Grade Level: 2
Authentic Student Task:
My second graders study plants as part of our science unit. The students conduct many experiments using lima beans and other seeds. One of the common experiments is to vary the amount and type of fertilizer in an effort to see which one helps the plant the most. Another experiment is to vary the type of liquid used to feed the plant. Students will be placed in teams to plan and conduct an experiment to see which conditions or fertilizers will produce the greatest plant growth.
Hook: Students love growing plants. It is an engaging activity.
Student-Directed Learning: Students choose the type of seeds, fertilizer, and liquid they use in their experiments from the items on a table in the back of the classroom..
Best Use of Technology:
Teams will use electronic media such as CDs and the Internet to find out about plants and how they grow.
Authentic Task: Experimenting with plants is appropriate for your grade level. When you develop your hook to create a need for the students to feel compelled to complete the task, you will be off and running!
Assessment: How will you assess the students during their experimentations? How will they use the information that they gather? How will you know if they have accomplished the learner outcomes?
Hook: Some students do enjoy growing plants, but it is imperative that the students have a need to construct these experiments, not just want to grow plants. If we create a need for them to know and do this task, their high level of interest will be maintained throughout the unit. How are you going to "hook" the students into wanting and needing to accomplish the task or project about plants?
Student Direction: What opportunities have you provided for the students to direct their own learning? Will you be structuring the experiments the students will be conducting, or will you be allowing the students to create and design the experiments? When the students are researching questions, will these be student-generated questions?
Best Use of Technology: How will you use the Internet as more than an encyclopedia? Remember the most dynamic projects use two-way communication. Is their any way to include mentors or experts in your project? Is there a way students can assist an expert or work with other students in an online project?
Grade Level: 2
Authentic Task: The task will require students to plan, communicate, and conduct experiments for the Survival Garden Project.
Hook: The students have been invited to work on the Survival Garden Project with a group of students in Africa who are also studying plants at their school. Their village leaders will use the knowledge they gain from this project to grow food for the village. Since livelihood of the Africans depends on growing food for everyone, they must know the best techniques for strong and plentiful yields.
Student Direction: The students will create a list of questions they want to learn about plants. After learning about plants, the students will design and conduct experiments to discover how to grow healthy and strong plants. They will then plan a presentation in which they share the conclusions and learnings from their work.
Best Use of Technology: Students will communicate via e-mail with the students in Africa. They will combine the data from both classes, look for patterns and trends, and assist each other in answering additional questions. They will also communicate with experts at Bradley Hydroponics, the mentors in the Survival Garden Project. The students will share the results of their experiments on our school home page.
Assessment: Students will create a poster that explains the results of their analysis.
Authentic Student Task: Students are studying water and air pollution in their community. They will be collecting air and water samples to analyze the quality.
Hook: The students have read articles in the local newspaper about the water quality being poor. Pollution is an issue that affects all of us.
Student Direction: Students will be assigned to a group to research an important environmental issue concerning water pollution.
Best Use of Technology: The students will use the Internet to research their environmental issues and look for articles about air and water pollution. They will create a HyperStudio stack reflecting their solution to the issue.
Assessment: Your assessment matches your outcomes, but what will the students need to create to demonstrate that they have met your outcomes? What checkpoints will you include so you will be able to know how they are progressing through their investigations?
Authentic Task: The content for the task is relevant and meaningful for students. Try to think of ways to have this project not "just one more environmental unit." Can you think of a way for students to take part in a community activity? When you develop your hook to create a need for the students to feel compelled to complete the task, you will be off and running!
Hook: How can you create a need for the students to want and need to complete this project? Some students find researching the environmental issues interesting, while others don't feel that it is relevant to their daily lives. What hook can you create that makes them feel that their work will actually make a difference in the community?
Student Direction: What opportunities have you provided for the students to direct their own learning? Will you be selecting the tests the students will conduct, or will the students create and devise their own? Who decides which environmental issues will be investigated? Will the students have a choice of the product they create?
