This is the second and third days of the culminating project for my Introduction to Science unit, where the students are tasked to use the different learning experiences to create their own scientific method and engineering design process.
This project is about developing the 21-Century Skills of critical thinking and problem solving as it requires the students to be able to organize, analyze and synthesize information to develop well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, and to judge them against relevant criteria. Students will need to consider different alternatives and the practical consequences of their decisions.
The students work in partnerships of their own choosing that were established on the first day, and presentations are held on the fourth day. During this time, students are mostly working independently.
The links to the project take you to the project page I created using WIX. You will also find the same documents as word documents so that you can modify them to fit your needs.
The project was presented very briefly on Day 1 of the unit, but it was not unpacked, nor did we go through a formal "need to know" phase. In this case, I wanted to expose the students to different experiences where they could build a solid knowledge base, so that the finished projects could be based on the activities and knowledge they acquired through them as opposed to what they could find on a textbook or internet research.
Before students get back in their partnerships and continue the work they began yesterday, I ask that they bring out their completed project plan sheet and identify their goals for today (rough drafts of their diagrams and word descriptions, and two articles chosen).
I then invite the students that would like help in the "include two articles (printed), annotated to indicate the "steps" of the process as they correspond to your poster" task to join me in the front of the room. Once everyone is settled, I walk the mini-workshop students through an example of the annotation. The goal of this task if for the students to be able to analyze an article to determine the process used to gain the information presented (Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information - specifically deriving meaning from scientific text).
The intent of the mini-workshops is to differentiate the instruction. Students who join me in the mini-workshops are responsible for sharing the knowledge gained with their partners so they can work together on the project.
Listen as a student explains her annotation process:
Before students get back in their partnerships and continue their work, I ask that they bring out their completed project plan sheet and identify their goals for today (finished posters, articles annotated).
I also have the students open the rubric once more, and have them use it as a guide as they finalize their projects. If there were any mini-workshop requests, I address them.
As the students are completing their projects I am circulating the room with rubric in hand, asking the students to show me where they are on the rubric and giving feedback.
Take a look at how a student pair feels things are going midway through the project.
During project workdays, it is key for the teacher to visit with every team more than once, providing pointed directions in order to catch problems before presentation day. As I am circulating I am looking for problems in organization, projects that wander off-topic or that demonstrate superficial understanding, student partnerships that might not be sharing the work-load or projects that do not meet the requirements.