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Project-based Learning Vies For Time In Classrooms

Project-based learning, or, as it is sometimes called, inquiry-based learning, is the practice of allowing students to seek answers to a central question or solve a real-world problem through their own research, experiments and ideas. The approach usually culminates in a variety of work products, such as live or written presentations, science fair-like demonstrations or the construction or design of art, a machine or an invention.

Proponents say that when it is done right, project-based learning students can learn history, economics, science and math by working hands-on.

Project-based learning has been around for several decades, experts say, but it fell out of favor at many schools as mandated standardized tests became bigger influences in public schools. Critics say the tests now dominate what teachers teach and how much time they have to teach it, crowding out longer student projects.

Now proponents of new national and statewide Common Core standards say they will emphasize critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills, all qualities that project-based learning develops.