Project Based Learning: What Is It?

Teachers give students a driving question that involves a problem or challenge that each student has to solve either by themselves, or with a partner.  PBL encourages real-world problem solving skills by challenging students with open-ended problems.  It’s a teaching method that teaches a student not what to think, but how to think.

LEGO Camp featuring LEGO WeDo robotics kits

Robotics classes at a Public Library are perfect opportunities for the PBL teaching method.  Students are required to work in groups and are given a robotics kit and a task to accomplish.  Robots provide a “natural hook” for students to become engaged and interested in their learning.  Robotics allows students to use analytical and critical thinking as well as logical reasoning. 

Project Based Learning and Robotics also use 21st Century Skills

  1. Communication and presentation skills
  2. Organization and time management skills
  3. Research and inquiry skills
  4. Self-assessment and reflection skills
  5. Group participation and leadership skills

Robotics develops an interest in math and science as well as provides a glimpse into future careers.  In this day and age it helps prepare students for a competitive workforce.  Providing free robotics classes at the public library is a way for librarians to provide a community service that can change someone’s future. 

You can also try PBL by checking out one of our STEM kits! We have kits on forensics, weather, fossils, and more! Check out a kit and use the educational resources provided to select the perfect challenge for your child to try! Give them a chance to work on their own or with a friend, and show them ways to figure out solutions without giving them an easy answer. Have fun!

-- Librarian Marla at the Arlington Public Library