Grade Level: Secondary - Grade 9
Abstract: Ninth-grade students at Carver Area High School in Chicago will research the importance of maintaining an unpolluted water source for today and for the future. The students will determine what steps they can take to make their parents and the community-at-large more aware of the need for involvement in the effort to maintain a pure water supply.
Learner Description/Environment: Carver Area High School is located on the south side of Chicago. The population is 100% African American. The school is located just south of the Altgeld Gardens Housing Development (public housing). Carver serves Altgeld, Eden Greens, Concordia Park, and Roseland communities. Additionally, students come from many diverse areas on the south side of the city. Approximately 90% of students receive free or reduced lunches. Attendance, graduation retention, academic success and discipline are problems that the school must constantly seek new and different strategies to improve. Students traditionally score below national and state norms on the Tests of Academic Proficiency (TAP) and Illinois Goals Assessment Program (IGAP).
Students in the freshman and sophomore years make up the newly mandated and developed Junior Academy. One of the English classes will become the target group for this project. This is a heterogeneous freshman English class with a maximum of 25 students. The students have a range of ability levels and interests. The school has implemented an inclusion program which means that TMH students and LD students have been programmed into the classes. Classes with a high enrollment of special needs students would have a Special Education Teacher as well as the content area teacher. They will use Carver's Writing Lab which contains 30 terminals which runs off of an AT&T 3B2/500 mini-computer. This lab has 1 modem which allows Internet connection through DePaul On-line. The terminals have Word Perfect for Unix. Two printers provide the printing services for the terminals. There are three stand alone Macs and 2 Apple ImageWriters for printing. Internet access is available in the Junior Academy office with one stand-alone Compaq computer and in the Resource Center of the school with approximately 3 terminals. The library has a T-1 line. Since the school has not been wired, the classrooms do not have the ability at present to make use of the connection. Few students have computers at home but students display a real interest in computer use.
Time Frame: This project will comprise the major activity for the unit on the research and writing in the 9th grade program of study. The unit will last 3-4 weeks.
Rationale: This unit is a part of the curriculum for ninth graders. They are expected to learn to do research in the library and on-line. Additionally, this topic provides for the higher order thinking skills that students need to utilize throughout the school day and in their daily lives. Finally, this project deals with an issue that may one day prove critical to the lives of the students in this area. This provides a real-life topic that should engage students beyond the traditional research topics.
Goals and Standards for Water Module:
Illinois State Goals-English Language Arts
As a result of their schooling, students will be able to:
Learner Outcomes: Students will be able to
Alignment with Standards:
Structure of the Learning:
Content: The students will investigate the importance of clean, fresh water in their community, specifically and for the world, in general. It is hope that the students will receive a good introduction to doing net research, but that they will value water more. They will have to do a great deal of reading and writing to complete their assignments. Students are being asked and encouraged to become more proactive in living their lives and in working for the betterment of their school and community.
Process: Students will be given a situation on the student page regarding students who no longer have water available. A number of questions must come to mind. What led to this situation (taking fresh water for granted, wastefulness, pollution, carelessness of business,industry, and property owners )? Have they and their parents been drinking polluted water? Why has no one done anything about this matter? Did anyone suspect the problem? What could the students have done differently?
The students will begin to research about water pollution, the importance of having a clean water supply, the need for water conservation, and what other communities have done about similar issues. Students will then move from the web to involving their classmates, teachers, parents and community members. They will seek to connect with a community group, People for Community Recovery(PCR), which has devoted itself to environmental issues and pollution in the Altgeld community for a number of years. PCR can outline the history of the organization and the problems of this community. They can share their accomplishments to date and effective strategies for this effort.
The teacher will act as a resource person and guide during this project. This should be a time of learning for the students, teacher(s), parents and community members.
Product: The students will produce the following products:
- A record of all web sites visited with notes regarding information found
- A journal reflecting on thoughts, ideas, feelings and learnings
- Report on the water sample
- Report on the topic
- Oral Presentation of report findings
- Panel discussion/debate on the topic
- Video Demonstration
- Exhibit on water pollution
- Web page
- Clean Water Manual for the community
- Letters to politicians, organizations, businesses and newspaper editors
Student Assessment: Each component of the project assignments will be considered in light of the project rubric. This assessment system will attempt to evaluate the learning of the content, the process of learning, and the final product(s). A survey will be given prior to the initiation of the unit in order to determine the level of skills before instruction. This will assist the instructor in tailoring the skill development to the needs of the students in the class. Such a survey will inform the final assessment and help to evaluate what was known beforehand and what was actually learned during this unit.
Project/Unit Evaluation: The evaluation of the unit will be based on the reports, journals, web pages, feedback and other products and activities of the students involved. Additional consideration will be given to responses from parents and other teachers. The involvement and motivation of the students will be important indicators.
(Graphic courtesy of Jon's Archive)