Project Based Learning

Equip students with skills for life

In Project Based Learning (PBL), teachers make learning come alive for students. Students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a term – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating a public product or presentation for a real audience.

As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. PBL unleashes a contagious, creative energy among students and teachers. It keeps the learning alive and offers opportunities for students to develop skills and knowledge in a wide range of contexts.

How does Project Based Learning differ from ‘doing a project’?

Creating projects is a common task that students are asked to do by teachers. Project Based Learning Projects are different in that they move from ‘doing a project’ to engaging in the process and the analysis and evaluation of what they are doing and how it can impact the world around them.

We find it helpful to distinguish the difference by using two terms: a ‘dessert project’ –  a short, intellectually-light project served up after the teacher covers the content of a unit in the usual way – from a ‘main course’ project, in which the project is the unit. In PBL, the project is the vehicle for teaching the important knowledge and skills students need to learn. The project contains and frames curriculum and instruction.

In contrast to ‘dessert projects’, PBL requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication. To answer a ‘Driving Question’ and create high-quality work, students need to do much more than remember information. They need to use higher-order thinking skills and learn to work as a team.

The table below shows main differences:

At Biddenham we start with short sharp controlled projects in year 7 and then offer the students more choice in their driving questions in year 8. Your experience will begin with a ‘Stunning Start’ which will see ICT, educational trips and independent learning as key features. Families and the wider community are very much part of the learning here at Biddenham, with families being encouraged to offer their expertise in topics we can explore together. Topics will end with a ‘Fabulous Finish’ which will celebrate the achievements and successes of the projects. These will be very carefully planned to ensure they are personalised to meet the needs of all children and will ensure students progress in a range of key skills linked to the requirements of the national curriculum. They achieve this through David Thornburg’s theories surrounding making progress through Project Based Learning, which is linked through to the themes and the unique way that our Key Stage 3 curriculum is delivered.

Connected curriculum

Click here to find out more about our connected curriculum

Learning Environments

Click here to find out more about the theory behind our new immersive curriculum layout


Please click here for the themes across year seven and eight