In this lesson, I describe how to manage this project based multi-day learning experience. The development of the products for the Human Body 2.0 project usually takes my students around 10 days, and assumes that the students have comprehensive knowledge on each of 8 body systems and have suggested an area of redesign for each, and participated in the Brainstorm lesson.
The students follow the engineering design process as they attempt to answer the question, "How would scientists go about redesigning the human creature in order to get the most efficiency out of him?" Throughout this process, they are acquiring practice in the following science and engineering practices:
SP1: Define a problem - as they identify and suggest an body system that "requires a redesign"
SP2: Develop and use models - as they develop their redesign idea and predict the behaviors of the new system. These predicted behaviors will encourage students to determine cause and effect relationships (i.e. When I change ___, I can expect ___). (CCC Cause and Effect)
SP6: Design solutions - as they work on their redesign idea, revisiting several possible solutions. The redesign illustrates to students how function depends on shape and the relationship between a system's parts. (CCC Structure and Function)
SP7: Engage in argument from evidence - as they formulate evidence based on data and collaborate with each other in searching for the best explanation. They will collaboratively write an argument essay defending their redesign (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1)
SP8: Obtain, evaluate and communicate information - as they present their work communicating their redesign clearly and engage in discussions with peers during each workday. Their final product will be formally presented (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.4), and is expected to include multimedia (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.5).
The goal is for all students to be able to participate in the Human Body 2.0 project. However, as previously explained this is not always possible. Students that did not complete their posts and suggestions will continue to work on their blog posts until completion. Once they are done, they are asked to visit the "ABC" project, and follow the directions and requirements to design a board game. Students who create the board game will gain practice in the following science and engineering practices:
SP6: Design solutions - as they develop the game. Specific requirements of the board game will encourage students to determine how function depends on shape and the relationship between a system's parts. (CCC Structure and Function)
SP7: Engage in argument from evidence - as they formulate their questions and answers and test them with each other.
SP8: Obtain, evaluate and communicate information - as they develop the information they obtain into an engaging playable game. Their final product will also be formally presented (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.4), and include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and to clarify information (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.5).
Using the exit tickets from the day before and what I know about my students abilities, work ethic and learning styles, I create foursomes before the project work days begin.
Once the students are in groups, I display the Design Page of the Human Body 2.0 website. I ask students to "help" read through the web page and clarify expectations as needed. I then open the Design Brief and show students the Project Team Roles:
For this project I decided to define the team roles myself rather than have the students create/choose in order to help students manage the work. The different parts of this project require constant communication between teammates, and a steady pace in the work. By defining the roles, I am trying to avoid potential communication issues within the team. Ideally the roles will rotate on a daily basis, however given the time constraints of our class sessions, a student may keep a role for a couple of days if the team believes that it is in their best interest to keep things going.
On the first day, I share my suggested time table with the students. We read through it together and use chart paper to create/agree on the schedule that will work for the current group of students. This chart is kept up for the duration of the project, and we use it to mark down the days. Students have access to this suggested time table on the Human Body 2.0 website:
I find that when doing a project of this magnitude, students need guidelines for what they are supposed to be doing. This cuts down on the "I'm doing research", which then leads to nowhere. It also helps instill a sense of urgency to the work. Students realize that the project will not lag on forever. The key is defining with the students how long the project will last (I suggest no more than 13 class periods), and what the daily workload looks like.
Note to Teachers: This year, my students could not agree on the daily expectations, so I had them develop a timetable for themselves, working backwards from the due date and using the suggested table as a guide (HB Timetable 1, HB Timetable 2).
As the students enter, the "press secretary" (or individual student if working on board game) picks up a copy of the daily work report. The agenda for the first project work day is:
1. Meet with team to determine goals for the day. "Press secretary" writes these down on the daily work report sheet. (5 minutes)
2. Once goals are determined, students work independently/collaboratively and perform the tasks required to meet the goals. (40 minutes)
3. Meet with team to review/write down accomplishments, next steps and questions or concerns on the daily work report sheet. (10 minutes)
4. Before leaving, the "press secretary" submits the daily work report to the teacher. (1 minute)
On all subsequent days, the "press secretary" also picks up the previous day's daily work report, and the team spends 5 minutes taking action on the feedback provided (see next section).
I use paper copies of the daily work report, however, I also ask students to submit electronic copies of their drafts. This is the responsibility of the checker (see Group Roles).
Note to teachers: The students speak about their experiences on each of the work days: Workday 2, Workday 3, Workday 4, Workday 5, Workday 6, Workday 7, Workday 8. The videos tell the story of their work, and provide insight into how their thinking changed throughout the process and how they tackled different aspects of the workload.
One of the key components of this type of project is that the students need to receive timely feedback on the work they are doing. The way I handle this is through the daily work report. Every evening while the project is running I go over each team's daily work report and offer suggestions, request that a draft is submitted for feedback to myself or to peer editors, invite members of the team to a meeting for the next day, etc. This really depends on what was submitted - sometimes no feedback is necessary other than "keep doing what you are doing".
I also include instructions to swap drafts with other teams, and ask students to provide feedback using the I like-I wish- I wonder strategy. This encourages students to become active participants in the feedback process, and provides opportunities for collegiate discussions about each other's work.
Students that creating a board game also submit a daily work report, for the same purposes.
This daily summative assessment allows me to keep track of where everyone is and helps to identify potential problems and correct them before presentations.
On the day before presentations, I require that the checkers for each team submit their electronic work to an assignment created on Edmodo for that purpose. This might include uploading of videos, sharing presentations and documents (essays), etc. Students who created a boardgame or developed models of their redesign must submit pictures of their work.
With the students still in the room, I click to open every submission to verify the validity of the URL's. This cuts down on wasted time on presentation day since we can move from one presentation to the next without having to switch computers or log into specific accounts.