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Table 1.
Alignment of the Marcus unit to “gold standard” project-based learning (PBL) design elements.
“Gold Standard” PBL ElementaUnit Features
Key Knowledge and Understandings/Success Skills Students engage in science practices to learn key genetics, cell biology, and heart anatomy content (for alignment to NGSS, see Table 2). 
Challenging Problem/Question Entry event: Introduction of the Marcus case through discussion of initial symptoms; students engage in differential diagnosis throughout the unit to determine what happened to Marcus; students work throughout the unit to determine what caused Marcus to collapse and to answer the question “How can we educate others on the serious health risks in young athletes?” 
Authenticity Students connect to similar real-world, sports-related injuries through reading or watching local news stories; they give final presentations to school and community members to help make them aware of health issues associated with sports. 
Student Voice and Choice Students gather evidence to support their final diagnosis, which they present in their letter to Marcus's family; student groups design final presentations based on a rubric and their chosen audience. 
Sustained Inquiry Students research various sports-related diseases (disease jigsaw and final presentation research); students engage in investigative laboratory activities (egg osmosis lab, sickle cell simulation, ultrasound, etc.). 
Reflection Students reflect through daily written protocols (e.g., I used to think…, Now I think…) and through small-group and whole-class discussion of Marcus's diagnosis. 
Critique and Revision Students participate in a gallery walk and provide feedback on each other's final projects before formal presentation; they use peer critique protocols on initial project ideas (e.g., charrette protocol from www.nsrfharmony.org). 
Public Product Students write a letter to Marcus's family and also present and receive feedback from an audience of parents, coaches, and teachers at a school- or community-based event. 
“Gold Standard” PBL ElementaUnit Features
Key Knowledge and Understandings/Success Skills Students engage in science practices to learn key genetics, cell biology, and heart anatomy content (for alignment to NGSS, see Table 2). 
Challenging Problem/Question Entry event: Introduction of the Marcus case through discussion of initial symptoms; students engage in differential diagnosis throughout the unit to determine what happened to Marcus; students work throughout the unit to determine what caused Marcus to collapse and to answer the question “How can we educate others on the serious health risks in young athletes?” 
Authenticity Students connect to similar real-world, sports-related injuries through reading or watching local news stories; they give final presentations to school and community members to help make them aware of health issues associated with sports. 
Student Voice and Choice Students gather evidence to support their final diagnosis, which they present in their letter to Marcus's family; student groups design final presentations based on a rubric and their chosen audience. 
Sustained Inquiry Students research various sports-related diseases (disease jigsaw and final presentation research); students engage in investigative laboratory activities (egg osmosis lab, sickle cell simulation, ultrasound, etc.). 
Reflection Students reflect through daily written protocols (e.g., I used to think…, Now I think…) and through small-group and whole-class discussion of Marcus's diagnosis. 
Critique and Revision Students participate in a gallery walk and provide feedback on each other's final projects before formal presentation; they use peer critique protocols on initial project ideas (e.g., charrette protocol from www.nsrfharmony.org). 
Public Product Students write a letter to Marcus's family and also present and receive feedback from an audience of parents, coaches, and teachers at a school- or community-based event. 
a

Larmer et al. (2015, p. 34).

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