Test Solution Project (#2 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 #1...


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


"Whiteboard" Entry Task:

Fill in the blank: “Two criteria for this project are ________.”

Fill in the blank: “This project does not require us to ________.”


It just so happened that this year's project schedule spanned a weekend. Today's lesson falls on a Monday. Even if it had not been, I wanted students to be able to recall the essential components of the project. Furthermore, before students began their work in earnest, I want to capture any misconceptions (needing clarification) that students might need to have cleared up prior to starting their research.


Check out these student responses:

Whiteboard Entry Task #1

Whiteboard Entry Task #2

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?


On a daily basis, I prompt students to set the tone for the work to be done in class. I strongly believe that "every moment matters". In the academic space. In the personal space. In the leisure and entertainment space. One cannot retrieve time passed. For this reason, I really push my students to be proactive with what needs to happen (as I do in planning lessons and my learning environment). The tool for the job is the SMART Goal Tracker. In this way, if students are descriptive and following the S.M.A.R.T. formula then it is simple to determine what progress has been made at the end of class.

I have lived through the frustrations that bubble up (like convective magma) when working with aimless and misdirected students who seem to live completely unaware of the space-time continuum and that actual work is expected of them. The SMART Goal Tracker is not the panacaea for all ills but it gives a point of leverage and, even more, an awareness of the large and small scales of a multi-day project. I take the time to check in with each and every student to lend my support for their work and to communicate that I am on the ball even as i take a more back seat role to their hands on the wheel at 10 & 2!

Eyes on the prize, young padauan!

In light of this, students will continue to research their respective roles during class.

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 #2.

Lesson Extension & Follow-Up Activities

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.

Link to Day #3...