Creating a model to show how light works in our eye gave students an opportunity to make choices about how they could demonstrate their understanding of how light energy works in our eyes so that we can see. So that they fully understood what was expected, I gave them their Model Eye Assessment Rubric. I asked them to read along with me as I went over every aspect of the rubric with them so that they understood my expectations. I emphasized level 4 in each category, and what would make the best quality model and presentation. I explained that the rubric was in two parts and that the presentation needed to be authentic. I told them that they needed to practice explaining how the eye uses light to see. All parts needed to be labeled either on the model or on a document that may accompany it.
We talked about different materials they could use for the model. I told them that they needed to keep it small enough to carry and that I would not accept a purchased model. It needed to be created from scratch. I encouraged them to ask their parents for the materials, but I expected that the work was done entirely by them. I assigned this a week ahead so that they would have plenty of time to gather materials and work on it. I scheduled it to be due on a Monday, giving them two full weekends. I checked with them throughout the week to assess how it was going. After their presentation, I will use my Cafe Pensieve to record their progress and conference with them personally after their presentation. This assessment tool is great because you can design it to fit each student. I use this tool across the curriculum.
After the week had passed and the project was due, students brought in their work with much excitement! It was great to see that every student finished up their assignment on time. I think I allowed the right amount of time for them because each project was done with great care. One student was so excited to show me his model, he couldn't wait to present it and began explaining it to me on the spot. ( You can see the other student waiting to start in the the background.) He talked about how much time it took him and exactly how it came apart. I filmed it because it was so genuinely enthusiastic.
As we began sharing our projects, I explained that a good presentation flows naturally and that they should just tell about what they knew using their model and materials. I asked each of them to give me their rubric so I could grade them as they presented. Each student took turns presenting as we saw one good presentation after another. I supported one student who had developed an incredible model and who is shy, by standing next to her and pointing to parts of her model as she explained. It closed in the presentation a little, making it feel more like a one on one conversation as she demonstrated complete knowledge. Others could just get up and take complete control over their speaking. It was a way to address individual needs because public speaking can be so intimidating for some. I really enjoyed watching my students encourage each other and be so attentive in their listening to one another. Assessing their knowledge like this is fantastic!