This project involves groups of students in an investigation of endangered species at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Students are asked to take a field trip (either virutal or actual) to discover what species are in jeopardy and what resources are in place to save the population. Students use technology to communicate with experts and research the most current statistics. The ultimate goal of the mission is to adopt an endangered species and disseminate relevant information about the species to the neighboring community. The project can be used as a model to investigate any community's endangered species and provide the community with information.
The learner is an average fifth grade student (although grades four through seven could participate) including special education students following an inclusion model. Groups will be chosen randomly using a popsicle draw. Each group will consist of a recorder, a typist, a collector, a display designer and a coordinator. The recorder will be responsible for keeping a record of the group ideas, plans, and assignments. The typist will be the student who enters the components into the computer. The collector will keep a list of materials for the group presentation and web page development. The display designer will be responsible for designing the format of the charts, graphs, and web page with input from the entire group. The coordinator will make sure that the group is on track and where it should be in the timeline. The teacher should be flexible and while guiding the students, should allow them to encounter some problems and make some mistakes so they can reevaluate their strategies and find new ways to explore the issues.
This project is designed to take approximately ten weeks to complete. Students will invest three forty minute periods per week to complete the activities involved in the project.
Students will create a source of current information and data to communicate to the community and other students the current status of endangered species in the community. In order to accomplish this, we will be taking a trip to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in the spring. We will be looking for endangered species at the lakeshore for our school to adopt. The students need to determine what species are at risk, what caused them to become endangered, and what groups are involved in protecting them.
Students will be encouraged to explore the topic in many directions beginning with the definitions of endangered species at both the local and federal levels. They will be guided to specific web sites, but prodded to explore resources that they discover on their own through the use of various search engines. (An anciliary project could be to compare the results of various search engines). The teacher will act as a co-learner and explorer in the project. Student input will be the directing factor even if it does not immediately produce the intended results.
The students will produce an informational web page about their endangered species and the process by which they discovered it. They will also produce an informational brochure to inform the community about the endangered species in the area. These two components will be produced using computer generated materials. A culminating activity will involve an oral presentation which will be videotaped.
Students will gather the most current data and correspond with experts from various state, local and gederal government agencies. Students will use e-mail, chats, and other web sites to communicate with experts from clubs and organizations involved in the protection of endangered species. Students will use e-mail to communicate with other schools near the National Lakeshore to compare different areas along the Indiana and Illinois shore. Students will invite other classes to participate in the project and compare results. Students will participate in a continuously growing information base.
(1) The students will participate in an informal pre and post test consisting of an oral discussion with in instructor. The instructor will rate the growth during the term of the project.
(2) Students will keep a daily journal about the progress of their projects and their observations while doing their research.
(3) Students will submit a summary page listing three personal insights which they developed as a result of doing their project.
(4) Each group will do an oral presentation of their investigations which will be videotaped and reviewed by other class members.
(5) Students will design self-assessments and use a teacher designed rubric for rating the effectiveness of other group presentations.
(6) Students will rate the level of cooperation demonstrated by their own group members.
Participating teachers will complete a survey to evaluate components of the project including the appropriateness of the time frame, the value of the field trip, the effectiveness of the group work, the level of communication with experts, and the best use of the internet. Participating teachers will fill out their own pre and post evaluations.
Illinois State Goal 11 (Science): Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments and solve problems.
- 11.A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.
- 11.A.2a. Formulate questions on a specific science topic and choose the steps needed to answer the question.
- 11.A.2b Collect data for investigations using scientific process skills including observing, estimating and measuring.
- 11.A.2c Construct charts and visualizations to display data.
- 11.A.2d Use data to produce reasonable explanations.
- 11.A.2e Report and display the results of individual and group investigations.
- 11.B Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of technological design.
- 11.B.2a Identify a design problem and propose possible solutions.
- 11.B.2b Develop a plan, design a procedure to address the problem identifying constraints.
- 11.B.2c Build a prototype of the design using available tools and materials.
- 11.B.2f Report test design, test process and test results.
Illinois State Goal 12 (Science): Understand the fundamental concepts, principles and interconnections of the life, physical and earth/space sciences.
- 12.A. Know and apply concepts that explain how living things function, adapt and change.
- 12.A.2a Describe simple life cycles of plants and animals and the similarities and differences in their offspring.
- 12.B. Know and apply concepts that describe how living things interact with each other and with their environment.
- 12.B.2a Describe relationships among various organisms in their environments.
- 12.B.2b Identify physical features of plants and animals that help them live in different enviornments.
Illinois State Goal 13 (Science): Understand the relationships among science, technology and society in historical and contemporary contexts.
- 13.A Know and apply the accepted practices of science.
- 13.A.2c Explain why keeping accurate and detailed records is important.
- 13.B Know and apply concepts that describe the interaction between science, technology and society.
- 13.B.2e Identify and explain ways that technology changes ecosystems.
- 13.B.2f Analyze how specific personal and societal choices that humans make affect local, regional, and global ecosystems.
Illinois State Goal 10 (Mathematics): Collect, organize and analyze data using statistical methods; predict results; and interpret uncertainity using concepts of probability.
- 10.A Organize, describe and make predictions from existing data.
- 10.A.2a Organize and display data using pictures, tallies, tables, charts, bar graphs, line graphs, and line plots.
- 10.A.2c Make predictions and decisions based on data and communicate their reasoning.
- 10.B Formulate questions, design data collection methods, gather and analyze data and communicate findings.
- 10.B.2a Formulate questions of interest and select methods to systematically collect data.
- 10.B.2d Interpret results or make relevant decisions based on the data gathered.
Illinois State Goal 1 (English/Language Arts): Write to communicate for a variety of purposes.
- 1.A Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and structure.
- 1.B Compose well-organized and coherent writing for specific purposes and audiences.
- 1.C Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.
Illinois State Goal 4 (English/Language Arts): Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations.
- 4.B.2a Present oral reports to an audience using correct language and nonverbal expressions for the intended purpose and message within a suggested organizational format.
- 4C.3b Using available technology, produce compositions and multimedia works for specified audiences.