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Applying PBL to Environmental Science To Address Authentic Problems

Change display time — Currently: Central Daylight Time (CDT) (Event time)
Location: Room 288-90
Experience live: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite

Listen and learn : Ed talk

Jorge Valenzuela  
Learn how project-based learning (PBL) is a natural fit for teaching environmental science, how current research supports its use in the classroom, and how to get started developing your students into the environmentally-aware problem solvers our planet needs in any subject!

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Curriculum/district specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None needed outside internet browser
Topic: Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
Global Collaborator
  • Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Learners will understand why PBL is the best method for teaching Environmental Science in an authentic manner. They will understand the research that supports this approach and walk away with resources that will support their first steps in the process.


A mock-up of our presentation can be viewed here -

Introduction and Framing - Slides 1-19 - 5 minutes
Direct instruction and sharing of self-contained resources

Energizer and Kick Off - Slides 20-30 - 8 minutes
Interactive example of entry event with audience participating

Environmental Science Framing - Slide 31-39 - 5 minutes
Direct instruction with time for question ideation. Use of Nearpod to promote participation as well.

Sample Entry Event - Slides 40-44 - 12 minutes
Facilitated PBL experience for teachers to see and feel how PBL works firsthand

High-level Overview of Supporting Research - Slides 45-53 - 5 minutes
Direct instruction of research w/ shared resource for deeper dive.

Getting Started with PBL - Slides 54-69 - 5 minutes
Practical tips for beginning.

Project Exemplars - Slides 70-80 - 5 minutes
Sharing example projects from the book that can be adapted immediately.

Conclusion - Slide 81 - 2 minutes

Supporting research



More [+]


Jorge Valenzuela, Lifelong Learning Defined, Inc

Jorge Valenzuela is the lead coach at Lifelong Learning Defined, an author and an education advocate. His work focuses on improving teacher preparation in project-based learning (PBL), computational thinking and computer science integration, STEM education and social-emotional learning (SEL) across the curriculum. Valenzuela also provides professional development on behalf of Corwin, ASCD, PBLWorks and Solution Tree. He’s the author of Rev Up Robotics, Environmental Science for Grades 6-12 and the ISTE Jump Start Guides Ready, Set, Robotics and SEL in Action. Valenzuela is also the host of the “SEL in Action” podcast on BAM Radio Network.

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