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Project Based Learning: Using Trello


Activity Description

Trello for Project Based Learning
Source: Trello Quarter Project (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])

This is a Project Based Learning Assignment, titled Quarter Project. Students select an interesting question they want to research. They use Trello to organize their projects. The Quarter Project Trello board presents the instructions for students to move their projects from one step to the next. As a teacher, it helps you see the class move through the project. It is also a great place for students to assemble their research, images, presentation etc. Trello makes it easy for students to collaborate on their projects.


Trello is a visual collaboration tool that can be used for lesson planning, class organization, student research, organizing writing assignments, project-based learning and more. It is free.


  1. Get a Trello account.
  2. Look at the wide variety of ways you can use Trello. Decide how you want to use it.
  3. If you plan to use the example assignment Quarter Project, open the example URL.
  4. Take time to look at the different lists and cards and the example student card on DACA.
  5. Print the Quarter Project Document. Modify it as desired.


  1. Introduce Project Based Learning to the class.
  2. In a discussion have students share ideas of questions they might want to learn about.
  3. If you plan to have the students work in groups, gather those students who are interested in the same question.
  4. Open Trello.
  5. Show the Quarter Project Trello Board.
  6. Demonstrate how to move cards from one list to another.
  7. Discuss the various steps to the project.
  8. Help students get their own Trello accounts.
  9. Assist students in joining into the shared groups.
  10. As a class set a timeline for the class assignment completion.

Teacher Tips

  • By using the menu on the right, you can see who has done what on the project.
  • You can communicate with students as they work through the project by adding comments on the students' cards.

More Ways

For more ways to use Trello see the OTAN, Web-based Class Activities or open the Example Document 2, Trello in Education Introduction.

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ESL: English as a Second Language
  • ASE: High School Equivalency Preparation
  • ASE: High School Diploma
  • CTE: Career Technical Education
  • AwD: Adults with Disabilities


  • Low
  • Intermediate
  • High
  • All Levels

Lesson Plan


Open the class discussion with: What is Project Based Learning?  According to the website PBLWorks, "Project based learning is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects."

Students pair up and brainstorm a list of projects or topics they would be interested in learning about.



For the next four weeks students will work in small groups researching and presenting about a topic they are interested in. Here is a list of 12 areas of possible project topics generated by ChatGPT. (student pairs are gathered in groups of four) Read through these topics and the topics that were put on the board earlier. Select the ones you want the class to explore. Students can also generate a new topic as they discuss together.

1. Financial Literacy:
Research the steps for budgeting. Create an example budget and financial plan.
2. Health and Wellness:
Develop a fitness and nutrition plan.
Research a common health concern in the community.
3. Career Development:
How does one decide on a career? Create a strategy and set a professional goals.
Research and develop effective job search strategies.
4. Community Issues:
Identify and propose solutions for local community challenges.
Address environmental concerns or promote sustainability.
5. Digital Literacy:
Explore online safety and privacy in the digital age.
Research how to develop skills for effective online collaboration and communication.
6. Civic Engagement:
Research local government structures and civic responsibilities.
Initiate a community project to address a civic issue.
7. Cultural Competence:
Investigate and promote cultural awareness in a diverse community.
Develop strategies for fostering inclusivity and understanding.
8. Technology in Daily Life:
Explore the impact of technology on daily routines and relationships.
Address challenges related to digital overload and addiction.
9. Family Dynamics:
Address common family challenges and conflicts.
Develop effective communication strategies within families.
10. Global Issues:
Analyze and propose solutions for global challenges (e.g., climate change, poverty).
Research and present the impact of global events on local communities.
11. Legal Literacy:
Explore basic legal rights and responsibilities.
Address common legal issues faced by individuals.
12. Entrepreneurship:
Develop a business plan for a small entrepreneurial venture.
Address challenges and opportunities in local business environments.

