Planning for Instruction
Today's activity focuses on the rich conversations teachers can engage in as they plan toward a lesson, reaching out to others and to online resources to support learning beyond textbooks. While today's goal is to engage in that powerful dialogue, you may find it helpful to think about these three questions. We're not asking you to type up a perfect lesson plan, just to keep your thinking big. Revel in this time to think expansively about the process of planning!

What do you want students to know or be able to do as a result of the learning activities you have in mind? (Learning Objectives)

Be able to seek out and understand research (journal articles, data, etc.) on popular topics in the media so that they can make informed decisions and back up their opinions/position. In comprehending the material they can then become informed delegates of the information and share their knowledge. They should be able to generate, collect, analyze, and interpret data in order to obtain evidence to support whatever claims they are making about a topic/event. Provide time and necessary prompts for students to be reflective about the project: How would you incorporate what you learned from this project to other classes or lessons? What do you think was most valuable about this project? What was most difficult? What would you change?

Address the core content state and national standards and connect the project/lessons to those guidelines.

How will you know that they know it? (Assessment)

Write up a formal lab report that reflects the scientific method process. Also group presentations on the laboratory experiment.

Students will work in groups but must make blog entries individually, with thoughtful, original ideas. They must also all comment on each other’s blog posts.

Group members will be assigned roles with specific, explicit tasks that they are each responsible for.

We will provide a timeline with periodic benchmarks/due dates for particular aspects of the project.

If this is a school-wide focus/activity, we envision a larger-scale presentation experience. Perhaps an academic conference could be held at the school where students present the work they have done in each of their classes on the main topic.

What learning activities would help them achieve those goals?
We should utilize a comprehensive approach that includes researching the literature (learning how to read the related scientific journal articles) and designing and executing a laboratory exercise where they collect and analyze data.

Laboratory Experiment Ideas:

Experiment with Daphnia (microorganism) to see how sugar and other compounds impact activity and function.

Have students read the article, and then come together as a group to determine what questions they have about the effects of soda and design a lab experiment that targets those questions.

Experiment on the physiological benefits and drawbacks of various beverages with regard to the human body. They could use different projects and multiple applications.

Submit their written reports/papers for “peer review.” Start with writing up a proposal, and build up to the full paper and presentation.

What online resources might support the activities you envision?

Infusing Technology into the Lesson:

Online collaboration à Create a blog for the class that is monitored by the teacher. Students can upload their responses to specific prompts, which allows the “quiet” students to share thoughts and ideas that they otherwise would not vocalize in class.

Must first address the issue of available resources; do all your students have access to computers and the Internet outside of school?

Can use the library and/or media center resources of the school to upload student presentations and reports on the lessons they are doing in class. The library or school in general should have a website or Wikispace that can be used for sharing students’ work.

Have the librarian or media center specialist teach a lesson to the students about how to conduct literature searches (what to do, what not to do) and how to cite the sources they find. MEL à Michigan eLibrary online database; SIRS researcher. Customize search engines with only the sites that you want the students to be able to search for information (based on he content you are working with); helps direct their search and limit the variability in the courses they can access.

Librarian can make a page for this project with resources, blog components, documents and information, etc.

Kristen’s Blog à School Library Monthly

This type of project, if approached as a collaborative effort, could be organized and used for publication.