Prior to this lesson, I ask students to create four questions they would ask if they were to interview Mae C. Jemison. I use these questions to generate guiding questions for this project.
I begin this research project by introducing a Biography Research Promethean Flip Chart (see resource). I introduce students to our goal of gathering relevant information from provided sources. Since this is their first research project, I provide guiding questions to give focus to this activity. Common Core encourages students to find text based or multimedia evidence to support answers. Therefore, I provide sources from articles, videos, books and also distribute jump drives loaded with these sources and internet access from laptops. We discuss the learning progression via a Rubric or Scale that directly correlates with our goal. It is important for students to know where they are and how they can measure their own learning growth. It gives students ownership in their learning process. Also, having a learning progression posted demystifies teacher expectations.
As a motivational hook, I show a movie clip of Mae C. Jemison talking about her life. I select MC Jemison because she is a great example of someone who has accomplished so much. Her life is rich with ambitious endeavors that is admirable and gives hope for women and minorities. MC Jemison overcame obstacles to achieve, and that is inspiring to students. Sometimes, biographies have more meaning when the person tells about their on life in their own words.
To see this part of the lesson unfold, watch: Classroom Video: Routines and Procedures
Afterwards, we discuss milestones in MC Jemison's life. Since students are familiar with timelines and milestones, I start with a graphic representaton of a timeline that students filled out. See previous lesson on timeline and milestones: http://cc.betterlesson.com/lesson/517625/application-of-timelines-in-research?from=owner_view. Furthermore, I use a pre-test as an anticipation guide and to develop student curiosity for what they are about to learn. Responders are the tecnhology peripherals I integrate into this lesson. Common Core lessons need to integrate technology because our target audience are 21 Century students.
We review the students' previous lessons on text features and discuss their importance in finding information during shared research. I encourage students to use text features to facilitate locating relevant information embedded in resources asked via guiding questions. See the previous lessons on text features.
To see this part of the lesson unfold, watch: Classroom Video: Gradual Release
I introduce the class to a packet containing guiding questions and provided resources. I explain that students will work in their collaborative groups and we review group roles, norms, rules, and cooperation rubric that will also be used to rate their final performance (see resource). Each group will receive a packet that applies to their assigned area of research. We discuss the Jig Saw process and that each team will receive a certain part of MC Jemison's life to research. Following the timeline concept students had learned in earlier lessons, I group students into four categories Early Years, Middle Years, Later Years. The fourth category will research unusual facts. I provide a bubble map for each category to guide students in gauging the life spans for each category. Students at this age do not necessarily have a concept of the age span per each category. They are limited in their prior knowledge and experience to gauge milestones in these age categories. It is important to specify and clarify areas that are relevant per life span. Otherwise, misconceptions can occur. Using a graphic organizer simplifies this process.
Once students indicate they understand the expectations of this shared research project, I gradually release ownership of this activity to them. We use color cups to signal need for my assistance. I walk around to facilitate as each group works cooperatively to answer their guiding questions. The time keeper in each group is aware of the time limits (I give them approximately 20 minutes to work together). Each student has a copy of the Cooperation Rubric to guide their participation and contribution. I walk around with my flip camera to document their contributions as I videotape each group in action. This will be used later to rate ourselves on the Cooperation Rubric.
To see this part of the lesson unfold, watch: Classroom Video: Student Ownership
After students complete their collaborative research on their section of Biography Timeline (Early, Middle, Later LIfe of MC Jemison), students choose speakers from each group to share their findings. They discuss their answers to the guiding questions on their portion of the report. The fourth table shares their findings on any interesting facts they wish to add to MC. Jemison's life.
We also have a discussion about how each group rated themselves in the Cooperation Rubric (see resource). Brainstorming ways of improving our collaboration will also help future collaborations.
To see this part of the lesson unfold, watch: Classroom Video: Student Feedback
Our concluding activity is to retake the test as a post-test to see what knowledge students have gained after this research project. We use our responders so that I can show students the graphical representation of their answers per question. This serves as my feedback to their formative assessment. Using technology responders allow immediate feedback. Common Core integrates technology into the curriculum because the use of technology is predominant in 21st Century life. It is real world application.