Test Solution Project (#3 of 5)

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Students will design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.

Big Idea

Natural resources are precious and finite. It is important for students to be aware of environmental issues in their own backyard and imagine feasible solutions to problems that threaten them.

Learner Goals

Note: I recommend that you first check out this resource in order to get the most out of this lesson!

In high school I took several drafting classes and, for a while, I had hoped to become an architect. With respect to planning instruction and teaching, I feel that I can still live out the detailed approach to building something intricate and complex even though the product is a lesson rather than a certain "built environment".

The lesson-planning document that I uploaded to this section is a comprehensive overview of how I approach lesson planning. This template includes the "Big Three" aspects of the NGSS standards: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science Practices. Of course, there are many other worthy learning goals, skills, instructional strategies, and assessments that can be integrated into a class session. I don't feel compelled to check every box but, rather, use it as a guide to consider various options and tailor the lesson in light of these.

With regard to this particular lesson...

Students will propose two different strategies for improving the condition of an environmental problem in Washington State (both wildlife and human inhabitants) and explain methods used to test (evaluate) how well either solution might work.

I hope you get some value from my work!

Anticipatory Set ("Hook")

10 minutes

Link to Day #2...


The ubiquitous "Good Job"! Let's face it teachers. We write this far too often on student work. But what the heck does it mean? Good descriptive feedback is difficult to do and time consuming. Therefore, to steer away from this practice takes intentional focus especially as I want my students to get all "metacognitive" today!



Check for Understanding: In the introduction to today's work, I establish the following discussion prompt: "As a class, lets discuss the traits of good and poor quality feedback with related examples." I do this in preparation for the peer evaluation task to follow.


SMART Goal Setting (Tracker): Like the previous class period, students are prompted to consider the different requirements for their individual role (that contributes to the larger team project) and script out what needs to happen today to properly end on time.

Instructional Input/Student Activities

40 minutes

Teaching Challenge: How do I support students to persevere and grapple with complex tasks?

Teaching Challenge: How do I develop routines and procedures to support students to work independently in the science classroom?

Praise-Question-Polish (PQP): Using the PQP Evaluation strategy, students will peer-evaluate a given role according to how closely a partner’s work matches the description of the role and associated rubric.

So how best to go about getting kids to critique each other in authentic and meaningful ways? Not an easy task, for sure.

This strategy is built upon feedback conforming to three attributes: specific, measurable, and reasonable.

Do the evaluators comments include relevant details?

Do the comments highlight ways to increase the quality or quantity of some detail or a decrease in observed errors?

Are the remarks grounded in making reasonable changes in light of the knowledge, time, and skills that high school students have to improve their work?

As I thought about it, students could pair up in two fairly natural ways.

First Option: students could evaluate one another based on having the same role. For example, both students exploring the "Resolution Role (#4)" could pair up. In this way, each should know quite clearly what the job requires.

Second Option: students could intentionally choose to self-arrange in a "cross-role" fashion. The benefit here would be for a set of fresh eyes to look at the work done and compare it to the rubric and roles description without seeing over details that may elude someone who has been working on the topic for a few days so far. This speaks to the value of having someone far removed from an essay's prompt to peer review as many English courses require.

Honestly, I was split in making the decision and posed the question and options to my students. They quite effectively reasoned through the pros and cons of each and I let them decide what seemed to be the best route to take. One snafu that arose was having odd numbers of students in class. The odd one out just joined an existing pair and they did a three-way switch. I didn't see the solution myself but a student of mine did.

Teacher becomes student. So awesome!

Follow-Up: Based on specific feedback provided, student teams began refining and revising their work toward completing the individual portions of their research.

Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?

5 minutes

Every moment matters...

SMART Goal Tracker: How far along the process (0%-100%) did I (student) come today? It is imperative for both my students and me to keep our "eyes on the prize". What tasks not completed in class then become homework! HOORAY!


Note: Link here to see a given student (whom I call "Student A") recording her progress by the end of class on day #3.

Lesson Extension & Follow-Up Activities

Link to Day #4...

Each member is to complete their necessary research in order to submit to the team Editor for final editing and submission to instructor by the due date. Any work not completed toward completing the day's SMART Goal needs to be done at home.