Best Use of Technology: How will you use the Internet as more than an encyclopedia? Remember the most dynamic projects use two-way communication. Is there any way to include mentors or experts in your project? HyperStudio is a good application for students to use. The form of technology should match the audience. Will you facilitate other ways for students to create the products of their learning?
Grade Level: 5
Authentic Student Task: Students will take part in the DuPage County Conservation Foundation Stream Monitoring Project. They will be invited to select a site on a local stream or river and collect samples and conduct stream monitoring several times during the school year. This information will be shared with the Conservation Foundation, other schools, and our community.
Hook: A representative from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will come to the class with posters and maps of the local watershed. He will discuss the current health of the watershed and how it affects the people in the community. He invites the students to participate in the project.
Student Direction: Students will contact and work with schools investigating the river quality at sites above and below theirs. They will share data, procedures, and investigate the differences in their results. The students will study the maps from the Forest Preserve District and select the site they will study. Students form interest groups and they plan and organize their testing and compile their results. The students will meet with representatives of the Forest Preserve District to compare and discuss results collected from their river monitoring.
Best Use of Technology: The students will contribute their results to a growing pool of data found at Web site of the Conservation Foundation. They will select a form of technology to use to present to the classrooms in the school what they have learned about how all students can help improve the quality of the watershed.
Grade Level: 8
Subject: Math, Science, Art, Business
Assessment: Students will be graded on their ability
to scan pictures and make a PowerPoint. They will draw pictures
of their retail shops to be graded, too.
Authentic Student Task: Students will open a retail/service business in an abandoned mall. They will compose business letters, make business cards and advertisements.
Hook: Students will be able to choose their own retail shop so that they will be eager to complete the project.
Student Direction: Students will draw cards to be randomly assigned jobs in the company.
Best Use of Technology: The Internet will be used to
find information about retail opportunities.
Student Direction: How can you open up the project so that students will have greater control of what they spend their time investigating? Are their issues relating to business and science that they may want to select for special attention in their research?
Best Use of Technology: How will this project depend upon the Internet for more than research? Is there a way to collaborate with other schools, mentors, or experts?
Grade Level: 8
Subject: Math, Consumer Economics
Assessment: Students will create a Web page or PowerPoint presentation to the Pleasantville Village Board to share their learning. Each student will keep a daily plan indicating what they learned each day, where they will start the next day, and what questions they still have to answer. Students will conference with the teacher twice a week to share accomplishments and get guidance where needed. There will be a 'Hot Topics/Questions' chart on the wall in the classroom for students to post issues or questions that need to be addressed so that I can guide my students most effectively.
Authentic Student Task: Students will present to the Pleasantville Village Board a plan to redevelop a recently purchased, abandoned mall.
Hook: Pleasantville has purchased an abandoned mall and wants to turn it into a community center. Pleasantville is inviting community organizations to offer plans for redevelopment of this property. Here is your opportunity to add to your community the one thing you have always dreamed of having. How can you redevelop this property? What does your community need? How would this community help young people?
In order to create the kind of center that kids will really use, the Committee for Mall Development is accepting plans for the center's development. What will the center look like? What will be included in the center so that all kids will find something of interest to occupy their time? How much will it cost? How can you be certain that you have designed the best center to meet the needs of your community?
Student Direction: They will determine what needs to be included in the community center in Pleasantville, and the media resources they will use in their presentation. Students will design and create a needs assessment and then determine how to collect the data.
Best Use of Technology: Students will research and
investigate their topics, work with experts, and contact
developers of recreational/community centers in other cities.
Students will use the Internet to compile data and communicate
with youth from other communities that have youth centers. They
will find out what features other centers have, which features
have been most used and well liked, which features have caused
problems and what the costs have been. The students will also
have the opportunity to present their findings/proposals on the
community Web site so that they can receive feedback from the
community about their proposal.