In Project Based Learning (PBL), students build knowledge and skills through sustained investigation of complex, real-world problems. Since it’s often a shift from traditional methods of teaching and PBL resources include curriculum, instructional materials, and robust professional learning supports that enable students to acquire and apply AP course content and skills through active engagement in project work.
Get More Scores of 3 or Higher
Powerful research shows that this approach can significantly improve student performance on AP Exams. A randomized controlled trial that compared AP Exam performance of students whose teachers used PBL curriculum and professional learning to a control group showed that PBL students achieved higher results on AP Exams. Read the detailed summary of these findings (Project Based Learning Boosts Student Achievement in AP Courses; High-Quality Professional Learning for Project-Based Learning) from Lucas Education Research, a division of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Bring PBL to Your Classroom
The AP Project Based Learning Series supports teachers in the adoption and implementation of a project based instructional approach that anchors their AP course in projects that collectively encompass the scope of content and skills outlined in the AP course framework.
Workshops in the AP Project Based Learning Series are designed and delivered by PBLWorks, the premier organization in PBL teaching methodology. They’ll help teachers:
Understand and plan how to teach their AP course through the implementation of projects in the AP PBL Learning Series.
Identify how the projects help students develop the knowledge and skills outlined in the AP course and exam description.
Modify and adapt the 5 projects for successful implementation in their classrooms throughout the school year.
This series is appropriate for AP Teachers who are:
- Committed to using this project based curriculum and approach for their AP course.
- Familiar with the AP Course and Exam Description.
What’s Included in the AP Project Based Learning Series
Like other research-based workshops that are shown to have a positive effect on student performance, the AP Project Based Learning Series requires a more sustained commitment to professional learning than participation in a standard AP Summer Institute.
The $799 online or $1299 in-person registration fee includes:
- 4 days of online or in-person professional learning during the AP Summer Institute (30 hours), including access to curriculum, unit plans, and ready-made projects for your students.
- 4 online sustained support sessions during the school year (timed with the expected completion dates of each project). Teachers will be able to choose from several different dates and times for each of these job-embedded sessions.
Accordingly, participants receive more continuing education units (CEUs) than participants who attend a standard AP Summer Institute.
What’s the difference between a regular AP Summer Institute and the AP Project Based Learning Series?
The AP Program supports a teacher’s choice in selecting the professional learning experience best suited for them. Both professional learning opportunities offer in-depth exploration of the core document for the course, which is the AP course and exam description.
The AP Project Based Learning Series is a one-year highly interactive and ongoing professional development experience. This program includes a Summer Institute and follow-up workshops that focus on implementing this project based curriculum. This series is available for two AP subjects: Environmental Science and U.S. Government and Politics.
In contrast, traditional AP Summer Institutes are 30 or more hours of content-rich professional learning designed to strengthen how participants teach their AP courses. Participants leave with ready-to-use strategies and pedagogical tools shared by an experienced AP educator and explore these AP resources in depth: unit guides, topic questions, progress checks, the AP Question Bank, instructional planning reports, syllabus development guides, sample syllabi, and the AP Community.
How can I commit to the AP Project Based Learning series without yet knowing the dates for the four follow-up sessions during the academic year?
The sessions will each be conducted on multiple dates, giving teachers considerable flexibility to choose a date that’s optimal. However, if you know that you’ll not be able to participate in the follow-up sessions, you shouldn’t register for the AP Project Based Learning Series. Your attendance is required to receive all eligible CEUs, and the exam score improvements that resulted from implementation of this project based curriculum are inseparable from the participants’ attendance not just in a Summer Institute but also in the follow-up sessions. In fact, research on how to achieve improvements in student learning has consistently indicated that such sustained, job-embedded professional learning is essential. AP professional learning offerings are specifically designed so that participants receive the necessary contact hours to reap the benefits that offering was designed to provide.
What’s the average class size that you would recommend to implement AP Project Based Learning?
This program is designed for all teachers interested in PBL regardless of class size. During the study, the average class size was approximately 29 students. That said, we understand that each school’s requirements for class size may vary.
I teach AP U.S. Government and Politics or Environmental Science in a semester. Am I still eligible to participate in AP Project Based Learning?
Although the curriculum for this series was designed for a yearlong course, participants who teach in a semester may still engage in this program. The support will be modified for participants whose AP U.S. Government and Politics/Environmental Science course is in a semester. Upon registration, note whether your course is on a yearlong or semester schedule. We’ll make sure that the program is tailored to your needs.
I’m a new AP teacher. Will general information about AP be provided as part of the AP Project Based Learning program?
This program addresses the core document for your AP subject, which is the course and exam description, and how to achieve its learning objectives through a curriculum composed of five extensive projects. Prior to attending your session, make sure to complete your part of the AP Course Audit to learn about AP curricular requirements and access teacher resources that will be referenced during the program. Learn how to complete your AP Course Audit tasks.
What kind of administrative support will I need to implement AP Project Based Learning?
The program includes four sustained support sessions that you’ll need to attend during the school year. It’s important that your administrator is aware of these sessions and supports your attendance.
Will the AP Environmental Science curriculum include hands-on laboratory experiments?
Yes. The curriculum includes the required 25% of instructional time engaged in hands-on laboratory experiments and provides opportunities for students to record evidence of their scientific investigations. This is aligned with the AP Environmental Science college-level curricular requirements.
Are there AP Summer Institute scholarship opportunities available for this AP Project Based Learning Series?
Yes. Fee waivers are available for teachers at schools where at least 50% of the student population consists of underrepresented minority students (African American, Hispanic/Latino, and/or American Indian) and/or at least 50% of the student population qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch.
To apply, complete the 2023 AP Project Based Learning Series fee waiver application. The fee waiver application deadline is April 14, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
I’m new to project based learning. Will an introduction to PBL be provided as part of this program?
The program is ideal for both teachers who are new to PBL as well as experienced PBL teachers. In the Summer Institute, you’ll learn about the elements of Gold Standard Project Based Learning. You’ll continue to build on your understanding of PBL through the publicly available curriculum itself, as well as through the follow-up sessions during the school year. This curriculum can be found here.