. For example, when creating the Driving Question it is useful to ask yourself: "Where is the content I am trying to teach used in the real world?" Although it is usually easier to focus students' attention on a single question, some topics will require multiple Driving Questions.
See the Evolution of a Project
Developing the Driving Question

Craft the Driving Question
High School
The Watershed Project
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Craft the Driving Question
High School
The Wing Project
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Gender Project
Middle School
The Gender Project
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PBL Videos


Middle School
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High School

Visit PBL-Online Partner, George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), to learn more about these projects:
Pearl River Elementary School:  New Technologies Link Ancient Cultures
Marin School of Arts and Technology:  An Incredible Journey

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