external image Screen%20shot%202010-11-01%20at%2011.47.39%20PM.png?height=266&width=320Science Unit Refresh:
2010-2011 Lesson Refresh with a Global Twist.
Scenario: What type of ENERGY power plant should we build in our community?
A.) Nuclear Power
B.) Fossil Fuel

Students created their "ENERGY CHALLENGES in our learning spaces in our class wikis.

Learning Objectives:
Create a project that would assess understanding of chemistry concepts and bridge into an energy unit International Baccalaureate criteria in addition to Science Standards to guide and assess this project.
A.) IB goal "One World"
Enable students to understand the interdependence between science and society.
Students should be aware of the global dimension of science, as a universal activity with consequences for our lives and subject to social, economic, political, environmental, cultural and ethical factors.
B.) Communication in Science
This objective refers to enabling students to develop their communication skills in science. Students should be able to understand scientific information, such as data, ideas, arguments and investigations, and communicate it using appropriate scientific language in a variety of communication modes and formats as appropriate.

TEACHER REFLECTION: This project is taking on a life of its own means that I am only half a step ahead of the kids. The language for the rubrics originate from the IB Personal Project assessment (a long term project completed by sophomores), the Team 8.3 Work Habits rubric, and the state standards.
Traditional Instruction:
In the past, this unit would feature some class notes, a few demos, and an investigation into some articles. We would probably conduct a class discussion - perhaps in the "fishbowl style" - regarding the issues brought to light in the articles. I would typically be very pleased with a discussion that lasted around 30 minutes, with each student commenting about 3 times, and would jot notes as the kids engaged each other in the classroom.

Learning Refresh with digital tools & virtual environments:

Extension & Independent Learning with
Project Based Learning & Challenge Based Learning

Week 1 : Decision Making

Students decide Types of Energy, Energy Issues. BEGIN Investigation with student generated questions, create a focus of inquiry. All students joined the class WIKI as a collaborative platform to form groups, participate in forums.
external image EnergyInquiry.png
external image EnergyInquiry.png

Week 2 : Investigation, Experimental Inquiry

Week 3 : Begin to Construct, Invent, Produce

Week 4 : Reflective Thinking

Students Reflect- self assess on learning process and projects created. Share projects and provide peer feedback, questions, suggestions.

- We started to brainstorm, and I used those ideas to create action groups: Elementary outreach, Mesa Outreach, Community Outreach, Energy Policy, Sustainable Classrooms, and Personal Stewardship
- The students joined the group that most interested them, regardless of whether other students in their period shared that interest
- We began investigating all forms of energy. We created group Evernotes to collect and organize their research. They discussed their ideas and findings on the comment walls of the action groups within WIKI.
- The students wanted to contact experts and interviewed the Keystone Organization, NREL personnel, and the spokesperson for our electric association (and former state senator). Their interview notes have been entered into the group Evernote accounts
- Some students have created group email accounts and calendars (without prompting from me) to better manage their interaction with outside resources and each other.

Now and the future...
- The students are writing specific action proposals to be approved by our team of teachers. We will use these proposals to assign them to ELT classes with a specific teacher adviser who will be their advocate and guide. The teacher assignment will correlate with their subject. The humanities teacher will guide the "energy policy" groups because he has the best understanding of government. The math teacher will guide the "sustainable classrooms" groups because they will need assistance with their calculations... And so forth.
- All of the responsibility belongs to the students - we expect them to be fairly autonomous and to collaborate in person and on Ning
- All projects are due at the end of April.

Beyond that, I'm not sure how our end result will look. We are still working out some of the presentation details. The students and teachers are really excited.
Students created their "ENERGY CHALLENGES in our learning spaces in our class wikis.

I will have to approve you before you may access the site.
Once you are approved, I would suggest that you peruse the discussions in the Forum, which I use for content knowledge grades, and the various groups. My favorite part is probably reading the discussions within the groups. I keep telling the kids that they need to be challenging and engaging each other. After all the research and interviews they have completed, they have far more knowledge collectively than I have as an individual. Part of their grade is posting comments and questions that reflect their learning.

Ultimately, this experience has been like catching lightning in a bottle: All the right people were available to collaborate and had great ideas, we found a topic that genuinely interested my students, and we have had the support of our administration. None of us has ever attempted any project like this before, and yet, we're finding that the risks are totally paying off. I'm excited to see what happens next.