Integrated Project Based Learning (IPBL) is an educational method that focuses on interdisciplinary studies, learning by doing, and authentic connections between material learned in school and the “real world” community that exists outside the school’s walls.
In an IPBL unit, students will begin with a complex, open-ended question that will drive their learning (i.e. “How can we use electricity to help a community in need?). Then, in each of their classes, students will work to answer this question through the lens of that subject area. Once students have gained the knowledge they need to answer the question, teachers implore the students to use that knowledge to make a difference in the school community, the Jewish community, or even the Cleveland community at large through a large-scale authentic project.
Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School implemented IPBL into its curriculum over six years ago and has now become a leader in this teaching method. Mandel JDS recently held its first IPBL Institute to pave the way for other educators. In attendance were educators from five different Jewish Day Schools who represented different Jewish communities, including Orthodox, Conservative, and Community schools. Some of the participants came from the greater Cleveland area while others came from out of state.
The goals of the IPBL Institute were multifaceted, but at the core was something profound - Jewish unity must start from a place of collaboration, not competition. With this underlying theme at the forefront, educators were able to come together to not only learn and share ideas, but to strengthen the entire Jewish community through the power of education.