Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Peter Adamy

Abstract

Project-based learning (PBL), a form of learning that has its roots in medical schools, has been frequently studied at the secondary and undergraduate/graduate levels. Few studies of this learning approach have been conducted at the elementary level. This study addressed the question of what project-based learning looks like and how it is implemented in the elementary years, as it exists within the context of a whole school. A qualitative case study design was used for the study. A purposeful sample of K through 6 elementary staff was interviewed over a period of 8 months. Analysis of the data showed that teacher mastery of content; scaffolding to developmental levels; and flexibility in planning were key elements in implementing and managing the project process. A defined set of learning lenses and an agreed upon philosophy at the whole-school level also emerged as significant factors in implementing the PBL approach.

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