The vision of Indian Community School is to provide a distinguished learning environment that imparts cultural identity and academic excellence for all students.  At ICS, project-based learning supports a cultural environment through learning that is focused on working together to solve problems, using individual gifts and talents to contribute to the learning community, and centered on the process, not the product, of learning. 

What is Project-Based Learning?  

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.  In PBL, learning is driven by the students and guided by the teacher.  PBL provides an opportunity for all students to engage in learning by using his/her strengths, gifts, and talents.  PBL is more than just doing a project at the end of a unit to show what they’ve learned.  Instead, PBL applies learning and skills with a focus on the learning process, not the product.    

Three students working on a STEM project, students working in the forest

What does Project-Based Learning look like?  

Project-Based Learning focuses on the learning process, which is essential to academic achievement, real-world application, and personal growth.  In PBL, students engage in critical content while increasing skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication.  PBL units start with a big, driving question that encourages students through a process of inquiry, research and design.  Throughout a PBL unit, students are at the center of the learning with opportunities to make choices and express their learning in their own voice.  A PBL unit provides time for revision, reflection, and feedback in order to improve knowledge, skills and the quality of the products students create.  Students present their learning to an authentic audience, beyond their classmates and teacher, in person or online.  This increases students’ motivation to do high-quality work and adds to the authenticity of their learning.

What is the impact of Project-Based Learning on students?  

Research confirms that students benefit from PBL through deeper learning of academic content.  By increasing engagement and motivation to learn, students become better at problem solving, communication, collaboration, environmental awareness, global perspectives, and cultural identity.  Research shows that students engaged in project-based learning have higher levels of self-efficacy and achievement on assessments.  PBL can help students be successful in today’s rapidly changing and complex world by developing a broader set of knowledge and skills.

Our job is not to prepare our students for something, our job is to help our students prepare themselves or anything.

A.J. Juliani  

Too often, we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.

Roger Lewin  

If you have questions about this information, please contact the Director of Instruction, Dr. Melissa Deutsch at 414-525-6100 or