DIY Project Based Learning for Math and Science  book cover
1st Edition

DIY Project Based Learning for Math and Science

ISBN 9781138891609
Published February 19, 2016 by Routledge
156 Pages

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Book Description

Are you interested in using Project Based Learning to revamp your lessons, but aren’t sure how to get started? In DIY Project Based Learning for Math and Science, award-winning teacher and Edutopia blogger Heather Wolpert-Gawron makes it fun and easy! Project Based Learning encourages students and teachers alike to abandon their dusty textbooks, and instead embrace a form of curriculum design focused on student engagement, innovation, and creative problem-solving. A leading name in this field, Heather Wolpert-Gawron shares some of her most popular units for Math and Science in this exciting new collection. This book is an essential resource for teachers looking to:

  • Create their own project-based learning units.
  • Engage student in their education by grounding lessons in real-world problems and encouraging them to develop creative solutions.
  • Incorporate role-playing into everyday learning.
  • Develop real-world lessons to get students to understand the life-long relevance of what they are learning.
  • Assess multiple skills and subject areas in an integrated way.
  • Collaborate with teachers across subject areas.
  • Test authentic skills and set authentic goals for their students to grow as individuals.

Part I of the book features five full units, complete with student samples, targeted rubrics, a checklist to keep students on track, and even "Homework Hints." Part II is a mix-and-match section of tools you can use to create your own PBL-aligned lessons. The tools are available as eResources on our website,, so you can print and use them in your classroom immediately.

Table of Contents


Meet the Author

Foreword by Suzie Boss


Project Based Learning, the Common Core, and the 4Cs

Experts Weigh In

A Teacher’s Maker Movement

How to Create Your Own PBL UNIT Focusing on Math or Science

How This Book is Different Than Other PBL Books

PART I: PBL Lessons

THE GENIUS UNIT: A unit based on informational reading and scientific lab reports



Step-by-Step Lessons

Tip on How to Assess Writing Quickly #1

Student Exemplars

INVENTION UNIT: A unit based on inventing solutions to common, everyday problems using persuasive pitch writing, crowdsourcing, 3D printing, and digital commercial production



Step-by-Step Lessons

Tip on How to Assess Writing Quickly #2

Student Exemplars

GALAPAGOS UNIT – A unit committed to funding a mission to save the endangered and unique species of the Galapagos Islands based on student research, role-playing, writing an executive summary of recommendations, and an oral pitch to the "board" of a major institute.



Step-by-Step Lessons

Tip on How to Assess Writing Quickly #3

Student Exemplars


THE THEME PARK UNIT: A unit based on the engineering of building a theme park focused on mathematical trial-and-error and various thematic reading genres



Step-by-Step Lessons

Tip on How to Assess Writing Quickly #4

Student Exemplars


THE TEACH THEM TO BE TEACHERS UNIT: A unit based on the highest level of communication of all…the ability to teach



Step-by-Step Lessons

Tip on How to Assess Writing Quickly #5

Student Exemplars

PART II – Mix and Match Lessons

Cornell Notes

QRF (Question-Response Format)

Norms for Video Conferencing

How to Conduct an Interview

Writing with Numeracy Lesson

The Problem Statement

Collaboration Constitution Assignment

Tips on How to Reach Consensus

Oral Presentation Rubric

Understanding Infographics Lesson

Break-Even Analysis

How to Comment on a Blog

Cover Letter Outline

Executive Summary Outline

Oral Conference Feedback Sheet

Google Advanced Search

Six Steps of Being an Internet Detective

Internet Literacy: Verifying the Evidence Lesson

Developing a Student-Created Assessment

Oral Presentation Timing Sheet

How to Annotate Text

Tips for Choosing a Book

Visual Presentation (PowerPoint) Guidelines

Norms for Backchanneling and Using Twitter

View More



Heather Wolpert-Gawron is an award-winning middle school teacher and a popular blogger through and She is also author of DIY Project Based Learning in ELA and History, as well as two other books with Routledge Eye On Education.


"With her DIY Project Based Learning books, Heather opens up her extensive toolkit and invites fellow teachers to take a look—and borrow liberally. It’s a generous move by a teacher who has worked hard to develop her own, deep understanding of PBL and to design projects that resonate with students." --From the Foreword by Suzie Boss, Education Consultant and National Faculty Member for the Buck Institute for Education, Portland, Oregon

"This book is worth your time. Heather Wolpert-Gawron’s conversational writing style and step-by-step guidance take you on a magical journey, energize you, and fill your head with new possibilities. These innovative teaching units, mix-and-match lessons, and ready-to-use tools provide a rich array of material to bring your classroom to life. Heather is a truly talented curriculum designer with a gift for inspiring and connecting with her readers." --Anne Jolly, PLC Consultant with Learning Forward and author of STEM by Design (Routledge, 2016)

"Heather Wolpert-Gawron is that rare teacher that will go to any length to bring a subject to life. I know so, because as a quantum physicist at Caltech, I am invited to her classroom every year to help her students create powerful superhero origin stories that incorporate real science into their chosen superpowers. In this book, you will find Heather's philosophy on teaching math and science effectively, as well as fully developed lessons from which any teacher can draw to create their own Project Based Learning modules. Perhaps, most importantly, teachers will find here the inspiration and tools they need to unlock their very own superpowers, the ones that make students say years later, 'I had this one math teacher that made me fall in love with math.'" --Spyridon Michalakis, Research Scientist and Manager of Outreach, Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, California Institute of Technology

"...this text would be beneficial for a teacher looking for alternate ways to assess their students in a meaningful way. I would also recommend this book to preservice teachers as it encompasses the NCTM Process Standards that are addressed in some state curricula." -- Katelyn Devine,Virginia Beach City Public Schools