Grade Level: 2 - 4
Abstract: The focus of the Vital Signs project is to promote
good health in our young people. It is the goal of the Vital Signs
project that students everywhere will contribute to promoting
good health decisions. Through the use of telecommunications,
students will research health related topics such as good nutrition,
exercise, and basic body functions. They will analyze three
research data and distribute it through the use of the Internet.
The World Wide Web will assist students in communication with
experts in related health fields. Electronic mail will be
used in collaborative research effort between communities around
the world. Students will have the opportunity to conduct
health related research, discuss their findings, and present solutions
for problems that are facing their generation.
Vital Signs is designed as a year long study unit for grades 2-4. Although the focus of the project is physical science, Vital Signs will address additional curricular areas, such as language arts, mathematics, social studies, physical education, and geography. It will reinforce the importance of critical thinking skills in our students and will address the needs of the information age learner.
Learner Description/Environment: Students will participate in various settings for this project. Each week, team members will join their group in a classroom science lesson, a laboratory experiment, and a technology session where their findings will be published on the "Vital Signs" web page. An interactive program is being designed to average data and graph input from classrooms around the world. Groups will be heterogeneous and consist of 4 - 6 students per team.
Time Frame: This will be an on-going unit through-out the year. A major presentation is due in March. Students will participate in three 45 minute class periods per week. One classroom session, one technology session and one science lab period.
Rationale: The emphasis of this project is that of science, technology and society. In this emphasis, the purpose of school health sciences is to create citizens who understand their responsibility for their health in ways that will enable them to participate intelligently in critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making about how science and technology should be used to promote healthy communities. The curriculum is human, society, and health focused, problem centered and responsive to local issues. Problems to be investigates are selected for their relevance to student's lives and are multidisciplinary in nature.
Learner Outcomes: Vital Signs will prepare students for the information age in which they live. Outcomes will include; 1) content knowledge, 2) procedural knowledge, 3) ability to monitor, use and control thinking skills and 4) an positive attitude toward using thinking skills and knowledge. Critical thinking skills have been identified as the most important skills necessary for success in the 21st century.
Alignment with Standards: This unit will directly link to the Minnesota graduation Standards in the areas of Decision Making, Inquiry, Science, Mathematics, and Writing and Speaking.
Structure of the Learning:
Content: Grade 2-4 Science -The Human Body. Including, but not limited to; the Central Nervous System, the Circulatory System and the Respiratory System.
Process: Classroom investigations, laboratory experiments, and technological components conducted in cooperative group settings with small teams of students.
Product: The final product of this project will be for students to gather and analyze data received throughout the year. Independent group investigations of the systems of the human body and information received from expert health field professionals will all be compiled into a presentation which will be presented to peers and parents in our annual "Vital Signs" Health Fair.
Assessment: Assessment will be on-going throughout the projects. A rubric has been designed with input from the students which will help measure progress and engaged learning techniques. Point values have been assigned to the projects required of the students.
Project/Unit Evaluation: Much of this project will be evaluated qualitatively through the use of surveys, student and teacher journals, group discussions, lab participation, and the final group presentation for the "Vital Signs" health fair in March.