Index of Projects
Grade Level: 10
The students design and maintain a zoo website. They research, classify, and provide habitats for different animals. They interact with experts in the animal field, such as zoo keepers, veterinarians, and zoology professors. The students communicate with other students from around the world to learn about new animals to add to their zoo.
The students involved in this project are in the Basic Biology classes at LaSalle-Peru Township High School in LaSalle, Illinois. Basic Biology is an introductory level biology class for sophomores. The class size is usually around 20 students. Generally, the students have lower abilities in both math and reading. Many are diagnosed with learning disabilities. The students have access to five networked computers in the classroom.
The students begin this project at the start of the second semester and continue with it until the end of the school year.
One of the major units in the Basic Biology curriculum is Classification and the Animal Kingdom. Typically, the students look forward to learning about the different animals, but then realize it is a lot of memorization of structures and functions. As a teacher, I have been trying to get away from this rote memorization. This zoo project allows the students to integrate what they are learning in the classroom in a real project. The students apply their knowledge to their zoo website. The students look for answers to their own questions instead of finding answers to my questions. We also include Ecology (habitats) into the project, so the students can build on their knowledge from the first semester.
The students use technology throughout this project. They use computer reference tools (i.e. SIRS), CD-rom encyclopedias, and the Internet for research. They e-mail experts in the animal field. They use Power Point and Hyperstudio for classroom presentations. They create a homepage for their zoo. Once their zoo is created, they communicate with other students from around the world to add animals and habitats to their zoo.
Learner Outcomes: After completing this project, the students will be able to:
1. Classify animals into their correct phylums
2. Understand the major characteristics of the Animal Kingdom.
3. Design habitats to meet the needs of the animals in the zoo.
4. Create their own homepage.
Alignment with Standards:
1. Technology is integral in the curriculum.
2. Understand scientific classification systems.
3. Understand the effect of the environment on plant and animal life.
Structure of the Learning:
Content: The student's textbook only has two chapters devoted to the Animal Kingdom. By doing this project and using the Internet, the students are exposed to many more types of animals than are even mentioned in their book. By interacting with other students, they have the opportunity to not only learn more biology, but also to learn about people from other parts of the world.
Process: The students work in groups to research Animal Kingdom phylums, biomes, habitats, and animals. For their research, the students use the Internet, CD-roms, SIRS, and e-mail to various experts. The students present/teach their research findings to the class. For their presentations, the students use Power Point or Hyperstudio. Throughout the project, the teacher is a facilitator: asking questions, redirecting groups, obtaining needed supplies, etc. Each day the students write in their journals about what they found, questions they have, and problems/solutions. The teacher collects these for assessment along with general observations of the groups.
Product: The students create and maintain a website for their zoo.
Assessment: The students are assessed in the following ways:
1. General Observation/Asking Questions
2. Daily Journals
3. Student-developed rubrics for the following:
- Phylum Presentations
- Biomes created on the webpage
- Maintaining the website
The students have many opportunities throughout the project to peer review each other's work. The students can then make improvements to their project before its final assessment.
Project/Unit Evaluation: To be completed after the students finish the project.
Author: Rebecca Potratz (firstname.lastname@example.org) School: LaSalle-Peru Township High School, LaSalle, Illinois Created: May 10 1998- Updated: URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w98/projects/zoo/present.html