Big Ideas Archives - Challenge Based Learning


This growing set of resources includes stories about CBL in action, research, templates for each phase, and resources to get started. Sort by Categories or use the site search to find specific resources. Notify us if you have resources that you would like to share.

April 13, 2018

Big Idea: Neuroscience

With the growth of brain imaging technologies and techniques the amount we know about how the brain works are expanding rapidly. The need to critically think through and apply the emerging concepts of neuroscience and the ideas of brain-based learning make neuroscience a fertile Big Idea and provide opportunities for a compelling set of challenges for all ages.

March 29, 2018

Big Idea: Listening

Learning how to listen attentively and think before we speak is a skill that will make our communities, families, classrooms, and the world a better place. Listening is truly an essential Big Idea for success and survival.

March 22, 2018

Big Idea: Kindness

Who doesn’t need a little more kindness? Developing a Challenge from the Big Idea of kindness provides an opportunity to explore concepts that transcend cultures and have philosophical, structural, personal, and practical components. The Big Idea of kindness allows for various depths of analysis and the creation of challenges by all ages of learners in all contexts.

March 16, 2018

Big Idea: Justice

Justice is a prototypical Big Idea because it is inspirational, desirable, and directional. It provides hope, gives us something to aim for and parameters for making decisions. The challenge to promote justice should be a daily and ongoing effort to understand and make short-term gains while aspiring to a just society for everyone on earth.

March 6, 2018

Big Idea: Iteration

This challenge focuses on the process of iteration, combines it with CBL and directs it at improving an idea or process to make a positive impact on a community. Learning to refine actions to reach the desired result is an essential skill for the CBL process and life.

February 28, 2018

Big Idea: Health

Health is a Big Idea that impacts everyone. It cuts across science, history, policy, habits, age, gender, culture and geography. As a source for a challenge, health can be contextualized and made meaningful in almost every situation.

February 12, 2018

Big Idea: Failure

The Big Idea is Failure, and the challenge is to learn from failure. Through participating in this Challenge, we can learn how to change perceptions and what scaffolding needs to be in place to help people “fail forward” and improve.

February 5, 2018

Big Idea: Empathy

Empathy is a timely Big Idea and one worthy of deep investigation. There is a general sense that we need more empathy in schools, workplaces, communities, and politics. It is easy to say that everyone needs to be more empathetic and much more difficult to implement and sustain.

January 29, 2018

Big Idea: Data

Most of us abdicate the responsibility of data to experts and researchers and wait for the reports or programs to tell us what to do. Data is a resource that can be used for good and for ill, so we need to know more about data and how to use it to improve our worlds.

January 22, 2018

Big Idea: Collaboration

Effective collaboration is considered a critical factor for success in school, work, and life. But how much time do we spend thinking about what makes effective collaboration and how it intersects with other concepts such as personalization and competition? As is the case with all Big Ideas there is a lot to learn by exploring the concept of collaboration. And what better what to explore collaboration than to embed it in a challenge?

January 7, 2018

Big Idea: Attitude

The beginning of the new year provides an opportunity to take stock and make decisions to change behaviors and/or pursue new goals. For most of us, these resolutions will quickly be lost in the shuffle of our lives or become unattainable due to a variety of factors. One of the factors related to our ability to be successful in achieving our personal, group and institutional goals and resolutions is a Big Idea – ATTITUDE.

June 25, 2016

Essay: Big Idea – Violence

By holding our opinions in check and thinking profoundly about the questions inherent in the challenge of reducing violence we might be able to work together to identify solutions, local, state, national and world level.

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