Engagement Enhancement

Look back at the definition used earlier. Important elements include:

  • Real-world Revelance. The project selected should reflect what is happening in our world today and connect to students' lives.
  • There should be a question that drives the project--a problem or challenge to solve.
  • The work is done as a team.
  • One of the strengths of PBL is that is gives students the opportunity to learn the necessary soft skills used in the workplace. These skills include, communication, teamwork, and critical thinking.
  • Students conduct research to gather information and evaluate that information as factual and relevant.
  • The project involves planning and organization. For this step students will use Trello, an organizational and team tool.
  • Students learn how to manage the work, reporting back to each other, assembling information and using time effectively.
  • Teams decide together on the method of sharing the research/outcome of their project. Will they create a website? oral presentation? infographic? game? who will be the audience? class? other classes? school? public?
  • The project will include sharing current efforts for teacher and other teammates' feedback. 
  • Students join in creating a rubric to assess the content, delivery and process.
  • Reflection: what was learned about the topic? what was learned through the PBL process? What insights for outside the classroom?

As a group go through the elements of PBS. Develop questions to discuss together or with the class.

As a class, create a PBL rubric for the class project. Every element of PBL that was mentioned is not requried. What elements do you want to evaluate in the rubric? What will you look for to demonstrate completion? 


In the individual groups:

  1. decide on group roles--there are more roles than people, some people will take on more than one role or some roles may not applicable to the group
    1. facilitator or leader: keeps group on task and makes sure all members are contributing
    2. recorder: takes notes, writes on the Trello card, moves the card--writes a final summary
    3. reporter: reports back to larger group, will give final presenation if it is oral-- or the final presentation may be shared by the whole group
    4. researcher: finds sites of valid information, shares sites with group members, assists in summary writing
    5. timer: keeps track of time/date assisting in moving the assignment forward
    6. IT guru in charge of all things technology, creating slide presentation, organizing the equipment for the presentation, etc
  2. As a group, decide on project to be done. Create steps. 

Share with the Class the Trello program to help organize the project. You can use the tutorial with the class or just demonstrate, Trello Tutorial: Your ultimate guide to getting started wih Trello.

Go over the steps of the project: In the Quarter Project, all steps are discussed in the Read Me Links on each card. All group projects will be tracked on the same Trello board, each group moving their Project Card from one step to another, as they finish the step.


  1. Project Overview- select Project Introduction Read Me for How To
  2. Brainstorm--select Brainstorm Read Me for How To
  3. Research-select Research Read Me for How To
  4. Rough Draft-select Rough Draft Read Me for How To
  5. Final Draft-delect Rough Draft Read Me for How To
  6. Presentation-select Rough Draft Read Me for How To

As groups, students go to Trello to get an account.

Share with them the link to the Class Trello Project Board.

Engagement Enhancement

As a group access class Trello board. 

Create and add group card.

As each step is accomplished move the card forward on the board.

Engagement Enhancement

When the Project Based Learning is complete, each group presents their project whether it is a slide presentation, infographic, website etc.

Students evaluate each group project using the rubric created by the class.

Discuss the use of Trello. Did it help keep track of the project? How? How else could Trello be used?

Engagement Enhancement Extension

Consider PBL. Discuss as a group the pros and cons. Share as a class.

As a class design a second project using PBL.

Consider Trello. How could it be used in the class. Discuss ways to use it in each group. Share with class.

Expand use outside the classroom. How could this be used? 



  • Employment
    • Effectively use common workplace tools and technology
  • Language Arts - Reading
    • Comprehension
  • Language Arts - Writing
    • Organization of Ideas
  • Learning and Thinking Skills
    • Demonstrate ability to use critical thinking skills
    • Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
  • Reading
    • Critical Thinking/Decision Making
    • Learning to Learn
  • Writing
    • Paragraph Skills

CTE Anchor Standards

  • Anchor Standard 2: Communications - Language Standard: Acquire and accurately use general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the (career and college) readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
  • Anchor Standard 5: Problem Solving and Critical Thinking - Writing Standard: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem, narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate, and synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.


Reading, Speaking, Writing, learning paths, lesson planning, newsletters, organization, Project Based Learning, student research, student writing, Trello, collaboration, genius planning board


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AI Reference

used in listing possible Project Based Learning examples
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.