So what exactly is integration?
Tackling Content Delivery in PBE
In today's standards-driven educational environment teachers are often apprehensive to engage in a place-based education project due to a lack of available time to "fit it in." This can certainly be the case if teachers do not thoughtfully integrate the content, skills, and standards educators are required to teach into a project. Fortunately many of these standards are easily integrated into projects with community-based education experiences. Sometimes we say the community (or the issue you are studying within the community) is the "integrating context." It is the one focal point that everything else connects to.
North Carolina Public Schools suggests when we integrate content using PBE we are trying to offer learners a more robust understanding of the "whole" instead of the individual "parts" of a system or body of knowledge. With PBE, teachers and students typically work together to build a project based upon a students' experiences and what they know or want to know. This helps learning become meaningful to the student and tends to be in learner's zone of proximal development because students are pursuing answers to questions they formulated but may not be able to answer themselves.
There is a common phrase derived from Gestalt theory stating, "The whole is other than the sum of the parts." Content integration using PBE actually may help create experiences that allow learners to gain new insight by seeing or experiencing how seemingly disparate content areas or skills are used to understand broader themes or systems.
For more information about content integration read this overview provided by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. It provides an in-depth description of integration that describes different methods and modes commonly used in instruction today.
This video highlights High Tech High, a school that fully embraces integrated content in project-based experiences:
The following case study(s) showcase ways educators approached PBE content, skills, and theme integration. As you will see, integration does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You can start small and work your way up to more complex integrated experiences as you become more comfortable with the practice.
Marcus Deja's description of any project incorporating math: