Module 5

Project/Problem-Based Learning & Technology


I feel like I have a lot to learn about computer programming and circuit boards. I have not worked with either of the hardware mentioned in this module before. I have limited experience with computer programming. Previously at our school these topics and skills were only taught in IT and robotics classes. I would like to gain experience using these products and research ideas for ways to incorporate these skills into the everyday classroom. I think computer programming should be as embedded into the classroom as using graphing calculators or the Office suite of applications.  


PBL is a way of developing student skills while also teaching content. The basic idea is that through one over-arching problem or project, students will be picking up all the necessary content pieces as they create their end project or solve the problem. Before starting this unit, I have the assumption that PBL is different than problem-based learning in that PBL the students create a physical item or representation where the other involves discussion of solutions. I appreciate the inquiry model for student learning as I believe it increases student engagement and deepens understanding. I do not have any knowledge of Raspberry Pi or Arduinos and am looking forward to learning about them. 


I picked up a bunch of tips as we went through this module: 

  • Don’t be afraid to start small to build students’ confidence  

  • Search for ideas and support on the internet  

  • Promote student collaboration and social skills through teamwork  

  • Check in with admin to ensure a release of responsibility when trying new things 

In my classroom some changes that I would like to make: 

  • I would like my students to share more of what they are doing with other students and the larger community 

  • I would like to develop some extended unit or course-long projects that help develop learning rather than giving projects as just a culminating or initial activity 

  • I would like to incorporate themes into my unit and course planning to try and create continuity to students’ learning 

DI in Project-Based Learning


Inquiry-Based LEarning

Think of your classroom and how you would outline the inquiry process for students. 


I would explain that the process of inquiry is very similar to the scientific method, with a few key differences. Similarities between the two processes include asking questions, investigating, creating, and reflecting. I would explain that the inquiry process is driven by asking essential questions. I would make sure to start with small, guided projects so that students can build their confidence. We work also need to work on their research skills so that they are able to extract reliable information from online sources. 


The inquiry framework is a great tool to promote collaborating and social skills through teamwork. Similarly to the scientific method, it's important to only change one variable at a time to observe specific results. ​The inquiry framework can be modelled in many ways, a great one comes from Learn Alberta where they describe the following stages: planning, retrieving, processing, creating, sharing, evaluating, and constant reflection of the process throughout (Learn Alberta 2015). 

Student Voice & Choice

How I offer student voice and choice in my classroom: 

  • “Getting to Know Me” survey for grade 8 students allows me to get to know the people in my classroom

  • Options for creative outlets for projects, some students are very passionate about one method or another for completing projects

  • Students choose deadlines, I solved the vast majority of my late assignments and test anxiety by simply letting the students choose their own deadlines and give themselves extensions when necessary

  • Student input on inquiry questions can allow them to become more engaged and passionate about the topic

  • Student input on field trips: nothing worse than working all year to plan a field trip to Science World for the students to then tell me they are not really into dinosaurs or the human body and were most excited to play on the playground outside (true story for two whole classes of 15 year olds)

  • Conversations, whether with the whole class, small groups, or one on one, are a great way for me to hear what students are actually thinking, felling, and experiencing. Just knowing what's going on in their lives can really influence your teaching and their ability to learn.

  • My students set their own goals and choose their own work ethic grade because it allows them to have ownership over these tasks.


Changes I might make after reading: 

  • I might have my students share more of what they are doing with other students and the larger community 

  • I might develop some more chapter or semester long projects that span a long time rather than being a culminating or initial activity – try and create some continuity to their work 

Raspberry Pi or Arduino

Raspberry Pi and Arduinos are both inexpensive controller boards for electronics projects. 


The Raspberry Pi is a single board computer that can be programmed to run video capture, camera, complex math calculations, and graphic interfaces with ease. Its strength comes from applications that require a high demand for processing data. The Arduino is a simple and bare bones controller that can be programmed to run motor, character LCDs, and sensors with ease. Its strength comes from its simple design and ability to control devices. 

Mod 5 chart.JPG

Capstone Introduction


  • This capstone project will provide opportunities for you to make an impact outside of the walls of our classroom

  • Your engagement in the capstone project process will allow you to make a difference in our community, globally, or even in your own life

  • The key to a successful capstone project is to focus on depth, not breadth

  • If you challenge yourself to make personal, meaningful choices about your project topic, you will find it a more rewarding experience


  • What were some of your favourite lessons or activities from this course?

  • Which topics would you have enjoyed spending more time learning about?

  • What were some topics we did not study in class that you are curious to learn more about?


  • Choose a topic to explore (include two or more subject areas)

  • Choose a partner who shares your interest

  • Do background research

  • Specify requirements

  • Brainstorm challenges or problems

  • Develop and prototype solutions

  • Test solutions and make changes

  • Share results with the community


  • What tools and materials will you need?

  • What information do you need to research?

  • Who would you like to interview for authentic insight?


  • Identify challenges or problems

  • Estimate how long each of the following sections will take

  • Develop and prototype solutions

  • Evaluate solutions

  • Share your results


  • Which subject areas did your project align with? List the curricular competencies you developed during this project.

  • Provide examples of your development of the following core competencies

  • Creative and Critical Thinking

  • Communication and Collaboration

  • Personal and Social Competencies

  • If you had more time for this project, what would you want to explore further?

Module 5 Summary

In this module we explored many topics including the differences between projects and project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, student choice/voice/collaboration, and the differences between Raspberry Pi and Arduinos. 


Projects and project-based learning (PBL) are very similar in that students are taught the content, or prior learning is reinforced, of a course through a hands-on activity. The essential elements of project-based learning are what set it apart from a simple classroom project. PBL involves solving real-world problems, creating a product or presentation, and most importantly sharing with a real audience (outside of the classroom). Often class projects are quick, used as a summative assessment, and are designed as an extension of regular practice. PBL encourages projects to be completed over an extended period of time so that deeper learning can occur. PBL is often used to teach new content and concepts instead of direct instruction; allowing learning to occur naturally through the process. 


Inquiry-based learning involves asking questions, investigating, creating, and reflecting. It is a great way to increase student engagement and deepen learning. The inquiry process is very similar to the scientific method. In fact, some have applied the wheel or spiral of inquiry to the scientific method to create the stages of scientific inquiry, a process which more accurately reflects how modern-day scientists carry out their investigations and research. I think the important distinction between the two processes is the constant reflection that is part of the process of inquiry. In the scientific method reflection is usually only considered as the analysis of the data after experimentation is complete. The inquiry process is also a great way to allow student choice and voice. Students are able to have some flexibility to tailor their investigation to their own personal interests. This increases student engagement which deepens learning over time. 


The Raspberry Pi is a single board computer that can be programmed to run video capture, camera, complex math calculations, and graphic interfaces with ease. Its strength comes from applications that require a high demand for processing data. The Arduino is a simple and bare bones controller that can be programmed to run motor, character LCDs, and sensors with ease. Its strength comes from its simple design and ability to control devices. 



AddOhms (2014). Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi — Which is Best? | AddOhms #7 [Video]. YouTube. 


Edutopia (2018). Projects and Project-Based Learning: What’s the Difference? Edutopia. 

Learn Alberta (2005) Inquiry Based-Learning. Learn Alberta. 

Miller, A. (2022, May 17) "6 Tips for Engaging Capstone Projects”. Edutopia.

Nancy McAleer (2015, June 21) Getting Started with Student Inquiry in Science [Video]. YouTube. 

PBL Works by the Buck Institute for Education (n.d.). What is PBL? PBL Works by the Buck Institute for


Robinson, W. (2004, June) The Inquiry Wheel, an Alternative to the Scientific Method. Chemical Education


Sahin, Alpaslan & Özsoy, Namik. (2015). STEM Students on the Stage (SOS): Promoting Student Voice and

Choice in STEM Education Through an Interdisciplinary, Standards-focused, Project Based Learning Approach. Journal of STEM Education: Research and Innovation. 16. 24-33. 

Science Buddies (n.d.) What is the Engineering Design Process? Science Buddies.

Weyers, M (2016, February 18). Tools for Differentiating Instruction in PBL. Edutopia.