Taking the Plunge!

All Too Quick!

Course 5 is already upon us, and I am SO ready to take the plunge into our Final Project! I have thought A LOT about this project since the beginning of Course 4, and now, I am finally going to put it into practice 🙂

Photo Credit: Mstraite Flickr via Compfight cc

The Planning Began

My unit planner has changed quite a bit since the end of Course 4, and it will continue to change as my team and I work through this unit. I am a member of the three-teacher grade 9 science team at my school, so I had to make sure that what I had originally planned for our upcoming unit was acceptable and feasible for the other members of our team.

The Unit

The unit I will be using for my Final Project is called Systems and System Models, which is a cross-cutting concept of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Our high school adopted these standards this year, and they are first being implemented into grade 9 science. Each of our units is based upon a different cross-cutting concept, and we explore the standards that relate to each of these concepts within life science, physical science, and earth and space science. Below is a picture of the NGSS that will be explored in this particular unit.

Screenshot by: P. Rampley

The unit description for our Systems and System Models unit is as follows:

Students will investigate the various systems and system models present in the different scientific disciplines. In life science, students will investigate the interacting systems within multicellular organisms and the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the carbon cycle. In physical science, students will investigate how a change in energy in one component of a system may affect other components. And in earth and space science, students will investigate the relationships among Earth systems and how they’re being modified due to human activity.

The Planning Continues

This is a completely new unit for my team and I. The structure and the standards for our units this year are very different than what it has looked like in previous years. For this Final Project, I hope to plan a unit that is student-centered and abundant with scientific exploration, as well as technology that’s meaningfully embedded into our curriculum. Some of the ideas/strategies that we plan to incorporate into this unit and that I have learned about through COETAIL are: identifying technology standards and using interactive games, infographics, videos and video creation, and reflection. I hope to implement my new learning through careful planning of the unit and through the support of my team.

Why These Strategies?

The above ideas/strategies that I mentioned seem to have a natural fit into this unit, and I believe that they will further promote student learning. Identifying technology standards is important to me because it keeps me focused on what technology I plan to embed and why. Our grade 9 students really get into using interactive games like Kahoot and Socrative, and those types of games seem to be really engaging for them. Creating infographics will get my students using, not only their science knowledge and understanding, but also their artistic and creative skills, which they don’t seem to get to do in science as often as we’d like. And as for the video creation, we are planning on having the students create a short documentary about how Earth’s systems are being modified due to human activity. Creating a documentary would be a very difficult task for a ninth grader without the aid of a computer and/or editing software 😉  Earlier this school year, during our Cause and Effect unit, the students watched the documentary, Before the Flood, and they were very intrigued by the concept of a documentary and what it had to offer!

Photo Credit: latestthoughts Flickr via Compfight cc

Getting Ahead

It’s a lot to consider and include into a single unit, but that is the tentative plan as of right now. I think we can get there with careful planning and implementation. During this unit, I am hoping to see our students more excited about science while using technology in a productive and meaningful way. Time to get started! I warmly welcome your comments below 🙂

2 thoughts on “Taking the Plunge!

  1. I am really looking forward to seeing how your final project for Course 5 goes Pamela! How exciting to have a completely new unit to go with! The best advise I can give you is document, document, document (eg: video interview students, colleagues you’re working with, take lots and lots of photos) – it really will make putting together your final video so much easier!
    Have fun!!

    1. Hi Chrissy! Thanks for the advice. This will be the first time I really put something together like this, so I am hoping for the best and taking all of the advice that I can get 🙂

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