California Educator

April/May 2024

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Page 47 of 61

Challenge Based Learning High school and younger students can participate in hands-on, relevant projects that provide effective solutions to community problems and issues By Jodie Deinhammer C H A L L E N G E B A S E D L E A R N I N G (CBL) is a powerful ped- agogical approach to reengaging students in the classroom. CBL promotes active participation, critical thinking, prob- lem-solving skills and, more important, a sense of purpose among students. By engaging in hands-on, relevant tasks, students develop the necessary skills to thrive in a future where continuous learning is essential. The Challenge Based Learning Framework can be adapted to any subject or grade level and provides a structure in which students identify a problem, ask questions and con- duct research that leads to a proposed solution. Then, they put that solution into action to create change in their school or community. When students get to identify a problem, they 're more invested in the learning process and outcome. Come up with the big idea and essential question For a CBL project , you need a big idea that captures students' imagination and interest and addresses a real-world issue like the environment or inequity. In my anatomy and physiology classes, our big idea is always health and wellness. At the beginning of the year, I ask my students, "What are the health and wellness issues that impact our community and world?" Once they 've generated plenty of thoughts, they develop a "How can we…" question based on those issues. I have them share their questions in Padlet to promote discus- sion and use these questions throughout the year to develop challenges within our units of study. Investigate, implement and act The "investigate" stage of CBL encourages students to explore and learn more about the problem. The process supports research skills and promotes a good understand- ing of the challenge itself. For my classes, the investigation phase usually takes us one full class period for research and 46 Teaching & Learning

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