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Survivor Presentation Page


Subject: Language English II, Modern World History, Science II

Grade Level: 10


Survivor involves high school sophomore students in a decision-making project enabling them to demonstrate how they would deal with an impending cataclysmic event without the initial benefit of adult expertise. Students will engage in creative, meaningful, and challenging classroom academic options involving exploration using technology. Students will direct their learning, via group discussions with the resulting outcomes of creating a diorama, PowerPoint Presentation or a simulation game of a survival scenario, which demonstrates their understanding of the essentials of survival. Their survival exploration and escape adventure will require detailed accounts of how they survived through the creation of a new habitat. Their success depends upon showing/demonstrating how they used technology to contact experts as well as actual survivors of cataclysmic events and setup a mechanism to deal with complicated dramatic changes that may affect their values and beliefs.

Learner Description/Environment:

Vallejo High School is located in the city of Vallejo, California. An evolving city of 112,000 culturally and ethnically diverse people, Vallejo is best described as:

Data collected from the Vision 2020 Report, surveys of students, parents, teachers, staff, and community members, discussions from a community Digital High School (DHS) forum, and the WASC process all point toward parents wanting their students to have more creative, meaningful, and challenging classroom academic options involving technology. The perception prevails that students should perceive academic subjects as being sources of career information and acquiring job skills as well as the foundation for acquiring college preparatory skills. Vallejo High School's goal is to create an environment where collaborating, communicating, and critical thinking are enhanced through the use of the tools of technology.

The English, World History, and Science teachers will guide the students in this project. The students also may consult with experts in the field of aviation, other students, as well as access print and non-print information through Internet and library research. Students will utilize the one-computer classrooms and will also have access to the on-line computer lab located in the library where scanners, in-focus projectors, and digital cameras are available.

The World History and Science teachers have use of a TV, a VCR, and one computer with Internet Connection in their rooms. The English teacher is located in a portable classroom. No computer, TV, or VCR is available to her. She will make arrangements with other teachers to switch rooms when she wants to use existing technology tools. This pilot year would consist of same thirty-two students in these three disciplines.

Time Frame:

Project Timeline: 10 Weeks

A pilot interdisciplinary unit in English II, Modern World History, and Science II will explore student decision-making during this ten week unit. The same thirty-two students will be involved in the three classes.

Introduction (Two weeks):

Body (Six Weeks)

Conclusion (Two Weeks)

Cooperative production of a diorama, multimedia project, or simulation game in all three classes. Multiple class periods will be spent in the campus "sign-up" computer lab. Students will finalize their on-line journal. A final assessment will engage students in a new disaster situation to determine how much they have learned from their previous survival knowledge.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Students will improve their decision-making processes.
  2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the essentials of survival.
  3. Students will create a diorama, a Power Point Presentation, or a simulation game of a survival scenario.
  4. Students will demonstrate their ability to create a form of self-governmen to deal with friction among populations..
  5. Students will show how they set up a mechanism or plan to deal with a dramatic change that is complicated and that affects technology, student beliefs and values.

Structure of the Learning:


Authentic Student Task:

Students will decide how to deal with an impending cataclysmic event without the initial benefit of adult expertise.


Students read an excerpt from the novel Tangerine. Students imagine themselves transplanted students from Texas living in south Florida. How would they react to such an emergency? How would other students react to the same situation? The students will conduct a poll of the other students in their class to determine how they would react to this situation. What other types of natural disasters or events could threaten their own survival? What popular films have they seen that depict disasterous events on a global scale? Students will analyze a protagonist's emotional reaction to the sinkhole emergency. Students will conduct an opinion poll as to how other students would react in the same situation. Students will then be asked what type of events would threaten their survival here at Vallejo High School. Students can suggest various popular films or documentaries that depict disastrous events on a global scale.


  1. Students will analyze a protagonist's emotional reaction to the sinkhole emergency.
  2. Students will conduct an opinion poll as to how other students would react in the same situation.
  3. Students will then be asked what type of events would threaten their survival.
  4. Students can suggest various popular films or documentaries that depict disastrous events on a global scale.
  5. Students can select a film to depicting a major disaster.


Students will create a habitat design to escape a global disaster which demonstrates their understanding of the essentials of survival and decision making processes. This design might be in the form of a diorama, a PowerPoint Presentation, or a simulation game.

Best Use of Technology:

  1. Students will establish communications via Internet with individuals who have survived cataclysmic events.
  2. Students will create a diorama, a PowerPoint Presentation, or a simulation game illustrating their proposed survival method.
  3. Students will create a URL bibliography and learn what is a reliable site.
  4. Students will keep an on-line journal.


