Athena Academy uses Project Based Learning to Make Difficult Concepts Accessible and Fun

Athena Academy uses Project Based Learning and Guiding Questions as one of our core teaching methods.

What is Project Based Learning(PBL)?

  • Project Based Learning or PBL, is a process for teaching and learning based on inquiry.
  • In PBL, students focus on a complex question or problem, then answer the question or solve the problem through a process of investigation, usually over an extended period of time.
  • The PBL process goes through a cycle of “Ask, Plan, Learn, Show, and Reflect.” During this cycle, students learn the content, information, and facts that are necessary to draw conclusions about the question. Students also learn valuable skills and habits of mind.

  • The skills students practice through projects include:
    • Creating and using models
    • Planning and carrying out investigations
    • Asking questions
    • Identifying and Defining problems
    • Collecting and using evidence
    • Creating and interpreting timelines
    • Comparing and contrasting information
    • Creating and interpreting maps
    • Locating and evaluating reliable sources of information
    • Using new content specific vocabulary
    • Effectively communicating understanding orally
    • Effectively communicating understanding through written work

Why do we use Project Based Learning?

Our project based approach allows students to investigate aspects of their world while building lifelong skills, such as evaluating informational sources, asking good questions, planning and carrying out a project and self-advocacy.

The difference between project based learning and the traditional method of learning is that PBL includes an open ended question and students learn the information through their attempts to answer the question. They learn by creating their project. In a traditional classroom the focus is more on content and memorization of facts delivered by the teacher.

Example Project at Athena Academy

The Project Based Learning approach engages learners in authentic problem solving. One question students have investigated at Athena Academy is, “Where is math in art?” In order to explore this question, students worked in groups to build a harmonograph, a mechanical apparatus that employs pendulums to draw an artistic geometric image. Through building the harmonograph and experimenting with the height ratios of the pendulums, students practiced a variety of mathematical concepts.

Athena Academy uses Project Based Learning
You can find out more about our program approach by visiting our Academics page.

Would you like to know more about PBL? Check out the PBL website.

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