This is day two of a lesson where students are given a real-world problem and information and time to collaborate in order to create a solution to the problem. The problem is that wildlife does not come to the school yard. How do we get them here. The problem is also very pertinent to the renovation that the school is doing on the playground where student's feedback may actually impact the design and development of the playground.
I remind students of what our focus is and that in the real world, the most successful plans are one that are developed from collaborating with other people. In this lesson, students are going to work with other students who have also taken notes and sketched a design for the playground.
After students have their notes out and their sketch of a playground layout that would bring wildlife to the school, I put them into small groups to collaborate and create a proposed design.
We create a set of expectations that will help members of the groups work together rather than argue. Some of the ideas students came up with is that they are going to each get to share one thing before discussing, without any interruption then members of the group may ask questions before moving on to the next person. Another expectation that everyone has to agree about what is being drawn on the poster and where it is being drawn, before any one gets to draw it. Finally, if there is a disagreement, the students who are disagreeing need to support their ideas with evidence from learning or from the notes they took. If necessary, they need to go all the way back to the reading and quote it.
Once some expectations were established, students worked together to create a proposal of what a space in the school yard would look like if we wanted to bring wildlife to our school yard.
When students were finished creating their posters of a designed ecosystem for wildlife, they were able to present it to the class. They had to point out key features of the space and state why it was important to include those things.
Not every student had to speak in the presentation but they all had to participate. One way they participated was to hold the sign and point out features while other students shared.
When everyone was done, the class debriefed on what was similar among all of the proposals and what was important about that element. Students were encouraged to share these proposals with their parents and the playground remodeling committee.