Samantha Matalone Cook, MAT

About the Author

Samantha Matalone Cook, MAT,  is an educator, historian, writer, maker, and speaker. Sam writes for & is the co-editor of Secular Eclectic Academic Magazine. She has almost three decades of experience in education, program development, and the arts and is a dedicated mentor and lifelong learner. She has a BA in Humanities with an emphasis in Medieval History and Archaeology, and an MAT from the George Washington Graduate School of Education and Human Development, specializing in Museum Education. As an educator, Samantha has worked with both small and large organizations to create educational programming that centers and connects the learner to concepts and skills. She has taught in classrooms and in private workshops, mentored other educators, and worked for and with many museums and non-profit organizations, including the Smithsonian. 

Samantha consistently writes about history and the humanities, feminism, mythology, human development and learning, and alternative education and educational reform for various publications. She is an active speaker and advocate, featured at many events including Mastermind Talks, Maker Faire Bay Area, Maker Faire New York, East Bay Maker Faire, The Global Education Conference, AERO, SEA, many homeschooling and worldschooling conferences, professional development seminars for various school districts, and more. Samantha is a founder and advisor of Mothership Hackermoms, an organization in Berkeley that gives new mothers creative support and provides child care. She is founder and former ED for Curiosity Hacked, a non-profit hackerspace for kids and families, where she built international learning communities and pushed the boundaries of what learner-centered, alternative STEAM education could look like. She is a consultant and advisory board member for Home Base, a community education center for home educating families, and an advisor and consultant for SEA, and international advocacy group for secular, academic education.

Samantha works on a consulting basis with both families and organizations and leading professional development workshops. She continues to experiment with learning through teaching dynamic, project-based classes on history and the humanities through the lens of art and invention (SHTEAM), expanding how her favorite subjects can be used as a catalyst for understanding, expression, and intersectionality. Samantha has recently joined SEA as an editor for the magazine and to help build the SEA Publishing branch, with the intention of supporting other authors and midwifing high quality, interesting, and secular educational materials.

Samantha recently co-authored the book Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact. Her next books to be published include a series of project-based learning centered unit studies inspired by the world of Harry Potter, and a multi-disciplinary curriculum for Ancient History, which is the first of a four part series for Pandia Press’ History Odyssey (Level 2), with a companion curriculum designed to build students’ skills in historical research and writing. She also finds new adventures and manages mischief every day with her two teens and one preteen, all home educated; the oldest of whom has recently fledged into college.

For blog posts, projects, and more, please visit

Samantha Matalone Cook: Learning Through Making

Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact

Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, & Impact, Sam Cook, Blair Lee, Samantha Matelone Cook

What does it mean to be well-educated, when facts are available at the touch of a button?

How can we come to a deeper understanding of our world amid the modern, massive stream of incoming information?

Co-authors Samantha Matalone Cook & Blair Lee believe we need a paradigm shift for how we approach teaching and learning.

Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact makes the case for using project-based learning to do just that.

By focusing on how subjects and skills are best learned, project-based learning has the potential to revolutionize the role of education and community. It creates a partnership between educators and students, as they journey through the process of learning, presenting tangible outcomes for personal and social impact. There is a world-wide movement growing in support of using project-based learning to expand the possibilities of education, and we want you to be a part of it!

Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact covers everything from the inspirational “why” through the practical “how-to,” including eight pre-designed project examples, and student and teacher workbooks to assist in planning your projects from start to finish. This unique resource is accessible to all educators in every kind of learning environment. Every section of this book has been thoughtfully and thoroughly designed to empower you to begin using project-based learning right away.

Project-Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation, and Impact has everything educators in any setting need to get started with project-based learning!This book is written for a wide and inclusive  audience. Regardless of whether you are a teacher in a public or private school, an educator at a museum or organization, a parent who home educates, or an administrator seeking to support your staff in changing the perspective and practice of education, we wrote this book for you.


“Project Based Learning: Creating a Modern Education of Curiosity, Innovation and Impact is a book that ?deserves a permanent place on my shelf. I will share it with friends and colleagues who are seeking a new teaching approach or seeking inspiration on how or why to use to Project Based Learning to create a power learning experience for their students. It will surely be part of my summer reading as I prepare for a new school year and a reference I will return to throughout my career.”

~David Ruiz, Teacher at Vista Innovation & Design Academy, VUSD


“One of the first things that struck me while reading this book was the discussion of project-based learning as a means of decolonization. By centering students’ own methods of inquiry and knowledge bases and not having a preconceived “right” answer, project-based learning offers opportunities to break down institutionalized and colonized centers of educational power. This kind of thoughtful consideration of how project-based learning enhances and lives out meaningful teaching philosophy is represented throughout the book. The authors don’t just tell readers the how of enacting project-based learning; they explain the why. You’ll end the book knowing how project-based learning impacts individual learners, classroom power dynamics, teaching approaches, and—ultimately—conceptions of what learning is and should be.”

~Michelle Parrinello-Cason, PhD, Dayla Learning


“What a wonderful resource Samantha and Blair have created! I found the initial chapter to be a clear and compelling argument for project-based learning. Curious people, who want to know more about why they should adopt PBL are going to have all their questions answered right away so they can settle into implementing all the useful, detailed strategies and resources shared.

I also like how they highlight the teacher/guide/mentor role throughout the book. So often the adult in a PBL situation can feel lost because they feel like they aren’t “teaching”. This is a ubiquitous problem amongst first time PBL’ers and this book solves it right away.”

~Jade Rivera, Educator, Micro-School Builder, Gifted and 2E Specialist


“As someone that works with people from all different socioeconomic classes in a variety of different fields, one thing stands out to me the most – if we don’t level the playing field in youth education, our planet and related ecosystem may not survive. Our global education system needs to align with global demands and we can’t discriminate which classes of people get certain education benefits. It’s time for change. Project based learning allows each youth to shine based on their innate skills. Samantha and Blair have done a great job of defining how education can change the trajectory of how humans evolve. We are looking forward to seeing their methodology come to life in the work we do for global youth education reform.”

~ Somya R. Munjal, CPA,MBA, MAS; Founder of Youthful Savings and Managing Partner of CPA for the People LLP


“As a teacher at a K-8 Project Based Learning (PBL) school, I’ve seen how PBL can transform learning for kids. Samantha and Blair’s book is an excellent blend of theory behind PBL, nuts and bolts of implementing PBL, and practical project ideas.  Through their practical application and up-beat writing, they make PBL not only doable, but fun.   If you’re going to get one resource on PBL this book is all you need!”

~ Rick Schertle, Educator, Innovator, Co-Founder of Air Rocket Works


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SEA Homeschoolers Gear is for secular homeschooling kids & parents alike. It is perfect for park days! The t-shirts and magnets have the tree logo that was specially designed for the group Secular Eclectic, Academic Homeschoolers. The design represents a phylogenetic tree showing the evolution of learning as something that is holistic and reflective of the many different types & styles of learning. Blair Lee, evolutionary biologist, chemist, & founder of SEA Homeschoolers, commissioned artist Don McIntire to create this logo. The tree is symbolic of SEA Homeschoolers tagline, “An Evolution in Homeschooling.”

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