Michigan State University has announced a five-year, $5 million grant from Lucas Education Research, a division of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, in support of efforts to bring the benefits of project-based learning to more classrooms across the country.
In project-based learning, students acquire knowledge and skills by investigating and responding to a complex question, problem, or challenge. The grant will fund an effort led by MSU's CREATE for STEM Institute to develop science materials for third- and fourth-graders that are relevant to students' lives and also improve their skills in math, reading, and writing. Led by Create for STEM director Joseph Krajcik, the initiative will build on research that shows how project-based learning can help teachers make stronger connections between two sets of education standards, the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards in language arts and mathematics, that are being implemented in most states.
"Educators are in agreement based on classroom experience that project-based learning keeps students engaged and promotes deeper understanding," said Kristin De Vivo, executive director of Lucas Education Research. "However, very little research currently exists to prove the benefits of PBL and also to help educators develop and implement this kind of leading-edge curriculum. This grant supports a team with exceptional credentials and ideas."
"We are pleased that Lucas Education Research shares our excitement about what project-based learning can do for our schools and our students," said Krajcik. "This grant makes it possible for us to design a curriculum that will bring science to life for young learners with thoughtful incorporation of literacy, mathematics and learning technologies to promote collaboration and agency."