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In this workshop, we will explore how teachers can design a Gold-Standard PBL unit, planning backward from core competencies, a powerful driving question, and a student product that is authentic to the students and taps into their funds of knowledge. Then we will show how student choice can be built into the unit and proficiencies can be measured in real time. Finally, students will share how the structure of the class facilitated their learning.

Session Learning Outcomes:

  1. Learn a framework for planning a Gold Standard PBL unit.
  2. Explore how competencies can be embedded in a PBL unit and how to structure instruction for personalization and student agency.
  3. Understand how the Empower learning management system can be used to facilitate PBL-PCBL teaching and learning.


  • JoAnn Groh, City Center for Collaborative Learning
  • Tadeo Pfister, Paulo Freire Freedom School
  • Two Students