What is Problem-Based Learning?

Problem based learning opportunities allow students to learn about a subject by working in groups and solving an open-ended problem.

Every Mind Missions lesson is a problem based learning experience.

The following are some of the defining characteristics of PBL:

  • Learning is driven by challenging problems with no single “right” answer.·      
  • Students work as self-directed, active investigators and problem-solvers in small groups.
  • A key problem is identified and a solution is agreed upon and implemented.
  • Teachers adopt the role as facilitators of learning. They guide the learning process and promote an environment of discovery.

In a rapidly changing world with emerging challenges to overcome, we need problem solvers! Problem based learning engages students in the process of problem solving. Students learn how to think about the problem. These problems do not have obvious solutions. Instead, they are examples of the challenging problems faced in our world today.  In PBL, students learn to analyze the problem, seek information, and reach informed judgments. Then, they apply what they have learned in innovative solutions. Students develop abilities to think critically, creatively, and productively about a problem. They  nurture collaborative skills. Problem based learning opportunities help students to build essential 21st century competencies

What kinds of problems are found in Mind Missions?

Students building a solution in problem based learning

Problems found in Mind Missions vary as much as the complex world we live in! Students may be engineering a solution to a modern environmental hazard. Teams may be asked to create a newscast covering an essential moment in history. They may be designing a method for early settlers to communicate or travel. Students innovate a wide variety of solutions to address social studies challenges from yesterday and today.

Ready to get started teaching collaboration, critical-thinking, communication, & creative problem solving in your classroom?