Fermilab LInC Online

Working Together to Improve
Our Community



Student Pages

Index of Projects

Title of Project/Unit: Working Together to Improve Our Community

Subject and Level: Interdisciplinary: Social Studies, Language Arts, Math. Grades 4 & 8.

Abstract:This purpose of this project is two fold; the students will study the government and assess issues that are important to the local community. The students will demonstrate an understanding of what they learned as they participate in the political process by writing letters to their representatives in all levels of government.

Learner Description: The school population is 98.8% Hispanic. Approximately 92.5% are considered low-income and 55.7% are considered L.E.P. (Limited English Proficient). Current enrollment is considered above the school's originally projected capacity. Class size averages between 33 and 36 students and are grouped heterogeneous. According to the Iowa test of Basic Skills scores 23.1% of students scored at or above the national norm in reading and 29.3% are at or above the national norm in math. Illinois Goals Assessment program test scores indicate 41% met or exceeded state expectations in reading, 67% in math, and 87% in writing.

Time Frame: The study of the government and community investigation will take place between 4-6 weeks and the culminating activity will be ongoing

Rational: The reasoning behind this project is to:

1) help the students understand the political process of our government.

2) have the students gather information that is important to the community after they have completed a study of the neighborhood.

3) help the students become participatory citizens in the political process by contacting representatives to express their personal concerns and that of the neighborhood.

Goals and Objectives:

The students will be able to identify and describe the responsibilities, rights, and privileges of American citizens including ways individuals and groups can influence political representatives.

Students are involved in activities that bring an awareness of the importance of being active participatory citizen. Students will identify and assess an issue that they feel is of importance in their community.

Students will search the Internet to research and find information related to the project. Students will use email to communicate with others to locate information regarding the project. They will use technology to design a presentation to provide information to others.

Alignment with Standards:

Language Arts

State Goal 1: Read with understanding and fluency.
State Goal 3: Write to communicate for a variety of purposes
State Goal 4: Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations.
State Goal 5: Use the language arts for inquiry and research to acquire, organize, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information.


State Goal 6: Demonstrate and apply a knowledge sense of numbers, including basic arithmetic operations, number, patterns, ratios, and proportions.
State Goal 7: Estimate , make, and use measurements of objects, quantities, and relationships and determine acceptable levels of accuracy.
State Goal 10: Collect, organize and analyze data using statistical methods to predict results and interpret uncertainty and change in practical applications.

Social Studies

State Goal 14: Understand, analyze, and compare political systems with an emphasis on the United States.
CAS A. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of government, especially the government of the United States, and the documents that helped frames those principles.
CAS B Identify and discuss the role, structure, and function of local, state, and federal governments (e.g., the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
CAS C. Identify and describe the district responsibilities, rights, and privileges of American citizens including ways in which individual and groups participate in the political process (e.g., principles of due process and civic responsibility)
CAS D. Compare and contrast ways in which individuals and groups contribute to and influence decision-making by local, state, and federal leaders and political institutions (e.g., public opinion, special interest groups, political parties, voting.

Structure of the Learning:

Content: The project involves using multidisciplinary inquiry of using the internet. Children will be developing their Language Arts, Social Studies and Math skills. Students will be involved in collaborating with peers from other grades, parents, and community leaders. Students will investigate and gain information from the internet and will communicate their ideas using email. They will use technology to present ideas to others.

Process: The fourth grade is using the Internet to identify characteristics of other communities to assist them in a study of their own community. They will use email to pose questions to gain information from other students in other communities. After an extensive study of their community and other communities they will focus on finding a solution to a need students have identified in the community.

The eight grade class is involved in a study of political process of their government. This will include political parties, congress, and the state legislature. Student will gain a greater understanding of how government works, the importance of being an involved United States citizen, and together with the fourth grade will become active in expressing their view on community issues.

The fourth and eighth grade students will collaborate and share information that they have gathered. Information will be compiled into a technology presentation which will be presented to the administration and parents of the Local School Council. This will motivate students to prepare a flyer in both Spanish and English to invite parents to a meeting. Students will use a rubric for peer evaluation of the slide show and flyer. Students will find the need to elect representatives to take this information to the monthly meeting. Parents and members of the council, fourth grade, and eight grade students will be given the survey to prioritize the communities need.

After the presentation we hope to get cooperation from the LSC members by allowing the students to form a committee of parents, students, and LSC members that would work towards accomplishing the need of the community. For example, if the need of an improved library is selected, the committee would perhaps decide to contact the Alderman for further guidance. The students, teachers, and parents will initiate a letter writing campaign to government representatives to bring attention to what is needed in the community become active citizens.

Product: The students will keep a portfolio which will contain their assignments, notes, and research findings. Some students will be working collaboratively to produce a variety of products such as slide show presentations, graphs, written flyers, and persuasive letters.

Assessment and Rubric: The rubric is based on a four point value grading system. Four points given to students performing substantially beyond expected standard, three points exceeds the standard, two points meets the standard, and 1 point does not meet the standard (some components are missing or lacking). The areas to be evaluated are research skills, mathematical content, writing skills, use of technology, and presentation.

Project/Unit Evaluation: The students will demonstrate their learning through the activities within the project. For example, students will evaluate each others presentations using the rubric. Evaluation will be ongoing through out the project. Evaluation of email skills, research, cooperative learning skills will be assessed through the entire process. The rubric will serve as an evaluation of the individual activities that will be kept in a portfolio (see the assignment page). It is our highest hopes that the unit evaluation will be some action from our representatives that we have contacted regarding our concerns such as a letter of response, a visit to the school, even a building of a new library or an addition to the school.

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermilab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Author(s): Mary Kay Lange, mlange@liwi.dep.anl.gov,\
Rosalva Martinez, rmartinez@liwi.dep.anl.gov,
Marlene Woytonik, mwoytonik@liwi.dep.anl.gov,
School: Eli Whitney School, Chicago, Illinois
Created: October 30 1997 - Updated:
URL: /lincon/f97projects/yourfolder/present.html