We did it! Thank you for your support!
We are pleased to announce stretch goals!
3. $9,000 1 new BONUS project designed by Sam and Blair: Backers Choice!
Our backers can suggest ideas and vote on the academic disciplines for this awesome, custom bonus project!
2. $7500 1 new Harry Potter-Themed Project designed by Sam and Blair! REACHED!
Both of us may be Ravenclaw, but between us we have kids who are a Hufflepuff, a Gryffindor, a Slytherin, and a Ravenpuff (a Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff mix), and we've definitely taught every house! Beyond our fandom, we have awesome resources and activities that will build a project for all ages based on the books and films. You will love this project if you or your kids/students are interested in the magic of reality, the intersection of science and mystery, the interstitial arts, and Quidditch!
1. $6,000 e-poster of cover art and quotes from book! REACHED!
Based on the cover art of the book, we'll add some of our favorite quotes from the book and send all backers an e-poster that you can print and hang in your learning environment!
What does it mean to be well-educated, when facts are available at the touch of a button?
How can we come to a deeper understanding of our world amid the modern, massive stream of incoming information?
We need a paradigm shift for how we approach teaching and learning.
Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact makes the case for using project-based learning to do just that.
By focusing on how subjects and skills are best learned, project-based learning has the potential to revolutionize the role of education and community. It creates a partnership between educators and students, as they journey through the process of learning, presenting tangible outcomes for personal and social impact. There is a world-wide movement growing in support of using project-based learning to expand the possibilities of education, and we want you to be a part of it!
Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact covers everything from the inspirational “why” through the practical “how-to,” including eight pre-designed project examples, and student and teacher workbooks to assist in planning your projects from start to finish. This unique resource is accessible to all educators in every kind of learning environment. Every section of this book has been thoughtfully and thoroughly designed to empower you to begin using project-based learning right away.
Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact has everything educators in any setting need to get started with project-based learning! This book is written for a wide and inclusive audience. Regardless of whether you are a teacher in a public or private school, an educator at a museum or organization, a parent who home educates, or an administrator seeking to support your staff in changing the perspective and practice of education, we wrote this book for you.
From the book's Prologue:
"Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact proposes that project-based learning is a profound methodology to use with students in today’s age. The process of project-based learning leads to a modern education connecting knowledge with the skills needed to apply that knowledge. This connection results in an increase in curiosity as kids are allowed to explore what intellectually intrigues them in a way that is holistic and personal. Project-based learning by its very nature is more student-led than seen in most traditional settings. This approach is open-ended and variable, encouraging innovation, highly individual outcomes, and a real partnership between students and their teachers. This has a profound impact on the learner’s relationship with the acquisition of knowledge and what they can do with that outside of an academic setting.
Project-based learning is a journey in which the educator is just as changed by the end as the student. In the following pages, you will find not just the why, but the how, for taking a new path toward academic integrity, personal growth, and social impact. We give concrete examples and creative ways of approaching topics that might just change the way you see lifelong learning. We also make a solid case for project-based learning as the best catalyst for obtaining the skills essential to a rapidly changing future. "
Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact is split into three distinct parts. Think of reading this book like taking on a project. A project begins with identifying a problem, question, or challenge. The educator, and sometimes student, then plans the project. This includes conducting any research into the history and resources available for that topic, as well as any knowledge or skills that may need to be frontloaded, or learned ahead of time, in order to be able to work on the project (Unit One). Then the educator and student collaboratively apply what they have planned and learned to explore and address the project’s problem, question, or challenge (Unit Two). Finally, the project concludes with documenting and presenting their findings (Unit Three).
Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact includes:
250+ pages, divided into 3 sections and an appendix, covering everything you need to use project-based learning with students in every environment.
- Unit 1: The why of project-based learning (PBL), including some educational philosophy and child development. This is an inspirational explanation of why every education should include PBL.
- Unit 2: The how of project-based learning: this is a step-by-step guide for how educators can develop their own projects for PBL.
- Unit 3: 8 projects planned for you varying in length and topic for a variety of age ranges that educators can use with students or as an example to help them plan their own projects. You can use these as planned by us or as starting points to create your own similar project. Alternatively, you can use them as guides when planning your own project.
- Appendix: Student and Educator Workbooks to use when developing a project and during a project.
Table of Contents:
We've got some great pledge tiers, and will be adding some fantastic stretch goals when we meet our goal!
Almost all of our pledge tiers include a copy of the book. Check out the attractive proof of our book cover!
One of our pledge tiers includes a handmade, limited edition linocut art print of the icons from the cover of the book. Each of the prints (measures approximately 18" x 18") will be made on high quality, cold pressed paper and be signed and numbered by the artist, co-author Samantha Matalone Cook. Each print comes ready to frame and hang, inspiring a holistic view of learning in any space!
Reviews! Don't just take our word for it- see what other educators have to say about the book.
"What a wonderful resource Samantha and Blair have created! I found the initial chapter to be a clear and compelling argument for project-based learning. Curious people, who want to know more about why they should adopt PBL are going to have all their questions answered right away so they can settle into implementing all the useful, detailed strategies and resources shared.
