Project Based Learning Fellowship

  • Monday, May 15, 2017
  • 5:00pm - 5:00pm

Applications due Monday, May 15, 2017
For an application, please email Melissa Dowland.

Join a cohort of dynamic and innovative teachers of grades K-8 to implement Project Based Learning (PBL) in your classroom. During a year-long fellowship that includes a weekend field experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and training and mentorship in PBL by experienced educators, PBL Fellows will develop an issues-based case study (integrated thematic unit) that applies best practices of PBL to the standards that you teach. Throughout the 2017-2018 school year, PBL Fellows will work closely with colleagues and mentors to bring a current North Carolina issue to life in their classrooms. This year, preference will be given to teams of 2 or more teachers at the same grade level from the same school.

Schedule (all meetings are mandatory):
Saturday, August 26 (9 am – 4 pm): Dive in to PBL!
At our kick-off workshop at the Museum of Natural Sciences, Fellows will get to know each other and explore the basics of Project Based Learning with experienced mentors. We will address expectations for the year and prepare for our field experience in October.

Friday-Sunday, October 27, 3:30 pm depart from Raleigh – October 29, 6:00 pm: Got Elk Field Experience
This immersive workshop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will provide a first-hand experience with natural history topics that will provide a basis for developing your PBL unit. We will learn about the elk reintroduction in Cataloochee Valley, explore air and water quality issues, learn about the threat of invasive species, and begin to appreciate the value of wild places like the Smokies. Transportation from Raleigh, lodging near the Park, and most meals are included.

Thursday, September 21, 2017; Thursday, January 11, 2018; Thursday, March 8, 2018: Mentoring Meetings
Over the course of the 2017-18 school year, Fellows will meet regularly to continue to learn and discuss PBL best practices and develop their case studies in grade-level teams. All meetings will be held in the evening from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, and will include visits to local schools that are practicing PBL. Dinner is included.

Virtual Team Hangouts: 2 hangouts with dates TBD
Fellows will be divided into “Hangouts” to share ideas and best-practices across grade levels and schools. Each Hangout will meet virtually two times over the course of the Fellowship. Dates will be scheduled to accommodate each Hangout group.

Thursday, May 3, 2018, 5 – 9 pm: Culminating Event at the Museum
Fellows will have the opportunity to invite guests to a culminating event to share their work. Educators from the previous cohort will also be invited to provide current and former Fellows with the chance to share ideas and build connections. Dinner is included for all attendees.


  • Fee: $500 per teacher (Due upon acceptance into the program)
  • Requirements: Applications from teams of two or more teachers from one school will be given preference (each individual should submit a separate application). Applicants should plan to teach in grades K-8 during the 2017-18 school year.
  • Program Instructor: Melissa Dowland
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May 15
5:00 pm
$500 per teacher (Due upon acceptance into the program)


In the Field

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and local schools


Melissa Dowland