The lesson begins with a review of the cell organelle project guidelines. From there, I ask the students what they remember about rubrics and we discuss the purpose of a rubric. I then have the students help me create a rubric for how they will be assessed on the organelle project.
To create the rubric, we review the activity guidelines, looking specifically at the wording of the items. I set up the rubric outline for the students, using the wording of the activity guidelines. For instance, the first item on the rubric is "organelle function is accurately defined." I have already determined the point values for this project, so we use a five point scale on the rubric with a multiplier of two for the items worth ten points. I ask the students to supply the descriptors for each of the point values on the rubric. I encourage the students to discuss their thoughts as we work through the process and they collaborate with one another to develop the descriptors. I maintain the general language used by the students as I type in the information. I use the SMARTBoard as I type, so the students can view the information as they discuss their ideas. Some of the descriptors on the cell organelle rubric are lacking in information as I only typed the general ideas stated by the students. We did discuss the specifics of the information for each descriptor and the students discussed examples of what type of information would meet the expectations for each level.
After creating the rubric, the students return to working on their projects. As the students work, I check in with each group, asking them to explain their project idea and how it relates to the information they wrote about their organelle on their activity instructions from the previous lesson. In this video of a student project explanation, I ask the students to explain their idea and I prompt them to use specific vocabulary. I check in with each group at least twice during their work time and I ask each group member at least one question while I am with the group. Asking questions of each group member helps to ensure that the students are all involved in the project and are all actively making decisions regarding the project. Most importantly, asking the students questions enables me to gauge their level of understanding of the topic.
I also prepare an activity for groups who finish early. Once a group is finished, I ask them to describe their finished project for me. I use the rubric and ask students guiding questions to encourage them to strengthen their project. Once the students are finished, they complete an online cell coloring activity. This activity helps them continue to study the structures and functions of the cell organelles.
While the students work on the project creating various types of models, they are meeting NGSS SP2, XC-SF-MS-1 and MS-LS1-2.
As the class period nears its end, I ask the students to examine their project in terms of the rubric descriptors. I remind them of the importance of looking at their project with a critical eye and that there is still time for them to make any changes, if necessary. Once the students have examined their own project, I ask them to share their thoughts with another group in order to see if the members of the other group agree with their conclusions.