In problem-based learning, students work either individually or in cooperative groups to solve challenging problems with real-world applications. The teacher poses the problem or question, assists when necessary, and monitors progress. Through problem-based activities, “students learn to think for themselves and show resourcefulness and creativity” (Charles and Senter 2012, 125). Martinez (2010, 149) cautions that when students engage in problem-solving, they must be allowed to make mistakes: “If teachers want to promote problem-solving, they need to create a classroom atmosphere that recognizes errors and uncertainties as inevitable accouterments of problem-solving.” Through class discussion and feedback, student errors become the basis of furthering understanding and learning (Ashlock 1998)

Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

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Classroom Application

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Ashlock, Robert B. 1998. Error Patterns in Computation. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Charles, C. M., and Gail W. Senter. 2012. Elementary Classroom Management. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Martinez, Michael E. 2010. Learning and Cognition: The Design of the Mind. Columbus, OH: Merrill.