Goal: Communicate Data Clearly
Student Driven and Designed Assignment: As a team, students needed to decide what would be the best way to develop a document or presentation to share with the whole science class what their findings were. Building their experience through a presentation that is truly their own hopefully sows seeds of desire of understanding the value of further research in their quest for scientific truths about fossils.
I instructed my students in whole class to use any communication application on their iPad. Educreations is my favorite, but they could use a Google Doc or a simple video. However, it had to be done on one iPad and all had to work as a team to present their findings. They need to collaborate and use their team skills in order to produce a product at the end of the class.
I passed out their Group Presentation Checklist and explained each item and my expectations to them. I also explained that they needed to work together to decide which questions they had independently developed in their notebooks that were the richest to present. I helped them understand that they needed to show deep thinking about the process and the results through some questions I posted on the white board.
They needed to think about the following:
Where were the natural objects found? Are they fossils?
Where were the artifacts found?
Which objects are the oldest? Why do you think so?
Which objects are the newest? Why do you think so?
Moving on: As I finished up with this section of the lesson, I asked for questions and then reminded them o the guidelines of collaborating with their team. I reminded them that all should be heard when deciding on what to present.
Let the Collaboration Begin! Students worked together to finalize their classifications, discussing why they chose what they chose to include, and how they would explain it in their presentations. They referred to their notebooks and examined questions as they collaborated on which questions to use and choose. I roved the classroom to check on how they were doing with their classifications. I talked with students who shared ideas like..."WE think a caveman did this because they are really talented."
Creating the Educreations Presentation involved students taking photos of their work, talking about how they classified, working together to record their message on video. NOTE: Educreations does not let you download videos, so all the videos they took during the dig did not transfer into their presentation as I had hoped. But, Educreations has nice features where they can pause recording, draw on their photos, and re-record if necessary. They used their checklists to make sure they were including everything that was expected.
This lesson took the entire period because of the depth of discussion, the collaborative decisions and their desire to make the presentation their best. Sometimes it required for them to start again, re-record or think things through better. This supports not only the NGSS standard, but also CCSS speech and language standards! We are covering both and developing a mastery attitude!
I stopped students and surveyed who needed more time to finish. There were just two of the five groups that needed some extra time. I explained that tomorrow during science we would present our work to one another using Apple TV in the classroom and allow for questioning.
I asked them what the most challenging part of their work was today. The response? Deciding on the questions! One group shared that no one had come up with thick milkshake questions and that they realized that they need work on it! This shows that their collaborative learning helped them see their shortfall. I love it! This is what mastering standards and shifting the responsibility of learning is about!