If you and your class have had experience with engaged learning and problem-based projects there is very little background information you will need to facilitate Smallville's Prairie Project. Introduce the problem and let your students go. With your guidance this should prove to be an exciting educational adventure.
If this is your first excursion into an engaged-learning, problem-based lesson, (or you just want a refresher), you may find the following background information helpful. Smallville is set up so that students can direct their own learning with guidance from their teacher. It is designed so that teachers can access teacher pages and student pages alike, but the pupils can only access the student pages. Smallville is designed to be self-sufficient but allows for flexibility based upon individual needs. Many schools do not allow students to do "searches" on the Internet and can only access "bookmarked" sites. Smallville provides online resources to give all learners the necessary information to solve the presented problem. Teachers and students (if allowed) certainly do their own searches for additional information. Many times students will conduct these searches at home with parental supervision.
Most importantly, have fun and allow your students to become important citizens in Smallville's Prairie Project.
- The best place to begin would be on the Scenario or teaching example to get an indication of what a typical classroom may look like while engaged in this lesson.
- Go to the Summary page and investigate the tutorial to get a step-by-step approach to facilitating this unit with your students.
- After you are finished with these sites, you may wish to go back to the Background page.
- Go to the Online Resources page to investigate Internet sites students will be using and to gather information about prairies.