Unpack My PBL/PBA: Reflect, Refline, Reinvent

Stir Up Some Creativity  Developed in cooperation with Deeper Learning Coaches, the UNPACK tool is a great resource to systematically PLAN a project as well!

Consider attributes when planning a project, then once the project is complete, return to the tool to reflect, and to bookend the Deeper Learning experience.​ For easy access, click the gold checkbox for the tool in checklist format.

When using the Unpack tool, either to debrief a completed Project or Assessment, or to plan new Deeper Learning, consider the following insights from experts:

Authenticity  When students know their experience will have a public component, they are encouraged to produce professional, high quality work for the world to consume. See 3 Tips for Planning Authentic PBL Projects

Challenging Problems  Whether it's called a driving question, an essential question, challenge, prime question, Wild Hog question, focus question or smart question, it is the driving force. The driving question can solve a problem, teach others, persuade an audience, tackle a big idea, analyze an issue to form and justify an opinion, make predictions, or take on a fictional role with a defined mission. As important as it is to get this question or statement correctly framed for your project, it is often difficult to formulate. But help is available through numerous resources including: Crafting Driving Questions, Writing Effective Driving Questions and Uncovering Amazing Content Through Inquiry

Parameters & Feasibility  Although Deeper Learning is usually associated with 'authenticity,' there is not universal agreement on what this means. It has been suggested that "there is a sliding scale of authenticity for projects, which goes from not authentic to somewhat authentic to fully authentic."

On one end of the scale, not authentic is described as having no public audience for students' work, no one actually uses what they create, and the work they do is not what people do in the real world. Somewhat authentic simulates what happens in the world outside of school. For example, students create products that, although they will not actually be used by people in the real world, they are the kinds of products people do use. And on the other end of the scale, fully authentic refers to those projects in which "students are doing work that is real to them, it is authentic to their lives, or the work has a direct impact on, or use in, the real world." For more detail on authenticity, see What Does it Take for a Project to be Authentic?

A member of the National Faculty at BIE suggests, "As you design a project, think about who might benefit from your students’ learning. Try to seek out strategic partnerships that could support your teaching goals and empower students to learn for an authentic purpose."  See 3 Tips for Planning Authentic PBL Projects

​​​Within the tool, designate the website to which you've published your work, or choose to publish it here, within the Deeper Learning Pavilion Repository. Feel free to upload additional materials to further showcase your PBLs & PBAs! You may include images, rubrics and examples of student work. Or provide additional student comments/reflections. All items will be accessible by clicking links beneath your Deeper Learning thumbnail, located on your District's dedicated page, always accessible under the Discover/Search tab.

The UnPack tool allows you to "unpack" your completed PBL & PBA experiences.  The tool is free to use! With it, achieve the following objectives:

  • Professional growth from planning, unpacking and reflecting
  • Share your successes with a professional learning network
  • Showcase significant work of students, as conducted within a Deeper Learning experience

Access the Unpack My PBL/PBA Tool below, complete the questions, then press DONE to submit your work! You have the ability to submit multiple projects, clicking on the link as many times as you have projects to share; however, at this time, each project must be completed during one browser session (historically, the unpacking process takes between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the nature of the Deeper Learning experience). Rest assured, we are looking into ways to allow you to save your responses and return later to edit/update before submitting final. Until then, we appreciate your patience. We will let you know as soon as that feature is available. 


Plan with the Unpacking tool

​​Resources on Deeper Learning

Newly Added:

​​​​You've completed the hard (and hopefully fun) work. Now it's time to look back on the experience and consider its ingredients. Access the UnPack tool to debrief the PBL /PBA experience; this is an excellent opportunity to share with a global audience the work students have done, and the results achieved!

R E F L E C T  /  U N P A C K