I also like how they highlight the teacher/guide/mentor role throughout the book. So often the adult in a PBL situation can feel lost because they feel like they aren't 'teaching.' This is a ubiquitous problem amongst first time PBL'ers and this book solves it right away."
Jade Rivera, Educator, Micro-School Builder, Gifted and 2E Specialist
"If ever there was a time to rethink how we approach teaching and learning it would be the present moment. Our already outdated pedagogical approach is predominantly one inherited from an industrial model of society. In this model students were prepared to repeat predictable and repetitive actions in an assembly-line-like fashion. Hence, consciously or not, our classrooms and our lesson plans emulated the factory floor. Students were expected to sit in neatly organized rows and columns while memorizing and repeating formulas, facts, and algorithms that had predictable outcomes.
We should no longer be preparing students to meet the demands of the assembly line. The future that we must now prepare students for is anything but predictable. Students must learn how to problem solve and apply their skills into situations and challenges that cannot be anticipated. This precisely what project-based learning prepares students to do. Project-based learning requires students to address compelling challenges by exploring their interests, applying their unique set of skills. Through it, they acquire new skills specific their learning needs and passions. In other words, project-based learning is precisely the antidote needed to replace an antiquated industrial model of education.
Understanding this much, I read Samantha Cook and Blair Lee’s book 'Project Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation and Impact' with great enthusiasm. For the past six years, I have taught at a Design Thinking magnet middle school in San Diego, California. There are many areas where Design Thinking and project-based learning intersect. So it is correct that Cook and Lee were in a sense preaching to the choir. However, this book will serve the needs of both the newcomer to project-based learning as well as an educator who may already be using this pedagogical approach. What it offers both of these types of readers is a solid overview describing how PBL is based in child development, neuroscience, and a solid pedagogical philosophy. I finished this part of my reading reinvigorated by the conviction that this is the learning framework that is best for my students.
The second half of the book is just as important as the first since it addresses... “how-to” use PBL in almost any context. Whenever I am learning for my profession, I am always seeking the takeaways that can be applied to my classroom. This is what a reader may take away from this half of the book. Cook and Lee give educators practical advice and an outline for a PBL unit while addressing common challenges and potential solutions. This half of the book will leave the reader feeling that creating a meaningful PBL learning experience is within the reach of any educator.
'Project Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation and Impact' ... deserves a permanent place on my shelf. I will share it with friends and colleagues who are seeking a new teaching approach or seeking inspiration on how or why to use to project-based learning to create a power learning experience for their students. It will surely be part of my summer reading as I prepare for a new school year and a reference I will return to throughout my career. "
David Ruiz, Teacher at Vista Innovation & Design Academy, VUSD
"As someone that works with people from all different socioeconomic classes in a variety of different fields, one thing stands out to me the most—if we don't level the playing field in youth education, our planet and related ecosystem may not survive. Our global education system needs to align with global demands and we can't discriminate which classes of people get certain education benefits. It's time for change. Project-based learning allows each youth to shine based on their innate skills. Samantha and Blair have done a great job of defining how education can change the trajectory of how humans evolve. We are looking forward to seeing their methodology come to life in the work we do for global youth education reform."
Somya R. Munjal, CPA,MBA, MAS; Founder of Youthful Savings and Managing Partner of CPA for the People LLP
"I appreciate that 'Project-Based Learning' recognizes that education is about providing the tools and experiences necessary to prepare our learners for the future. It also recognizes that our current future is uncertain and impacted by rapid social, technological, and ecological change that can’t be accurately predicted. While many contemporary educational texts wield these uncertain realities as a kind of fear-based weapon, PBL acknowledges them and then provides educators of all stripes with the confidence and optimism that—whatever the future holds—we can still give our learners what they need today.
Anyone could pick up 'Project-Based Learning' and leave with not only the inspiration to put the ideas into practice but also the specific, actionable tools to do so. The reader leaves the book with a step-by-step list for planning considerations, gathering resources, guiding students through the process, presenting work, and evaluating outcomes. Best of all, the authors have thoroughly considered the variety of contexts in which the lessons from the book might find themselves. Whether the reader is a homeschooler teaching a single student, a leader of a small group in a co-op or non-traditional school, a traditional classroom teacher in a public or private institution, or even an administrator of a large collection of classrooms, this book offers practical, meaningful ways to bring project-based learning to their specific educational environment.
One of the first things that struck me while reading this book was the discussion of project-based learning as a means of decolonization. By centering students’ own methods of inquiry and knowledge bases and not having a preconceived 'right' answer, project-based learning offers opportunities to break down institutionalized and colonized centers of educational power. This kind of thoughtful consideration of how project-based learning enhances and lives out meaningful teaching philosophy is represented throughout the book. The authors don’t just tell readers the how of enacting project-based learning; they explain the why. You’ll end the book knowing how project-based learning impacts individual learners, classroom power dynamics, teaching approaches, and—ultimately—conceptions of what learning is and should be."
