Season 2, Episode 5

Moving students forward with project-based learning

In this episode, Eric Cross sits with K–5 educator Janis Lodge to chat about building on her own science curriculum to create meaningful project-based learning experiences. Janis shares her work teaching Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), and how to use those practices to help accelerate the learning of all students. Eric and Janis also talk about making time for science within K–5 classrooms.

Meet our guest(s):

Janis Lodge

Janis Lodge is a third grade teacher in Orange County, California. Her career in education started six years ago when she decided to follow her passion of making a positive difference in the lives of young scholars. Prior to teaching, Janis lived in Maui, Hawaii for seven years, working in the field of graphic design, marketing, and hospitality. She has found that her interest in innovation, project-based learning, and inquiry-driven exploration has helped shape her into the educator she is today. STEAM is integrated regularly into her classroom, and her students continually develop 21st century skills through a variety of unique projects. ​​Janis is also a PAL (Peer Assistance Leadership) Advisor for her school, where she helps young leaders (4th-6th graders) cultivate their leadership skills and empowers them to make a positive difference in their school and community. Janis was recently awarded the Orange County Council for the Gifted & Talented Education Classroom Grant, which will provide an extension to the third grade Amplify Science Unit: Environments and Survival.

Meet our host: Eric Cross

Eric Cross is a seventh grade science/technology teacher, grade level lead, and digital learning innovator for Albert Einstein Academies, International Baccalaureate schools. He is also an adjunct professor of learning and technology at the University of San Diego and a Google certified innovator. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University and a Master of Education from the University of San Diego. He had 17 years of experience working with at-risk youth and underserved populations before becoming a middle school teacher. By building relationships with students, colleagues, and the community, he has become an empowered leader in and out of the classroom. Through meaningful learning experiences centered around student agency, STEM has become accessible to students through highly engaging lesson design, thoughtful integration of digital tools, and culturally relevant pedagogy.

Transcripts and additional resources

Show notes:


The reward of having kids feel like they accomplished something and take ownership is such an opportunity [with project-based learning] that I have to run with it. Being inspired by the potential outcomes of what could happen is what made me take that risk. - Janice Lodge