English Assessment:

  1. A student quick write on how they would react if faced with an emergency survival situation.
  2. Students will also assess by breaking into triads where they give personal responses to readings in the novel.
  3. Create a PowerPoint or simulation game where the students incorporate all their learning.

History Assessment:

  1. Students will create a speculative history of the world from the point in time when it is discovered the disaster is about to strike, the events surrounding the time of disaster, the time spent in the survival habitat, and the history of the earth after emerging from the habitat.
  2. Students will give illustrations to the class of what has happened in times past when there have been cataclysmic events that have altered society's structures.
  3. Students will bring in current news of current events currently happening with analysis of what survivors did and could have done to survive.

Science Assessment:

  1. Students will create a bibliography of URLs about potential global disasters..
  2. Students will evaluate the authenticity of the URLs that deal with the topic by using a teacher prepared rubric.
  3. Students will examine on-line sources regarding habitats and summarize their findings to the class.
  4. Students will take a CPR class in class and be offered the option of an outside First Aid Class. Assessment will be whether the students acquire a certificate.
  5. Students will be presented with the option of doing ride-alongs with emergency services such as police and fire services. Assessment will be a certificate of proof of the ride-along.
  6. Students will group themselves into similar interest groups where they face a survival related sequence and they determine how to survive (answering via a PowerPoint or Hyperstudio Presentation.)

Group assessment:

  1. On-going assessment
    1. Students will keep an on-line journal of their experience in each class in a common folder.
  2. Final collective assessment (This will be graded by all three teachers.)
    1. Students will create a diorama (vital or physical) and their explorations in a multimedia explanation of this escape habitat. Students can decide to work alone or in groups up to three in a group.
  3. Some students may decide to create an expanded simulation game to demonstrate their learning in this project.

  4. Beyond:
    1. The students will take their journal and create a PowerPoint or a simulation game that they would role play. The emphasis is that students would move beyond just text but would incorporate URLs, links, CPR, First Aid, and make use of contacts with experts who have survived disasters.

Project Evaluation:

  1. Looking at on-line journal done throughout the whole course by students.
  2. Survey the students after completion of each component and each discipline project.
  3. Student evaluations of the novel, the PowerPoint Presentations, and the simulations created.
  4. How well students were able to transfer survival knowledge to a new situation.

Alignment with Standards:

Technology Standards for students:

  1. Basic operations and concepts - Students domonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems. - Students are proficient in the use of technology.
  2. Social, ethical, and human issues - Students understand the ethical, cultural, and societal issues related to technology. - Students practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software. - Students develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.
  3. Technology productivity tools - Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity. - Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enchanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.
  4. Technology communications tools - Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences. - Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.
  5. Technology research tools - Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources. - Students use technology tools to process data and report results. - Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks.
  6. Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools - Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informaed decisions. - Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.

History/Social Studies Standards

Chronological and Spatial Thinking

  1. Students compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons learned
  2. Students analyze how change happens at different rates at different times; that some aspects can change while others remain the same; that change is complicated and affects not only technology and politics, but also values and beliefs
  3. Students use a variety of maps and documents to interpret human movement, including major patterns of domestic and international migration; changing environmental preferences and settlement patterns; the frictions that develop between population groups; and the diffusion of ideas, technological innovations, and goods
  4. Students relate current events to the physical and human characteristics of places and regions Historical Research, Evidence and Point of View
  5. Students construct and test hypotheses; collect, evaluate and employ information from multiple primary and secondary sources; and apply it in oral and written presentations

Historical Interpretation

1. Students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic and political trends and developments

4. Students understand the meaning, implication, and impact of historical events while recognizing that events could have taken other directions

5. Students analyze human modifications of a landscapes, and examine the resulting environmental policy issues

English-Language Arts Content Standards

Vocabulary and Concept Development (Grades Nine and Ten)

1.1 Identify and use the literal and figurative meanings of words and understand word derivations.

1.2. Distinguish between the denotative and connotative meanings of words and interpret the connotative power of words.

2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials) (Grades Nine and Ten) Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They analyze the organizational patterns, arguments, and positions advanced. The selections in Recommended Literature, Grades Nine Through Twelve (1990) illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students. In addition, by grade twelve, students read two million words annually on their own, including a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature, magazines, newspapers, and online information. In grades nine and ten, students make substantial progress toward this goal. Structural Features of Informational Materials (Grades Nine and Ten)

2.2 Prepare a bibliography of reference materials for a report using a variety of consumer, workplace, and public documents. Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text (Grades Nine and Ten)

2.3 Generate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched.

2.5 Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration.

