Problem Based Learning

students presenting their research at waterways project

Problem-based learning is focused, experiential learning organized around the investigation and resolution of messy, real-world problems. Teachers take the role of coaches who provide an environment that supports inquiry learning and select possibilities for problem situations that will fit within the curriculum goals. Students learn the content and skills in the course of solving the problem. The problem may be interdisciplinary in nature and incorporate science, mathematics, language arts, and history. The problem should encourage good stewardship of our water resources and ecosystems.

NOAA Waterways

students presenting their research at waterways project

The NOAA WaterWays pilot project was designed to promote and support the incorporation of ocean, coast and atmosphere science into classrooms. The pilot project supported teachers in Maryland and Virginia to use problem-based learning scenarios in their middle school curriculum. Teachers were provided with professional development, access to NOAA scientists, and materials for their classes. Students were provided with an opportunity to showcase their project results with NOAA scientists. The pilot project was evaluated by an external expert and focused on the design of the project, its effects on teachers' content knowledge and implementation in their classrooms and the effects on students' attitudes, interest and knowledge of ocean science.

Check back for information about investigation modules, sample classroom assessments, teacher stories, student products, and project evaluations.



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