What is PBL?
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a type of lesson that develops problem-solving strategies and content knowledge using open-ended, real-world tasks. Students are engaged in critical thinking as they work through a problem presented in a scenario. Students take on roles to solve the problem. There may or may not be one “right” answer to the problem as students approach the problem from different perspectives. However, the science content upon which the solution is based always has to be “right”. Students learn science content while working through the problem to a solution, and because they apply the content to a real-world problem, they understand it better and retain it longer.
Evidence suggests that PBL fosters more interest in the PBL topics and enhances both transfer of concepts to new problems and integration of science concepts into real-world issues.
- What would you do when you find out a good friend has a debilitating autoimmune disease? How could you help?
- Do flu shots really work? Do you really need to get a new one every year?
- Should people who may be infected with a deadly disease be quarantined? Who has the right to restrict a person’s freedoms?
- Can you use clues from patient cases to figure out how a disease is being spread? Can you stop the deadly outbreak?
- Is cancer infectious? Can you prevent cancer by getting a vaccine?
Pandem Disease Center modules deal with epidemiology and human infectious disease topics. Modules also cover the human body systems which are our primary protection against invading pathogens, address the importance of immunization and herd immunity, and consider the social, economic, and political issues that can influence an outbreak response and disease treatment.
Find the choices for problem-based learning modules in the upper menu display. Click on the titles to read an overview of the module, the scenario, and some guiding questions. Your teacher may have other instructions for your team. While the basic criteria may be defined, problem-based learning allows you to take the tasks in a variety of directions—you can take it as far as you want to go!
Each PBL module comes with support information to help you get started and a list of internet resources to point you in the right direction. Just find the resources in the left-side menus for each module and get started!