Project Based Learning in the Geometry Classroom

Learning, Online & Blended, PreK-12

What’s better than Project Based Learning (PBL) in a math classroom? PBL that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Curriki Geometry is a great example of a course designed to make it easy for teachers to incorporate authentic projects into their class curriculum while demanding high expectations for students and addressing the goals of the common core.

With over 375,000 members and over 53,000 resources for teachers, Curriki’s main website reaches an audience of educators across the globe – only 50% of members are from the United States. Since 2007, the website has offered teachers a global community to share materials and develop curriculum together. And now, as they continue to seek better ways to support the classroom teacher, Curriki has developed courses that weave these resources together into thoughtful, standards-based projects.

Created by teachers and PBL specialists, Curriki Geometry is a completely free course that provides teachers with the resources and support they need to incorporate PBL into their geometry classrooms.

The course follows a mixed model of PBL, which values the student work as well as the prescribed content. Curriki defines a mixed PBL model as including the following characteristics:

  1. Student products are expected to be of high quality.

  2. To ensure content, skills, and standards are taught, teachers are in control of the process.

  3. Students have varying degrees of freedom within the prescribed project.

  4. Students engage in peer review of projects, but evaluation is largely done by the teacher.

  5. Focus is less on transferring knowledge and more about learning real-world skills.

Each project is based around a specific driving questions and takes students on a unique journey through the geometry standards. The projects are presented in a sequence that represents a traditional geometry course; however, they are created as independent units that do not need to follow a specific order. Equipped with tools such as rubrics and instructional videos, teachers are encouraged to customize the course to meet the needs of their unique classrooms.

Located on the website, you will find the following six CCSS aligned projects:

Within each of these you will have access to both a Teacher Guide and a Student Guide. The Teacher Guide includes an introduction, teacher and student rubrics, project overview, pacing guide, reflection tools and even an appendix full of all sorts of helpful gems from Learning Logs to Rules for High Performance Collaboration – everything you would need for a successful project launch (and probably even more). In addition, you can always offer feedback and can count on seeing consistent improvements. Chief Academic Officer and Director of Product Development, Janet Pinto describes the course as “living curriculum, it will always be changing and improving.”

Curriki made the decision to initially focus on STEM coursework. Curriki Algebra was released first and Curriki Geometry launched on October 8th of this year. We look forward to hearing about what subject will be tackled next. “With the transition to the Common Core State Standards and its emphasis on Mathematical Practices and 21st Century Skills, schools are moving toward project-based teaching methods,” said Kim Jones, Curriki CEO. “We are incredibly excited to bring PBL to the mathematics classroom. We would also like to thank our sponsor, AT&T, for funding this important work.”

Megan Mead

Megan Mead

Megan Mead is a project manager and math contributor at Getting Smart. Follow her on Twitter @MegMarMe.