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ERIC Number: EJ883122
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 71
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8326
Doing the Project and Learning the Content: Designing Project-Based Science Curricula for Meaningful Understanding
Kanter, David E.
Science Education, v94 n3 p525-551 May 2010
Project-based science curricula can improve students' usable or meaningful understanding of the science content underlying a project. However, such curricula designed around "performances" wherein students design or make something do not always do this. We researched ways to design performance project-based science curricula (pPBSc) to better support the meaningful understanding of science content. Using existing curriculum design frameworks, we identified the learner's need to "create the demand" for the science content, anticipating how to use it in the performance, and to "apply" the science content, both being necessary to ensure meaningful understanding. Designing the pPBSc "I, Bio" we discovered how these guiding principles manifested as curriculum design challenges. We generalized from the design of "I, Bio" and related literature design approaches for addressing each challenge. Finally, we measured the extent to which a pPBSc incorporating these design approaches developed meaningful understanding. 652 middle grades students using "I, Bio" completed pre- and posttests on the science content behind the "I, Bio" performance. Our findings provide preliminary evidence that a pPBSc that incorporates these design approaches is consistent with gains in meaningful understanding. We discuss how the results of this work can be used to improve systematic experiments on instructional supports. (Contains 3 figures and 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A