Michigan State University

Backwards Design II: Planning Learning Experiences

Now that you have a clear idea of what students will do and why, you are ready to start sketching out the bread and butter of teaching: supporting students in their learning. If you know where students are headed, we are guessing that you will feel comfortable in finding ways to support them in that journey. That said, here are some questions to consider:

  • What should my entry event be? Is it realistic? Does it have a way of drawing students in and getting them excited about the project?
  • What local community members can be brought in to introduce the project, to share knowledge about the issue, and/or to provide feedback on the final product?
  • How long will this project take to complete?  How many lessons will each standard take to complete?
  • What direct instruction will students need in order to have substantive knowledge of the issue and the technical skills required to create the final product? How can this be delivered? Through whole-class instruction? Through targeted learning centers? Through mini-workshops?

Finally, then, write up an instructional flow chart that maps out the learning experiences students will have over the course of their PBL experience.

Now it is time to pull it all together.

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