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PBL — Bringing the Inside Out: Creating an Outdoor Classroom

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Monday, June 24, 8:00–10:00 am
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 20

Sara Eastman  
See how sixth grade students used project-based learning to transform a concrete patio space outside their classroom into an educational learning environment for the entire school. Learn how students completed the entire project on their own collaborating on everything from grant writing and plant selection to engineering raised beds and landscaping.

Audience: Teachers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: none
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Project-, problem- and challenge-based learning
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
  • Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this presentation is to share how my students conceived, designed, and implemented their own project-based learning venture. In this project they transformed a concrete space near the school into an outdoor classroom.

Because the skills the students learned and utilized can be applied to any project, participants will be able to leave with techniques they can use in their own classroom.
Specifically, participants will:
* Explain components of project-based learning (PBL).
* Learn how to create activities for students involving real world applications centered around a driving question.
* Discover how students can use technology to collaborate and communicate.
* Explore how the Cospaces website can be used to create a virtual world.
* Witness how students wrote and received two grants.
* Examine students’ projects and the website they created using Google sites.

Supporting research

Cooper, Ross and Murphy Erin. Hacking Project Based Learning : 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom. Times 10 Publications, 2017.

Larmer, John, et al. Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning: a Proven Approach to Rigorous Classroom Instruction. ASCD, 2015.

“Project-Based Learning.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation,

“Project Based Learning Category List.” ISTE,

“Why Project Based Learning?” The Importance of Project Based Teaching | Blog | Project Based Learning | BIE,

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Sara Eastman, Governor Mifflin Intermediate School

Sara Eastman is an Innovation and gifted support teacher for grades 5-6 in the Governor Mifflin School District (Shillington, PA). In this position, she provides STEM instruction to over 650 students and enrichment to the school's gifted population. She has a masters degree in educational technology. Additionally, she assists teachers in the creation and implementation of PBL projects in their classrooms. Sara has facilitated trainings and presented on technology, STEM, and PBL at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo & Conference (PETE&C), Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System (SAS) Conference, and the Berks County (PA) Core Connections Conference.

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