This multidisciplinary project can be used effectively in grades 4-5 with students of all ability levels. We expect teachers to modify the expectations and outcomes to match the developmental level of their students. This project is flexible enough to meet an individual teacher's schedule. Access to a prairie habitat enhances the student experience but is not required.
This interactive Internet and hands-on project focuses on a highly engaging problem regarding potential development of a prairie site. The problem is open-ended and lends itself to a variety of investigatory directions. Students solve a problem similar to a wide variety of real-life problems in many communities.
Background information about the prairie study
Step-by-step lesson plan on how to facilitate this unit
Tutorial for teachers new to problem-based learning
Biology, environmental science, social sciences, language arts, mathematics
Through the group activities, students will be able to:
- Explain important scientific, social/historical and aesthetic values of a prairie habitat.
- Analyze the impact of specific human activities on a prairie habitat.
- Analyze the socioeconomic impact of specific human activities on a community.
- Explain relevant prairie issues from multiple perspectives.
Alignment with National Science Education Standards:
Students write in their journal daily, maintaining a running account of their progress, responding to and reflecting upon their research and the discoveries of others, and documenting their findings. Formal assessments include opportunities for peer and self-assessment and performance rubrics accessible to students online. In addition to these formal assessment options, teachers conduct informal assessment on a regular basis.
- KWL as a pre-assessment
- Journal (ongoing)
- Peer/Self Assessment (ongoing)
- Project Rubric assesses learner outcomes above.
- Optional Rubrics assess various student skills. (Teachers may choose any of these rubrics that help assess student work. The following are most appropriate for this project: Working in a Group, Keeping Records and Presentation.)