Launching Into PBL

The launch for PBL hooks the students' interests, while creating a story, challenge, or problem that needs to be solved
150 teachers like this strategy
Launching Into PBL

About This Strategy

A PBL launch is a short activity or introduction that conveys a sense of urgency and importance around the project,  problem, challenge, or driving question. The launch, while always related to the driving question, is centered around the students' interests. Launches can take on various forms and topics including: a movie clip or trailer that shows something exciting, a story that evicts emotion and a call for action, a story or situation with a piece missing, a challenge or outside problem from a community partner, or a topic that matters to students.

Implementation Steps

20 minutes
  1. Create your driving question for the project. To learn how to do this, refer to the Driving Questions strategy in the BetterLesson Lab.

  2. Find a launch that will give the students the information they need to know or that will give the students a call for action. There are several launch examples in the resources below.

    • To learn more about hooking students’ interests in preparation for project based learning, explore the Connecting with Students’ Communities strategy in the BetterLesson Lab.

  3. Present the launch to the students on the first day of the project. If applicable, have a discussion with the students about the launch. This will be followed by introducing the driving question and beginning the project.

Questions to Consider

  1. What could be challenging about this task and how could you address any challenges in advance?

  2. Does the launch cause a “need to know” problem or feeling in the students?

  3. Is the launch based on topics that interest your students?

  4. Is the launch culturally appropriate and responsive for all students in your classroom?

Krystal's Tips

Krystal Bankston
BetterLesson Instructional Coach
  1. If you are new to creating a launch for a PBL, try using a YouTube clip from a documentary or news clip relating to your project.

  2. If you have a person characterize a person from the past, be sure to script their speech or interview for them to make sure it stays centered around the driving question or PBL.

Tech Tools


  • EdPuzzle allows for the augmentation of existing teaching videos (created by you or found on platforms like Youtube or KhanAcademy) with interactive questions, audio and written notes as well as reflective pauses. When students watch a video flipped on EdPuzzle, you know live what they are learning and not.

  • EdPuzzle can support this strategy by allowing teachers to make their launch video more interactive and to already collect learning data through the launch.