Middle School Courses
Learning Through Performance (6-8)
In an effort to accelerate and deepen student learning of Next Generation Science Standards, Stanford University and San Francisco Unified School District have collaborated to develop a suite of project-based science courses for sixth, seventh and eighth grade. The team at Stanford University includes researchers from Understanding Language - Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (UL-SCALE) and the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching. SRI International is also involved as a research partner to inform course design and to support implementation.
6th Grade Science
In the Learning through Performance (LTP) sixth grade PBL course, students explore the question: How do humans influence the world, and how does the world influence humans? Students have opportunities to ask questions, design investigations, and use evidence to understand how to apply core concepts like energy, climate, and body systems and heredity to address personally relevant and environmental challenges. The curriculum consists of five units: four project-based learning units with embedded performance assessments aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and an opening unit, Orientation to Groupwork, which teaches students how to work as a team.
High School Courses
Knowledge in Action (11-12)
The purpose of the Knowledge in Action Project is to investigate the project-based learning approach as applied to rigorous high school courses, promoting depth of learning while continuing to cover essential subject area content. The goal of these courses is to help students learn advanced content while engaging them deeply to see connections to their lives. The three Knowledge in Action courses, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Environmental Science, and AP Physics I were developed at the University of Washington's School of Education in a collaborative partnership between education researchers and high school teachers.
This is an active and engaging project-based approach to the standard AP U.S. Government and Politics course. The subject matter is the same as in a traditionally taught course, but it is organized in a different way. Students use a core set of ideas, concepts, and skills to analyze facts and as a result they gain an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. By applying concepts, students deepen their understanding and further develop their knowledge in a way that is widely referred to as deeper learning. The driving question for the course is, What is the proper role of government in a democracy?
This is an active and engaging project-based approach to the standard AP Environmental Science course. It builds active citizenship in students by emphasizing the tensions among environmental, social, and economic considerations when deciding how to act. As students move through each project, they answer project-specific driving questions directly connected to a master question. Students are given repeated opportunities to make decisions using the three lenses of sustainability listed above. The master question for the course is, How can we live more sustainably?
AP Physics I
This course builds students' problem-solving skills by providing opportunities to engage with the required AP Physics 1 content through scientific investigations and engineering design challenges. As students move through each project, they answer project-specific driving questions directly connected to a master question. Students are given repeated opportunities to make decisions about how to approach the challenge or problem in each project. The master question for the course is, How can we use physics to creatively solve problems and understand the world?
Compose Our World (9)
The Compose Our World curriculum was co-designed by a group of researchers and educators as a project-based learning approach to 9th grade English Language Arts. The year-long curriculum integrates social and emotional learning and Universal Design for Learning in projects that are engaging and accessible for all learners. This full-year course is highly adaptable to student interests and community concerns and aligns with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. Four core Projects that engage students in deep learning, reflection, empathy, and fun are organized around the question "How is our world composed for us, and how can we compose our world?" Throughout each Project students develop habits and routines for authentic making, collaboration, feedback/revision, reflection, and the social and emotional learning components of caring, advocacy, perspective taking, and empathy. Over time, students develop and refine products and performances for authentic audiences, and the projects build in complexity across the year. Students participating in this course with teacher support develop as readers, writers, and composers of media in today's world.