Student engagement promotes deeper learning through ML-PBL

picture of wagon diagram drawn by student

- Written by Emily C. Miller, Joseph Krajcik, and Susan Codere

Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning (ML-PBL) provides an innovative approach to promote student engagement and learning of science for elementary teachers under normal circumstances. How can we adapt the ML-PBL materials for effective science learning for a variety of contexts, including COVID-19 response scenarios? Through funding from the George Lucas Educational Research Foundation, in this project, we will explore and develop 1. principles for adaptation that maintain the levels of engagement needed for deeper learning, and 2. materials that instantiate those principles.

Penguin drawing showing how sun makes shadows on ground

The ML-PBL research team, working with a team of practitioners, will build on existing materials, guided by design-based research cycles and data-driven evaluation to support virtual instruction. We seek to maintain the integrity of ML-PBL within starkly different circumstances to promote engagement necessary for deeper learning. The PBL design features will stay intact, but we will explore their affordances to guide adaptations. First-hand, interactive experiences, collaborative building of artifacts, and community connection are critical features of our work and need to occur in any environment; therefore, we will determine how to retain the design features of PBL in virtual contexts to engage children in doing science. This project will develop adaptation principles that adhere to the affordances of PBL (i.e., Driving Questions, science practices, presentation of artifact), to provide access to equity, support deeper science learning and promote collaboration. The team will develop a modified ML-PBL curriculum system that can be enacted in asynchronous, hybrid, or virtual contexts, and tools to gather evidence of student engagement as a measure of these modifications.

Photo of shadow that student captured outside with laptop

To learn more about the Multiple Literacies project, click here.

To read about ML-PBL receiving an NGSS award badge, click here

To read the article 'Creating Wonder', click here.