Da Vinci Academy Core Curriculum: Project-Based Learning
Project-based learning is a comprehensive instructional approach to engage students in sustained, cooperative investigation (Bransford & Stein, 1993).
Within its framework students collaborate, working together to make sense of what is going on. Project-based instruction differs from inquiry-based activity — an activity most of us have experienced during our own schooling by its emphasis on cooperative learning. Inquiry is traditionally thought of as an individually done, somewhat isolated activity. Additionally, project-based instruction differs from traditional inquiry by its emphasis on students’ artifact construction to represent what is being learned.
Students pursue solutions to nontrivial problems by
- asking and refining questions
- debating ideas
- making predictions
- designing plans and/or experiments
- collecting and analyzing data
- drawing conclusions
- communicating their ideas and findings to others
- asking new questions
- creating artifacts (Blumenfeld et al., 1991).
There are two essential components of projects:
- A driving question or problem that serves to organize and drive activities, which taken as a whole amount to a meaningful project
- Culminating product(s) or multiple representations as a series of artifacts, personal communication (Krajcik), or consequential task that meaningfully addresses the driving question. (Brown & Campione,1994).
Da Vinci Elementary scholars engage in a wide variety of academic activities throughout the day that incorporates centers-based learning, personalized learning, project-based learning, and student choice. We design a program around the students’ individual learning styles and academic goals.