Project Based Learning (PBL)

Project Based Learning (PBL) is an instructional methodology that empowers our middle school students to learn and apply knowledge and skills through hands-on, creative, and engaging real-world problem-solving experiences.  PBL provides opportunities for deeper learning while developing important life and career skills necessary for future learning and success!

Our teachers have been trained at the foremost prestigious training institutions such as The Buck Institute and are inspired by the creativity and ingenuity that this instructional approach provides. 

PBL works because...

It is Interdisciplinary

PBL is relevant and inherently exciting to students (and to our teachers) because it engages them in real-world problem solving. The projects our teachers design with students require inquiry, hypothesizing, solution building, product design and construction, and critical reflection and assessment.  Content knowledge and skills gained from core classes are applied and brought to life in this setting.  PBL also draws on the “soft skills” of education, such as leadership, teamwork, communication, and emotional intelligence.  In a technology- driven economy, these skills are recognized as critical indicators for success in next generation career building and a seamless and natural component of PBL. 

It is Rigorous

Project based learning requires the application of knowledge, skills, and analysis.  It requires much more than just recall or recognition. Unlike rote learning that assesses a single fact, PBL is complex and requires students to apply a full range of academic content in new contexts, synthesizing new information and creating new understanding.  This represents the highest level of critical thinking, and this is what makes Hebrew Academy graduates stand out.

It is Student-centered

middle school xstream lab.jpgIn PBL, the role of the teacher shifts from expert lecturer to facilitator. Students become resourceful and learn to work independently, while the teacher provides guidance and support as needed. Students are guided and encouraged to make their own decisions about how best to do their work and demonstrate their understanding. PBL thereby fosters independence and interdependence, ownership and teamwork, competency and a commitment to lifelong learning. 

Examples in our setting

Thanks to a generous multi-year grant from the Alevy Family Foundation, The Hebrew Academy of Orange County Middle School program has successfully provided interdisciplinary Project Based Learning for nearly a decade.  Our students learn all of the state mandated curriculum standards while engaged in hands-on, real world, creative problem solving.