I begin this class with a PowerPoint about Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV), a disease devastating to cattle ranchers worldwide. Since I live in a rural agricultural area where farming and ranching are still the primary occupations of many of our families, this subject is very engaging and relevant for my students as explained in my video. After my presentation I tell my students that over the next two days they will be researching, analyzing and making decisions about how to cope with BVDV or another cattle disease of their choice. This two-day lesson gives my students an opportunity to apply probability to an in-depth analysis of the decision making process.
For the first day of this lesson my students spend their time working with a partner of their choice to collect data and information about a specific cattle disease. I have a classroom set of chromebooks student use for their research.
As I distribute the Cattle Killers Research challenge, and ask if there are any questions, I tell student that they will have about 40 minutes to complete their research. (MP1) While they're working I walk around offering encouragement and redirection as needed. I anticipate that some teams will struggle with sorting through the different sources available, especially those written as formal research documents. For those students I suggest a more specific search question like "What does it cost to vaccinate a cow for ***" filling in with whatever disease they're researching. I've also included a teacher resource with websites about cattle diseases you might choose to use.
I close this lesson by having students decide what additional information they need to collect before class tomorrow and who will be responsible for getting it. This may sound simple, but I've found that integrating explicit directions as a part of my lesson prevents or at least reduces the instances where students come to the next class unprepared.