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Connect with a community of AP teachers who are bringing AP Project Based Learning to their classrooms by signing up for the 2021 AP Summer Institute PBL Series.

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In Project Based Learning (PBL), students build knowledge and skills through sustained investigation of complex, real-world problems. It’s often a shift from traditional methods of teaching and learning, so AP PBL resources include curriculum, instructional materials, and robust professional development supports that enable students to learn the required AP course content and skills through active engagement with five large projects that become the curriculum and pedagogical approach for these AP classrooms.

Get more scores of 3 or higher

Powerful new research shows that this approach can significantly improve student performance on the 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.

What’s new in 2021

In Summer 2021, we are providing two separate offerings to support project based learning in your classrooms:

  • Project Based Learning for AP Environmental Science
  • Project Based Learning for AP U.S. Government and Politics

This series is appropriate for new AP teachers committed to using this project based curriculum for their AP course, and for experienced AP teachers interested in adopting this approach.

Bring PBL to the classroom

The AP Project Based Learning Series helps teachers adopt a project based instructional approach that anchors their AP course into five sustained projects, which collectively address all the content and skills required for college credit.

Workshops in the AP Project Based Learning Series are designed and delivered by PBLWorks, the premier organization in PBL teaching methodology, and will help teachers:

  • Understand how to teach the AP course through the 5 projects that comprise this project based instructional approach.
  • See how these projects help students achieve all the learning objectives in the AP course and exam description.
  • Learn how to adapt these 5 projects to your students’ needs and implement them throughout the year.

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 registration fee includes:

  • 4 days of online 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.

Register for PBL


Frequently Asked Questions


The AP Program supports teachers’ choice in selecting the professional learning experience best suited for them. Both trainings offer in-depth exploration of the core document for the course, 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 focuses on implementing this project-based curriculum. This series is available for two AP subjects: Environmental Science or 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 will have explored these AP resources in depth: Unit Guides, Topic Questions, Personal Progress Checks, the AP Question Bank, Instructional Planning Reports, Syllabus Development Guides, Sample Syllabi, and the AP Community.

The sessions will each be conducted on multiple dates, giving teachers considerable flexibility to choose a date that is optimal. However, if you know that you will not be able to participate in such follow-up sessions, you should not 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.


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 schools’ requirements for class size may vary.


While the curriculum for this series was designed for a year-long 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, please note whether your course is on a yearlong or semester schedule and we will make sure that the program is tailored to your needs.

This program addresses the core document for the AP Course, the AP course and exam description, and how to achieve its learning objectives through a curriculum comprising five extensive projects. Prior to attending your session, please 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.

The program includes four sustained support sessions that you will need to attend during the school year. It’s important that your administrator is aware of these sessions and supports your attendance. 

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.

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.

The application for a fee waiver for the 2022 AP Project Based Learning Series will be available in early 2022.

The program is ideal for teachers who are new to PBL, as well as experienced PBL teachers. In the Summer Institute, you will learn about the elements of Gold Standard Project Based Learning. You will continue to build on your understanding of PBL through the publicly available curriculum itself, as well as in the follow-up sessions during the school year. This curriculum can be found here.