Project-Based Learning

The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes mentors and collaborates with students and educators to pursue project-based learning (PBL) that celebrates Unsung Heroes from history who have changed the world. Our unique approach to PBL enables students and educators to research through primary and secondary sources, synthesize and evaluate their findings in a thematic way, and gain firsthand experience with their Unsung Hero. Unsung Heroes projects encourage student-driven learning, cultivating invaluable academic and professional skills among students while infusing them with a passion for learning. As students discover their Unsung Hero and reflect on the values demonstrated by their Hero, they become role models themselves, creating change within and around them.

LMC-Unsung-Heroes-ProjectsCritical in the development of 21st century skills, PBL involves diverse opportunities for collaborative learning and engages higher-order thinking skills by giving students the opportunity to consider multiple outcomes and problem-solve. Unsung Heroes projects in particular require complex reasoning, significant conceptual understanding and the application of skills across disciplines, using multiple sources and resources. Instead of merely memorizing information or reading alone, students engaged in Unsung Heroes projects learn to think critically, work in teams and contribute to common goals. Such active learning strengthens student interest and motivation. By interacting professionally with adults and presenting their work to audiences beyond the classroom, students who develop Unsung Heroes projects learn to value and communicate respect and understanding.

Skills Developed through Project-Based Learning

  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Leadership & Responsibility
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Flexibility & Adaptability
  • Initiative & Self-Direction
  • Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity & Accountability
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Criteria for Project-Based Learning

  • Real-world orientation gives learning value beyond the demonstrated competence of the learner
  • Risk-free environment provides positive feedback and allows choice
  • Encourages the use of higher-order thinking skills and learning concepts, as well as basic facts
  • Utilizes hands-on approaches
  • Provides for in-depth understanding
  • Accessible for all learners
  • Utilizes various modes of communication
  • Assessment is congruent with instruction, i.e. performance-based
  • Students are responsible for their own learning
  • Students have ownership of their learning within the curriculum
  • Projects promote meaningful learning, connecting new learning to students’ past performances
  • Learning utilizes real-time data, investigating data and drawing conclusions
  • Values learning process as well as learning outcomes
  • Learning is multidisciplinary in nature
  • Teacher is a facilitator of learning
  • Student self-assessment of learning is encouraged

For more, check out National History Day’s suggestions for Building Historical Context and Conducting Research.


Experience the Power of an Unsung Heroes Project in Your Classroom