Fermilab LInC Online

Rouge River Observation

Unit Description before LInC



Student Pages


Index of Projects

Grade Level: 6th

Subject: Science

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Learner will be able to identify habitats along the river
  2. Learner will identify interactions of organisms in the habitat
  3. Learner will identify organisms and their energy roles in the habitat
  4. Learner will pose a question about the river and demonstrate an understanding of the scientific process by proposing a hypothesis, doing some experiments and coming to some conclusions which will be shared with the class.
  5. Learner will demonstrate an ability to use hyperstudio and Powerpoint to present information.


Student Task: Throughout the course of the year the study of science is tied to the river running outside the classroom. Students study concepts of the environment and then identify them in the field. Assignments to sketch, find and describe were given throughout the year. Some field quizzes and field tests are also given. At the end of the year, the last trimester, students pick a question they have about the river and investigate that question by research and by testing their hypothesis outside. The results of this investigation is written up in a lab report and is presented to the class using Powerpoint, visual aids, the overhead and another support props they need. The report is discussed by the class as to its scientific validity and the reliability of the tests done.


Teacher Role: The teacher lectured to the students on various concepts that were required to meet the benchmarks of the school. Lectures were a small part of the learning. The learner took quizzes on some of the concepts, wrote reports that were researched in the library and on the Internet and turned in observations as directed by the teacher. These evaluations were "graded" by the teacher and the teacher made adjustments to help the students gain a better understanding of the key concepts. The first two trimesters were teacher directed with some flexibility for the students to express their own learning styles or interests.

The final project was assigned after a review of the scientific method. Students picked problems and began their investigation. There were timeline when parts of the project were to be accomplished. The due date was when the presentations began. The teacher supported the students with advice when asked for or when it was obvious that the students were going to waste a great deal of time and gain very little from it.

Grouping: A variety of grouping was used depending on the project or part of the project. The final project was grouped as the students wanted but they were restricted to pairs and in rare occasions, triples.

Hook: The teacher took the students out to the river early in the year to observe the river and find things most students had not seen before, nymphs, crayfish, nurse spiders, aphids and many other things sometimes new to the teacher. The hook is to really explore and see with new eyes and genuinely be excited about what is found.

Student-Directed Learning: The last trimester students had a project that was student directed and took about 5 weeks.

Use of Technology: Final reports are all word processed. Extensive use of the Internet is made all year in researching topics and Key Points. Hyperstudio is introduced early in the year and students keep track of what they learn and how it is connected using Hyperstudio. PowerPoint is introduced and used to do the presentation students give to the class. Excel is used to graph and chart data. Some students used email with people who were "experts".

Assessment: Rubrics were made for major assignments such as reports or tests. Students were given the rubrics when the projects or reports were assigned. Key point or concepts that needed to be learned were also given to the students when a new unit was introduced. Grades were given based on review of the project, presentation, or report rubric and how many points the student got for each area.

Back to the top .................................Current project summary

Pages for Students
Scientific Method
Web Research Form
Focusing Investigation
20 Questions
Table of content
Defining Questions
Splitting the Computer Screen
Rubric for Grading
Final Product
What to do Next

Pages for Teachers

Scenario Robinson
Scenario Schad
Pre-course project
Staff Development

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): Miles Robinson (mrobinson@cranbrook.edu), Brian Schad (schad@aaps.k12.mi.us )
Cranbrook Schools, Kingswood Girl's Middle School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Lawton Elementary Ann Arbor, Michigan
Created: February 15, 2001 - Updated: April 18, 2001
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w01/projects/yourfoldername/student.html