How to create CBL lesson plans

Before diving deeper into CBL, some thinking about planning and preparation is necessary!

CBL is unique in that most of what is considered “teacher work“ in traditional settings (e.g. determining learning goals, writing curriculum, researching content, aligning standards, and developing assessments) is completed with the students during the Challenge experience. Success with CBL necessitates providing structure, support, checkpoints and the right tools to get work done, while still allowing space for self-directed, creative, and inspired learning!

In CBL, schools, teachers, and students have different roles than in more traditional approaches to teaching and learning:

Schools: evolve from being information repositories to creative environments where all Learners can acquire real-world knowledge, address real-world Challenges, and develop skills they can use to solve complex problems for the rest of their lives.

Teachers: become more than information experts, they become collaborators/co-learners in learning, who leverage the power of students, seek new knowledge along side students, and model positive habits of mind and new ways of thinking and learning. The role of the teacher in CBL is to find the Solutions with the students, not for them.

Students: focus on each discrete part of the CBL process (but as the “senior Learner”, you will help them identify the learning goals and curriculum standards, create plans and manage their time). Over time, the students will take on more and more responsibility and ownership over the learning process.

What to have in focus:

(a) Survey of Big Ideas: Individuals or teams identify and research Big Ideas and develop reports or presentations.

(b) Challenge Proposal:  Teams produce a document, video or presentation that defines the Big Idea, the Essential Question, the Challenge and why the Challenge is significant. The proposal is presented as a compelling invitation to others to join them in a quest to understand and identify Solutions.

(c) Guiding Questions: Once the Challenge is determined, Learners generate sets of questions that will guide the search for a Solution. The sets of questions should be

extensive, categorized and prioritized.

(d) Learning Plans and Timeline: A comprehensive plan to answer the Guiding Questions will ensure a thorough and organized learning experience as the Learners develop the foundation for a Solution. The Learners can also demonstrate an understanding of applicable standards through reports or presentations.

What to have in focus:

(e) Research Reports: During the Investigation phase, Learners can develop research or position papers to demonstrate their knowledge of the content. These can be traditional laboratory reports, research papers and short policy briefs.

(f) Solution Proposals/Design Briefs: Using the research reports, the Learners create presentations proposing a solution that include prototypes, concepts and initial feedback from focus groups and outside experts.

(g) Implementation and Evaluation Plans: The development of the Solution leads to an implementation and evaluation plan. The plan includes an in-depth description of the Solution, strategies, the stakeholders, and how success will be measured.

(h) Evaluation Results: The Learners develop reports from data gathered during the Implementation. If time allows, the Learners can develop plans for Solution improvement based on the results of the evaluation.

What to have in focus:

(i) Final Presentations: After the Solutions have been Implemented and Evaluated, the Learners can report the entire story. This document or video includes information about the group, a statement of the Challenge, why the Challenge is significant in their particular context, what was learned, the Solution, implementation, and evaluation process, and whether it was a success.

(j) Journals: Throughout the experience, students document their personal and group experience through written or video journals. You will want to make sure that you can access the journals to track progress and include them as part of the evaluation process.

(k) Final Reflection Videos: At the conclusion of the experience, the Learners reflect on what they learned about the content, process, and overall experience. Providing a series of prompts will allow the Learners to organize and present their ideas in a concise manner.

(l) Portfolios: The products created throughout the project are excellent resources for the development of portfolios that provide evidence of learning and can evolve into presentation portfolios for external audiences.

You have to plan also the ASSESSMENT!

In CBL the process and product is measured with both conventional and real world assessment methods. The assessments should inform decision making as the Learners move towards a Solution and provide feedback on the effectiveness of their efforts and depth of their content knowledge.

In deciding how to assess the process and products, place appropriate emphasis on three areas:

content knowledge and understanding

mastery of real-world skills and

the process of Challenge Based Learning.

In the next slide you have an example of CBL assessment rubric from Challenge Based Learning organisation.

In more concrete words, here there are examples of:

Essential Questions connected to Big Ideas

  Big Idea: Community

  Essential Question: How do we build supportive communities?

  Big Idea: Relationships

  Essential Question: How can we improve relationships between groups   in our school?

  Big Idea: Big Idea: Health

  Essential Question: What is a healthy lifestyle?

In more concrete words, here there are examples of:

Challenges drawn from the Essential Questions connected to Big Ideas

  Big Idea: Community

  Essential Question: How do we build supportive communities?

  Challenge: Build a supportive community!

  Big Idea: Relationships

  Essential Question: How can we improve relationships between groups   in our school?

  Challenge: Improve relationships in our school!

  Big Idea: Health

  Essential Question: What is a healthy lifestyle?

  Challenge: Be healthy!

In more concrete words, here there are examples of:

Guiding Questions for the Health Challenge:

What does it mean to be healthy?

What is the biology of health?

What factors influence health?

What are the major health issues in the world, my community and my family?

What is the role of nutrition?

What is the role of exercise?

What is the role of genetics?

In more concrete words, here there are examples of:

Guiding Resources: online databases and journals, online courses, the school or public library, social networks, local experts or experts located anywhere in the world via the web.

Guiding activities: simulations, experiments, projects, problem sets, research, games, expert interviews, surveys, lectures, and textbook assignments.

Any resource or activity that helps uncover the knowledge needed to answer the Guiding Questions and to develop an innovative, insightful, and realistic Solution is valuable!

In the Health Challenge example, resources and activities might include interviews with physicians, research using online databases and participation in an online course about nutrition.

There is no ‘standard’ lesson plan template for CBL, so any form you might create would be useful and is accepted! It only has to serve your needs when planning / designing a CBL lesson with your pupils!

However, experts  (e.g. from Apples for Kids, Rise project of Challenge Institute) provides canvas and templates that any teacher can use or adapt for CBL lessons! They are presented in the next slides!

Keeping organized and documenting your process is critical for successfully completing the Challenge experience. It is particularly important to have a place where you can see progress and make decisions. Making the learning process visible throughout the Challenge experience helps to develop collaboration and innovation.

In the previous slide it is a planner (diagram) from Appels for Kids.

The top half of the diagram outlines the CBL framework as it is. The only difference here is that there have been included some overlapping of the stages, as there are times when students need to move back and forward between them.

The bottom half outlines more explicitly teacher involvement in the process. The hope is that this diagram outlines to teachers the ongoing opportunities to gather evidence of learning, explicitly teach, work with small groups and gather assessments.

This diagram is a visual way to highlight to teachers and students the different stages of the process, how they relate to one another and their role within them.

You can use its  upper part as a starting point in creating a CBL lesson plan and the lower part to collect evidences after the implementation of your CBL lesson!

In the two previous slides you have another template for CBL planning and data collection. It is a planner from RISE project of Challenge Institute.

It allows you to organize your CBL lesson and then record the progress, while completing the Challenge with your pupils.

Next slides offers you the same template filled in, as a practical example on the Big Ideas of ‘Health’ (that we presented before)…