What Does Project-Based Learning Look Like at the High School Level?

…where students develop ideas and understanding, pursue passions and dreams, and hold themselves and their colleagues accountable for shared and individual work. Understanding the world around them, our students see what is and what should be and tap into innovative thinking to make change a reality.

Bennett Day School is committed to
project-based learning (PBL) for all students.

Whether in school or in life, we all must problem-solve by applying our knowledge of a wide variety of subjects and skills to any given issue or challenge. A project-based learning environment not only emphasizes subject-based skills, but also gives learners the opportunity to sharpen their problem-solving skills by applying cross-curricular lessons and authentically engaging as citizens of the world.

A problem such as poverty, for example, may require a learner to understand the historical and sociological causes of poverty, as well as the mathematical and scientific knowledge to develop solutions. They may also need persuasive writing and oration skills to effectively convince others to help them address the problem. Perhaps a technological solution may require computer programming and product engineering knowledge.

Studies show that the endless cross-curricular possibilities of high-quality project-based learning encourage higher engagement, achievement, and retention of knowledge in students.

Bennett Day’s project-based learning is based on the Buck Institute for Education’s “High Quality PBL Framework.” The Buck Institute has been a leader in rigorous educational models for over 35 years. You can read all about the framework on their site, which is located here.

Bennett Day Upper School’s PBL Model:


The Bennett Day School year contains three trimesters of approximately twelve weeks each. During those trimesters, students typically participate in a long-term cross curricular project, at least one seminar (including laboratory seminars) and online course, and an internship/apprenticeship.

How does PBL fit into the Upper School schedule?


Learn more about what a student’s full day might look like here.

Curious about how other high schools have successfully implemented PBL? Check out High Tech High…

Watch the trailer for the documentary, Most Likely to Succeed, to learn a little more about High Tech High’s approach to project-based learning. Join us on 11/15 for our free screening and discussion!

MLTS preview

Most Likely to Succeed Screening & Discussion

Thursday, November 15 @6:30PM

AMC River East 21, 22 E. Illinois St

This feature-length documentary examines the history of education in the United States, revealing the growing shortcomings of conventional education methods in today’s innovative world. The film explores compelling new approaches, with a focus on High Tech High, that aim to revolutionize teaching as we know it, inspiring school communities to re-imagine what students and teachers are capable of doing.

To date, Most Likely To Succeed has screened for thousands of audiences around the world, igniting conversations and empowering change along the way.

Tickets are FREE!

Reserve Your Tickets Today!
Register For Our Open House