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Project Based Learning Science - Lesson Plans for PBL

Updated on February 12, 2017
EdTecher profile image

Heidi Reina, M.S., Ed, is an educational technology integrator and former teacher, reviewing free educational websites and apps.

National Science Bowl
National Science Bowl | Source

Detailed Examples for K-12 Teachers

Putting together a PBL science plan can be enormously time consuming without excellent models. So here are hundreds of free detailed plans for projects for elementary, middle and high school students. The plans are sorted by discipline - astronomy and space, chemistry, engineering and architecture, physics, technology, and earth, life sciences, physical sciences, and... well, "other" for no clear fit. Most of the ones I've listed provide project overviews, guiding questions, procedures and activities, work product descriptions, grading rubrics, and questions for reflection.

The first PBL project I planned many years ago was the creation of a butterfly habitat in the school garden by my 3rd graders. I think the planning took more time than the project, and I didn't have a lot of resources to help guide me. Since then, I've been an avid collector of PBL plans.

I found far more free PBL resources than I ever anticipated, and more than 300 free science-based PBL projects are listed below. Many of these projects would also be considered problem based learning projects.

Heads up!

Free registration is required to obtain project details at:

CASES Online - problem based learning projects

PBL Online


Astronomy & Space Science PBL
Astronomy & Space Science PBL | Source

Are you a PBL Beginner? - This book is tremendously helpful

Project Based Learning (PBL) Starter Kit: To-the-Point Advice, Tools and Tips for Your First Project in Middle or High School
Project Based Learning (PBL) Starter Kit: To-the-Point Advice, Tools and Tips for Your First Project in Middle or High School

This book was written by the editor at Buck institute for Education, the ground-breaking organization for helping schools implement project-based learning. If you're a middle or high school teacher just starting PBL, this book gives you the basics to helping you develop your units for success.

Chemistry Lab
Chemistry Lab | Source
Public School Students Work on Ecology Project
Public School Students Work on Ecology Project | Source
ChickTech High School Engineering Project
ChickTech High School Engineering Project | Source

Image of ChickTech High School Engineering Project by Todd Kulesza, under [Creative Commons 2.0] license, hosted on Flickr.

Life Sciences PBL
Life Sciences PBL

Image by U.S. Navy, Greg Vojtko [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Physical Sciences PBL projects
Physical Sciences PBL projects

Image by US Marine Corps (unknown photographer), [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Physics PBL projects
Physics PBL projects

Image of Student Demonstrates Hovercraft at Engineering Challenge by US Army Corp of Engineers, under [Creative Commons 2.0] license, hosted on Flickr.

Technology PBL projects
Technology PBL projects

Image of students using ground tracking system, by U.S. Navy, Greg Vojtko [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Use Industry-Sponsored Competitions to Incorporate PBL in Your Classroom

See the Science Buddies Overview of the Top Science Competitions. These competitions are a great source of project ideas.

Favorite PBL Sources Poll

Who do you think provides the best materials for STEM projects?

See results

Share your experience with Science-based PBL

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    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 16 months ago from USA

      I've found the best management tool is to get students excited about perspective projects. l have often looked for projects by scouring the local news for vexing problems, such as water or air quality, or mold problems in our own school. If the kids play a part in selecting the project, that goes a long way for creating buy in.

      Andrew Miller, an instructional coach at Shanghai American School writes an excellent blog post on the topic and I've used many of his ideas: Hope this helps.

    • profile image 16 months ago

      This is an amazing resource article. I would love to know more about your classroom management tips for PBL. How do you get the students to buy into the process without being a drill sargent?

    • macohkathrine profile image

      macohkathrine 3 years ago

      it will be helpful for the educators.

      Great work!

    • EmmaGraceEllis LM profile image

      EmmaGraceEllis LM 3 years ago


      my 4 primary school girls have developed amazingly well since PBL was introduced


    • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

      OUTFOXprevention1 4 years ago

      Great lesson ideas! We can use some of the ideas for our germ lessons.

    • EzLoanLookUp LM profile image

      EzLoanLookUp LM 4 years ago

      I totally agree with this model of teaching. Great lens!