2.6 Demonstrate use of sophisticated learning tools by following technical directions (e.g., those found with graphic calculators and specialized software programs and in access guides to World Wide Web sites on the Internet). Expository Critique (Grades Nine and Ten)

2.8 Evaluate the credibility of an author's argument or defense of a claim by critiquing the relationship between generalizations and evidence, the comprehensiveness of evidence, and the way in which the author's intent affects the structure and tone of the text (e.g., in professional journals, editorials, political speeches, primary source material).

3.0 Literary Response and Analysis (Grades Nine and Ten) Students read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance their studies of history and social science. They conduct in-depth analyses of recurrent patterns and themes. The selections in Recommended Literature, Grades Nine Through Twelve illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students. Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text (Grades Nine and Ten)

3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.

3.4 Determine characters' traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy. WRITING (Grades Nine and Ten)

1.0 Writing Strategies (Grades Nine and Ten) Students write coherent and focused essays that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned argument. The writing demonstrates students' awareness of the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process as needed. Organization and Focus (Grades Nine and Ten)

1.8 Design and publish documents by using advanced publishing software and graphic programs.

Evaluation and Revision (Grades Nine and Ten)

2.1 Write biographical or autobiographical narratives or short stories: a. Relate a sequence of events and communicate the significance of the events to the audience. c. Describe with concrete sensory details the sights, sounds, and smells of a scene and the specific actions, movements, gestures, and feelings of the characters; use interior monologue to depict the characters' feelings.

2.2 Write responses to literature: a. Demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the significant ideas of literary works. b. Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text or to other works. c. Demonstrate awareness of the author's use of stylistic devices and an appreciation of the effects created. d. Identify and assess the impact of perceived ambiguities, nuances, and complexities within the text.

2.3 Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research reports: b. Convey information and ideas from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently. c. Make distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas. d. Include visual aids by employing appropriate technology to organize and record information on charts, maps, and graphs. f. Use technical terms and notations accurately.

2.4 Write persuasive compositions: a. Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained and logical fashion. b. Use specific rhetorical devices to support assertions (e.g., appeal to logic through reasoning; appeal to emotion or ethical belief; relate a personal anecdote, case study, or analogy). c. Clarify and defend positions with precise and relevant evidence, including facts, expert opinions, quotations, and expressions of commonly accepted beliefs and logical reasoning. d. Address readers' concerns, counterclaims, biases, and expectations.

2.5 Write business letters: a. Provide clear and purposeful information and address the intended audience appropriately. b. Use appropriate vocabulary, tone, and style to take into account the nature of the relationship with, and the knowledge and interests of, the recipients. c. Highlight central ideas or images. d. Follow a conventional style with page formats, fonts, and spacing that contribute to the documents' readability and impact.

2.6 Write technical documents (e.g., a manual on rules of behavior for conflict resolution, procedures for conducting a meeting, minutes of a meeting): a. Report information and convey ideas logically and correctly. b. Offer detailed and accurate specifications. c. Include scenarios, definitions, and examples to aid comprehension (e.g., troubleshooting guide).

Written and Oral English Language Conventions (Grades Nine and Ten)

Manuscript Form (Grades Nine and Ten)

1.5 Reflect appropriate manuscript requirements, including title page presentation, pagination, spacing and margins, and integration of source and support material (e.g., in-text citation, use of direct quotations, paraphrasing) with appropriate citations.

Listening and Speaking (Grades Nine and Ten)

Comprehension (Grades Nine and Ten)

1.1 Formulate judgments about the ideas under discussion and support those judgments with convincing evidence. Organization and Delivery of Oral Communication (Grades Nine and Ten)

1.3 Choose logical patterns of organization (e.g., chronological, topical, cause and effect) to inform and to persuade, by soliciting agreement or action, or to unite audiences behind a common belief or cause.

1.6 Present and advance a clear thesis statement and choose appropriate types of proof (e.g., statistics, testimony, specific instances) that meet standard tests for evidence, including credibility, validity, and relevance.

