Advanced Placement PBL Series
Through the program, teachers will learn how to implement the KIA AP curriculum in their subject area by using the Project Based Learning teaching methodology. The program includes a four-day summer intensive and four follow-up sessions during the academic year. This program is offered as a part of the College Board's AP Summer Institutes.
In 2023, PBLWorks is once again partnering with College Board to offer both in-person and online Summer Institutes for both subject areas (Environmental Science and Government and Politics)!
Cost: $1299 for the in-person Summer Institute. $799 for the online Summer Institute.
Register now for Summer 2023!
Focus on your specific subject area.
The Advanced Placement PBL Series is available in two subject areas. Each of these AP subject areas were the focus of a recent research study on the impact of PBL in AP.
AP Environmental Science – AP PBL Series
For teachers of AP Environmental Science in the 2023-24 school year
AP U.S. Government and Politics – AP PBL Series
For teachers of AP U.S. Government and Politics in the 2023-24 school year
During registration, you will select the series in your specific subject area.
- Summer Institute: 4 consecutive days (30 hours total)
- Support Sessions: 4 online sessions during school year (3 hours each)
- Instruction: Summer Institutes may be online or on-site depending on host preference
- Class size: Up to 35 participants
- Resources: Access to the Project Library and 12 self-paced modules
- CEUs: Available from College Board (see details below)
Is it for you?
This series is specifically for teachers of AP Environmental Science and AP Government & Politics in the 2023-24 school year.
It's ideal for both teachers who are new to PBL, as well as more experienced PBL teachers.
Join a community of teachers who share your subject matter expertise, as well as a curiosity about Project Based Learning.
Your experience will focus on implementing the KIA curriculum in either AP Environmental Science or AP Government & Politics.
As a result of this one-year program, you will use your knowledge to:
- Implement the Knowledge In Action AP curriculum in your classroom.
- Adapt the curriculum to fit the context of your students.
Workshops will be specific to the subject area you sign up for during registration. AP Environmental Science curriculum will be the focus of one workshop; a separate workshop will dive into AP US Government and Politics. Beyond the subject-specific AP Course Curriculum, the workshop outline and offering is similar and so is combined below.
Day 1: PBL Essential Elements and Adaptations
Develop "need to know" questions regarding our driving question for the Summer Institute. Identify College Board standards and PBL design elements in the first project of the year by analyzing an existing unit plan. Define adaptation within the KIA curriculum, and compare an adapted lesson to the original.
Day 2: Managing and Assessing Projects
Identify where content standards are “spiraled” through the year, and develop a concept map for content and assessment in project one that reflects this spiraling. Identify key management strategies for PBL (norms, group work, contracts) and develop my own strategies to build a PBL culture in my classroom.
Day 3: Collective Wisdom
Use my knowledge of management strategies, spiraling, and Sprocket (the KIA curriculum platform) to calendar my first weeks of instruction. Suggest best practices for teaching by sharing my own “toolkit” of instruction in a collective wisdom sharing protocol, and identify where those strategies can be implemented in the project calendar.
Day 4: Product Analysis and Adaptations
Evaluate sample student work of the first project against standards through a product analysis, and identify assessment moments on my calendar. Give and receive feedback from colleagues regarding my adaptations through a tuning protocol.
Four follow-up sessions will be scheduled over the course of the 2023-24 academic year. These sessions will provide support and learning opportunities before the beginning of each Environmental Science project.
In these follow-up sessions, you will:
- Reflect on prior KIA project work to identify needs for future project implementation.
- Review and adapt the upcoming project to best serve your students.
- Continue learning to refine your PBL practice within the context of the KIA AP Environmental Science or AP US Government and Politics curriculum.
Who are the workshop facilitators?
Your course will be facilitated by one of our AP PBL Facilitators—a hand-picked group of seasoned AP teachers, experienced with PBL and the Knowledge in Action curriculum.
Each workshop will be led by a facilitator with expertise in the respective subject area (AP U.S. Government and Politics; or AP Environmental Science).
Is this a part of the College Board's AP Summer Institutes?
Yes, the AP PBL Series is offered as a part of the College Board's AP Summer Institutes.
The College Board has partnered with PBLWorks to design and deliver the summer workshop and follow-up support sessions.
