April 14, 2014

My First PBL Unit - Using Data in 8th Grade Math

Well, I'm embarking on a new journey. Read my first thoughts about PBL here.

I'm using the What Will They Think outline from the Buck Institute published at PBLU. While I'm tweaking a few things, the main project description is here if you want it.

DAY 1: The intro

I created a glog to organize all the pertinent information students might need. I'm using it like a project overview page would be used. It's here if you want to check it out. Here's an image if you don't want to click around.

First we watched the Coca-Cola video and talked about how companies do research before they launch new products. We also discussed the Taco Bell Doritos tacos and Jelly Belly flavors. I told them that they were going to be researching and launching a new product. We then brainstormed what they would need to know in order to accomplish this. I made a list on the board and then we created our driving question from that list. 3rd Hour came up with: How can we use research and data to find out what products people want?

From there, I put students into groups of 3 and they brainstormed product ideas and possible answer choices. We talked about needing clear and viable answer choices or our data would be unusable. As they finalized their ideas on a piece of blank paper, I gave these guidelines:

After they had their ideas down, they passed their paper one group clockwise. I set a two minute timer and groups critiqued and offered suggestions. I put up these guidelines for that part:

Once all the rotations were complete, we had about 7 minutes left of class. Each team had a different color to write their comments, this helped students clarify if they had questions later and also provided a bit of accountability; here were how the group papers ended up.

I told them to review the comments and suggestions from their classmates and also get ready to finalize next class. I gave these guidelines:

Next class period I foresee us creating our surveys and making some predictions. I'll report back after Wednesday!

UPDATE: Day 2 is here.
UPDATE: Day 3 is here.
UPDATE: Day 4 is here.


  1. So how do you incorporate project based learning and interactive notebooks? Do you make entries after you do the PBL and review the concept/standard/lesson you want them to take away? I would appreciate you helping out a new middle school teacher! Thanks!

  2. Thank you for your very detailed explanations! I was inspired by your blog post and have used this unit as my PBL.