1.7 Use props, visual aids, graphs, and electronic media to enhance the appeal and accuracy of presentations.

Analysis and Evaulation of Oral and Media Communications (Grades Nine and Ten) Using the speaking strategies of grades nine and ten outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0, students:

2.1. Deliver narrative presentations: a. Narrate a sequence of events and communicate their significance to the audience. b. Locate scenes and incidents in specific places. c. Describe with concrete sensory details the sights, sounds, and smells of a scene and the specific actions, movements, gestures, and feelings of characters. d. Pace the presentation of actions to accommodate time or mood changes.

2.2 Deliver expository presentations: a. Marshal evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant perspectives. b. Convey information and ideas from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently. c. Make distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas. d. Include visual aids by employing appropriate technology to organize and display information on charts, maps, and graphs. e. Anticipate and address the listener's potential misunderstandings, biases, and expectations. f. Use technical terms and notations accurately.

2.3 Apply appropriate interviewing techniques: a. Prepare and ask relevant questions. b. Make notes of responses. c. Use language that conveys maturity, sensitivity, and respect. d. Respond correctly and effectively to questions. e. Demonstrate knowledge of the subject or organization. f. Compile and report responses. g. Evaluate the effectiveness of the interview.

Science Standards

Physics Motion and Forces

1. Newton's laws predict the motion of most objects. Conservation of Energy and Momentum

2. The laws of conservation of energy and momentum provide a way to predict and describe the movement of objects. Heat and Thermodynamics

3. Energy cannot be created or destroyed although in many processes energy is transferred to the environment as heat.

Chemistry Nuclear Processes

11. Nuclear processes are those in which an atomic nucleus changes, including radioactive decay of naturally occurring and man-made isotopes, nuclear fission, and nuclear fusion. As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: a. protons and neutrons in the nucleus are held together by strong nuclear forces which are stronger than the electromagnetic repulsion between the protons. b. the energy release per gram of material is much larger in nuclear fusion or fission reactions than in chemical reactions: change in mass (calculated by E=mc^2) is small but significant in nuclear reactions.

Biology/Life Sciences Cell Biology

1. Fundamental life processes of plants and animals depend on a variety of chemical reactions that are carried out in specialized areas of the organism's cells.


6. Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects. As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: a. biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms, and is affected by alterations of habitats. b. how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of non-native species, or changes in population size. c. how water, carbon, and nitrogen cycle between abiotic resources and organic matter in the ecosystem and how oxygen cycles via photosynthesis and respiration. d. a vital part of an ecosystem is the stability of its producers and decomposers. e. at each link in a food web, some energy is stored in newly made structures but much is dissipated into the environment as heat and this can be represented in a food pyramid.

Earth Sciences Earth's Place in the Universe

1. Astronomy and planetary exploration reveal the structure, scale, and change of the solar system over time. As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: a. how the differences and similarities among the sun, the terrestrial planets, and the gas planets may have been established during the formation of the solar system. b. evidence from Earth and moon rocks for the solar system's formation from a nebular cloud of dust and gas approximately4.6 billion years ago. c. evidence from geological studies of the Earth and other planets that the early Earth was very different from today. d. evidence that the planets are much closer than the stars. e. the sun is a typical star and is powered by nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to form helium. f. evidence for the dramatic effects of asteroid impacts in shaping the surface of planets and their moons, and in mass extinctions of life on Earth. g.* evidence for the existence of planets orbiting other stars.

2. Earth-based and space-based astronomy reveals the structure, scale, and change over time of stars, galaxies and the universe.

Energy in the Earth System

4. Energy enters the Earth system primarily as solar radiation and eventually escapes as heat. As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: a. the relative amount of incoming solar energy compared with Earth's internal energy and the energy used by society. b. the fate of incoming solar radiation in terms of reflection, absorption, and photosynthesis. c. the different atmospheric gases that absorb the Earth's thermal radiation, and the mechanism and significance of the greenhouse effect.

5. Heating of Earth's surface and atmosphere by the sun drives convection within the atmosphere and oceans, producing winds and ocean currents.

Investigation and Experimentation

1. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept, and to address the content the other four strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will: d. formulate explanations using logic and evidence. g. recognize the use and limitations of models and theories as scientific representations of reality. m. investigate a science-based societal issue by researching the literature, analyzing data, and communicating the findings. n. know that when an observation does not agree with an accepted scientific theory, sometimes the observation is mistaken or fraudulent.

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Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): David Tillay (vhsdtillay@hotmail.com) Linda Nelson (vhsivaloo@hotmail.com) Scott Hopgood (scotthopgood@hotmail.com)
School: Vallejo High School, Vallejo, Ca.
Created: February 15, 2001 - Updated: December 28, 2002
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w01/projects/survivor/presentation.html