How do I register? What are the dates?
There are two ways to register for one of the AP PBL Series in Summer 2023.
Registration is available through the College Board's Summer Institutes calendar. Sessions run from June 5 - August 10, 2023. See dates & register via College Board
Or you can register for this session at PBL World on June 26–29, 2023. As a participant at PBL World, you will also have access to the conference's keynotes and special events. Learn more & save the date for PBL World
How do I prepare? What are the tech requirements?
Great question! Here's how to prepare for the Summer Institute.
- Complete the pre-work that your facilitator will share approximately one week before the workshop via email.
- Be sure you can access the AP U.S. Government and Politics or AP Environmental Science content standards (dependent on the subject area you are teaching).
- Have a journal or something to write on.
- Find a location that’s quiet and comfortable from which to participate. Plan to be at your computer for about 7 hours each day – with plenty of time for breaks and an additional 1 hour for lunch.
- Review the technical requirements, and make sure you’re ready to go.
And here are the tech requirements for the workshops and support sessions.
- Desktop, laptop, Chromebook, or Surface PRO 4 or newer are ideal. (We do not recommend iOS or Android tablets)
- Speakers (either external or internal) or headphones/earbuds
- Webcam (either external or internal)
- An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless
- 3Mbps/3Mbps (upload/download) – Not sure? Check here.
- Mac OS 10.10 or newer, Windows 10 or newer, and Chrome OS Browsers
- Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge are recommended.
- Zoom Video Conferencing program (latest update), available for free download.
- Google Docs via a Google-enabled account. Free sign up here.
Are there scholarship opportunities available?
Yes, there are a number of scholarships available for the AP PBL Series.
The College Board has secured fee waivers for teachers at schools where 50% or more of the students are African-American, Latino, and/or American Indian—or where 50% of the student population qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch.
The deadline to apply is May 5, 2023. Learn more and apply here
Can I earn CEUs for participating in the AP PBL Series?
Yes! Education professionals who participate in the series may earn CEUs from College Board. Participating teachers will receive 3.0 CEUs for participating in the Summer Institute and an additional 1.2 CEUs for completing the support sessions during the academic year. Learn more (College Board)
What are the dates for the follow-up sessions?
The follow-up sessions will each be conducted on multiple dates, giving you flexibility to choose based on your availability. The specific dates are not scheduled yet.
Note that your attendance is required in the follow-up sessions to receive all eligible CEUs.
I am new to Project Based Learning. Will there be an intro to PBL provided as part of this program?
Yes, the program is ideal for teachers who are new to PBL, as well as experienced PBL teachers.
In the Summer Institute, you will learn about the elements of Gold Standard Project Based Learning. You will continue to build on your understanding of PBL through the KIA curriculum itself, as well as in the follow-up sessions during the school year.
I am a new AP teacher. Will there be basic AP program information provided as part of this program?
Yes, this program addresses the core document for the AP Course, the AP Course and Exam Description and how to achieve its learning objectives through implementation of a curriculum comprising five extensive projects.
Prior to attending your session, please make sure to complete all of the AP required steps to learn about the Curricular Requirements and access all teacher resources because they will be referenced during the program. Find information on how to do this (College Board).
Will I need administrative support to implement PBL in my AP class?
It will be important that your administrator is aware of these sessions and allows you to attend.
This is particularly important, because the program includes 4 follow-up sustained support sessions that you will need to attend during the school year.
What is the average class size that you would recommend implementing PBL for Advanced Placement?
This program is designed for all teachers interested in PBL regardless of class size.
During the study, the teachers’ average class size was approximately 29 students. That said, we understand that each schools’ requirements for class size may vary.
How do I register for a group of teachers?
For registration via College Board, each participant should register separately.
For registration via PBL World, group registration is available.
No special group rates are available. Standard registration fees apply.
We’ve seen the impact of high quality PBL on student success for many years, and research now shows its specific impact on students who are taking Advanced Placement classes.
The AP PBL Series is based on powerful new breakthrough research just released by the Center for Economic and Social Research at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The randomized controlled trial found PBL coupled with high-quality professional development significantly improves student performance when compared to students in non-PBL classrooms.
The research as funded by Lucas Education Research, a division of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.