Michelle Parrinello-Cason, PhD, Dayla Learning
The money raised for this project will be used to pay for
- The costs before the book goes to the printer: the layout, cover art, and editing
- Printing the books
- Shipping the books
- Fulfilling all pledge tiers
- Kickstarter and credit card fees
About the Authors
Although this is their first collaboration on a Kickstarter project, Sam & Blair have both funded individual projects.
Sam was the co-founder and Executive Director of Hacker Scouts (later Curiosity Hacked), which successfully funded the opening of a makerspace for children and families in Oakland, CA as well as the expansion of Hacker Scouts programming in communities and schools world-wide.
Blair authored the successfully funded book focused on the science explaining climate change & global warming.
It is no small feat to write a book that combines two distinct voices, but we accepted the challenge with devotion and clarity. Our belief in what education could look like when the focus is on what serves the learner best is a continuous thread throughout. Each of us brought our professional expertise and personal stories to this book, complimenting each other in some cases and combining into shared experience in others. What resulted is both an inspiring and practical guide to embracing project-based learning for every educator, every parent, and every organization ready for a transformative experience in education.
Blair Lee MS has over thirty years of experience as an educator. Blair has Bachelors in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution and in General Chemistry. She has a Masters in Environmental Chemistry. After graduation, she went to work teaching Human Heredity and Chemistry at Community Colleges in San Diego, California. It was then that Blair began thinking about how learning best happens and what education would look like if in an academically-rich setting there was a paradigm shift from teaching-focused environments to learning-focused ones. Blair works as a passionate advocate of innovative academics where the focus is on how subjects are best learned.
In 2006, Blair began working as a curriculum developer. She has written eight concept-rich, hands-on science courses comprised of eleven books. She is a primary author for the critically acclaimed R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Series and author of The Science of Climate Change: A Hands-On Course. In 2015, she founded the international organization Secular, Eclectic, Academics (SEA). SEA advocates for an innovative academically-rich journey through learning for students.
Currently, Blair has several writing projects she is working on. She also speaks about project-based learning, innovative academics, and how science is best learned. Blair works as a consultant to curriculum developers, public K-12 schools, and families. When she isn’t working, Blair loves to travel and hang out with friends.
Blair's other books
Max's Coat (2020) part of the National Science Teacher's Association eBooks+ series
Samantha Matalone Cook MAT has almost three decades of experience in education, program development, and the arts and is a dedicated mentor and lifelong learner. She has a BA in Humanities, with an emphasis in Medieval History and Archaeology, and a MAT from the George Washington Graduate School of Education and Human Development, specializing in Museum Education. As an educator, Samantha has worked with both small and large organizations to create educational programming that centers and connects the learner to concepts and skills. She has taught in classrooms and in private workshops, mentored other educators, and worked for and with many museums including the Smithsonian.
Samantha consistently writes about history and the humanities, feminism, mythology, human development and learning, and alternative education and educational reform for various publications. She is an active speaker and advocate, featured at many events including Maker Faire, HSC Conference, Mastermind Talks, East Bay Mini Maker Faire, The Global Education conference, AERO, SEA and more. Samantha is a founder and advisor of Mothership Hackermoms, an organization in Berkeley that gives new mothers creative support and provides child care. She is founder and former ED for Curiosity Hacked, a non-profit hackerspace for kids and families, where she built international learning communities and pushed the boundaries of what learner-centered, alternative STEAM education could look like.
Currently, Samantha is working on a consulting basis with both families and organizations, leading educator workshops, as well as continuing to experiment with learning through classes and workshops. She has been teaching dynamic, project-based classes on History and the Humanities for many years, and continues to expand how her favorite subject can be used as a catalyst for understanding, expression, and intersectionality. After the publication of this book, Samantha is writing Ancient History curriculum that combines research, language arts, geography and projects, which is the first of a four part series for Pandia Press’ History Odyssey. She also finds new adventures and manages mischief every day with her three kids in their mountain home.
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQs!
Risks and challenges
We are doing everything possible to ensure this book will be mailed to backers by August 31, 2019.
This is not our first Kickstarter project. Blair and Sam have both successfully funded projects individually. The project rewards for both projects were delivered on time to all backers.
All the content, except for a few of the planned projects, are already written. Those are being written now. The projects have all been done by Blair and Sam with students; it is a matter of putting all information on the correct format. The text is in the process of being peer reviewed now, which will be closely followed by a grammar edit. When that is done the book will be laid out, printed, and delivered to you.
We are confident there will be no delay between the funding of the project and the printing. We have worked with these printers in the past, and they are very reliable. The printers are aware of the timeline set for this project.
Our goal with this project is to provide information for educators about a profound learning methodology. We will do everything possible to make sure that the backers of this project will be shipped these books by August, 2019. We want to make sure you have it in time to use it so you can include project-based learning in the 2019/2020 school year.
If something were to go wrong, we promise to be forthright and available. If anything changes with this project, we will post an update immediately. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- (45 days)