Innovation Happens Every Day at Fessenden
What is Project-Based Learning?
Project-based learning (PBL) at Fessenden happens in Pre-K through Grade 9 all across campus—and especially in the Ciongoli Center for Innovation and the Wheeler Library. With prompts exploring real-world problems, our boys work together to identify a driving question and figure out what they need to learn and discover, while creating a roadmap, taking risks, gathering and responding to feedback, and presenting their final solution.
Although learning incorporates several different methodologies at our boys school, Fessenden’s approach to project-based learning is influenced by our longstanding partnership with NuVu, an organization founded by MIT alumni. NuVu’s design studio approach encourages students to solve complex challenges through creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. As one of the founding members of the NuVuX Partner Network, our students and teachers share experiences, knowledge, and curriculum resources with schools across the globe.
Driving Questions to Address Real-World Issues
- Indoor food systems need to be more resilient, cost effective, and perhaps even visually appealing. How can we design a food production system to address these issues on a tight budget?
- How can we help people without the physical use of hands complete daily tasks? What can we create to assist?
- Natural disasters happen across the globe. What can we do to best prepare for, respond to, and protect against them?
Benefits of Project-Based Learning at Fessenden
Project-based learning isn’t just about what you learn; it’s about how you learn it. Students knowing how to ask the right questions and set up the learning process for themselves often has more impact than the specific content they study. They’re learning how to face a challenge head-on—researching, creating, evaluating, and iterating—all the while learning the skills and processes that will help them on their educational journey here and the future.
Fessenden boys are well-prepared for not only secondary school and college but the real world, where both success and failure lead to knowledge and growth. Through project-based learning, our students learn to take healthy academic risks, give and receive respectful feedback, engage with empathy, and explore all angles of a challenge. This approach enables them to work collaboratively and think creatively—essential skills in today’s world.