Problem-based learning was created for medical students to learn to reason deductively. Professors noticed that medical students were learning the content and scoring high on assessments, but they couldn’t always apply their knowledge to real patients in actual situations. A professor named McMaster set out to solve this problem and began requiring his students to interact with fabricated patients. They would have access to interviews with the patients and the patient’s medical chart and medical records to help them draw conclusions about how to help these patients (Utecht, 2003). This process improved students’ problem solving skills and ability to reason deductively (Tillman, 2013).
Now, elementary and secondary schools are beginning to adapt McMaster’s concept into their own curriculum. In one classroom, a group of high school seniors was given a packet of patient files to search and were placed in the position of public health officials. The 22 pa...
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...many problems may take and should require students to focus more on the math involved than in finding the right answer (Emergentmath, 2011).
Collaboration is another significant skill PBL teaches, and problems should require students to work together to find a solution with each person bringing their own ideas and perspectives (Barrow, Howard, & Kelson 1993). Outside of school students will need to work well with others to solve problems and share information in their jobs, and PBL prepares future workers with these skills (Savey, 2006).
PBL problems are often used as a means to teach students different concepts within several subjects, but it can also be used at the end of a unit to show what students do and do not understand. Misconceptions come out quickly when students have to use what they know to accomplish a task (MacMath, Wallace, & Xiaohong, 2009).
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