Project-Based Learning Symposium Thursday, March 22, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the University of Mary’s new Lumen Vitae University Center allows pre-service teachers to share innovative, cutting-edge K through 12 teaching practices

BISMARCK, ND March 20, 2018— Each year, from now until the spring of 2020, 50 teachers: 25 pre-service teachers from the University of Mary and Dickinson State University and another 25 cooperating teachers in the Bismarck Public School System (BPS), are designing and implementing Project Based Learning as participants in an innovative project called Out of the Gate: Teacher Education Program-District Partnerships for High-Quality PBL.

Funded by the ECMC Foundation and led by the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), the Out of the Gate project explores and examines the use of PBL by Teacher Education Program (TEP) faculty to prepare preservice teachers to teach PBL “out of the gate,” so they enter K-12 public school districts ready to engage all students, including those furthest from opportunity, in meaningful deeper learning. Throughout this year, student teachers, cooperating teachers and faculty have been learning to design and implement high-quality PBL using BIE’s Gold Standard PBL Framework.

PBL has been around since the early 1900s, but only now is it really catching on inside the K through 12 classrooms. It’s the newest, hottest and most popular teaching method sweeping the country—because it’s proven to work with all type of learners of all different ages, including adults. “Learning by doing” is a turn of the 20th century approach to education that has become the essential element of PBL

Imagine a classroom environment where learning is student-centered with instruction occurring over an extended period: students select, plan, investigate and produce a product, presentation or performance that answers a real-world question or responds to an authentic challenge; while teachers serve as facilitators and co-learners, providing guidance and strategic instruction, as needed.

PBL exposes students to real-world problems that capture their interest and provoke serious thinking while acquiring and applying new knowledge in a problem–solving context. PBL creates opportunities for groups of students to investigate meaningful questions that require them to gather information and think critically.

Out of the Gate teachers will share their first year’s findings from this multi-collaborative initiative during a Project Based Learning Symposium on Thursday, March 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in the new Lumen Vitae University Center on the campus of the University of Mary. Not only will they learn from each other and share their experiences of engaging students through PBL, but it’s also an opportunity for media to understand what’s passing the test with these educators who are now just entering their careers on the front lines of K through 12 education.

Beyond academic outcomes in K through 12, some early research found that PBL reduced student math anxiety and is effective for teaching processes such as problem-solving and decision-making. According to Edutopia, the online content provider for The George Lucas Educational Foundation, outcomes for students taught via project-based learning versus traditional instruction, when implemented well, PBL increases long-term retention of content, helps students perform better than traditional learners in high-stakes tests, improves problem-solving and collaboration skills, and improves students’ attitudes towards learning.

However, many unanswered questions still remain about PBL and how it compares to traditional instruction in K through 12, some of which these educators hope to shed light on through their first-year experiences.

About Buck Institute for Education

Buck Institute for Education (BIE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping teachers to prepare students for successful lives by helping them to adopt Project Based Learning (PBL). BIE’s vision is for all students – no matter where they live or their background – to have access to high quality PBL so they deepen their learning and achieve success in college, career, and life.

In an effort to promote and support the use of high quality PBL, the BIE focuses efforts on building the capacity of teachers and school leaders. Through professional development and product development and dissemination, BIE builds the capacity of teachers to design and facilitate high quality PBL and the capacity of school and system leaders to set the conditions for teachers to implement great projects with all students. Learn more about BIE by visiting

About ECMC Foundation

Based in Los Angeles, ECMC Foundation’s mission is to inspire and facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes – especially among underserved populations – through evidence-based innovation. The Foundation makes investments in three focus areas: Teacher and Leader Development, College Success and Career Readiness. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and ECMC Group by visiting