7 thoughts on “Unit Draft

  1. Hi Craig,

    I like the opening exercise demonstrating the proportions of water in the water cycle. Neat!

    Might be interesting to accompany with some materials or content about restoration efforts in Campbell creek. I seem to remember something recently in the news about habitat improvement for salmon and a rise in salmon numbers?

    For the exercise where your dumping various pollutants into the tank in conjunction with the story – I thought it might be interesting, depending on one’s class, if the students carried out the dumping. Sort of like a play. They were each given their canister of pollutants and a role to play.

    I like how you did something similar to this idea with the note cards and the group constructed narrative about non-point source pollution i a river. You could couple this with a final play or group narrative exercise, where you give them similar roles and ask how they might better dispose of their wastes or pollutants. Maybe the cards you give each student could have their roles defined. The first set polluters. The second set developers. The last set more conservation minded?

    If you created these products as PDF’s – you could offer them online, along with your curriculum, available as an open resource for educators across the country.

    Nice work on your structuring …Introduction, objectives, ASD GLE’s, etc.

    Next step is to move this to your online blog in a format that students/instructors would use.

    Great idea for supplemental videos and materials… this is coming along nicely!

    If you’d like point by point feedback, it would be a bit easier if you shared via a Google Doc…

    1. Thanks Owen. I originally envisioned the kids dumping pollutants for more hands-on learning in Activity 2, like you suggested. The challenge is that I don’t have a class of kids right now, so I thought this would involve me going into a classroom to conduct activities. When I pitched this scenario to you earlier this semester, I got the impression I needed to turn the activity into more of an online format. After that conversation, I changed the plan to me conducting activities in a video for others’ to watch. I still don’t particularly like that change; the kids would get way more out of it if they were directly involved. Can you recommend any ways to get the best of both worlds. Kids doing the hands-on part and me still satisfying the digital requirement?

      1. Good question. I see your plan as one that another teacher could adopt – so you would have *your* students dump the pollutants in the tank, and you could recommend the same to your teaching peers who might use your materials that you post online. I like the video idea also – you could have that as a supplemental bit in case a teacher was reluctant to turn their class loose with containers of pollutants on the tank. You could do this in a rather silly way with various costumes for each polluter, or get some friends to help act as your cast.

        Did I do a better job of describing my thinking?

        When I suggest turning it into an online exercise, I’m more thinking of making your content available to other teacher/facilitators.


  2. “When I suggest turning it into an online exercise, I’m more thinking of making your content available to other teacher/facilitators.” This comment was extremely clarifying for me. I was under a totally different impression. (one challenge of online courses) This leads me to think of sharing the unit in a new light. Do you have a course management system in mind for these units? Do you have an IOS device? Bundling up the activities and creating an iTunes U course for my unit may be a convenient way for teachers to access it. It may be limiting the reach also…
    Thanks for the clarification!

  3. Hi Craig,

    Yes, that is one of the potential drawbacks of the online world. Potential miscommunications. You might also think if it is relevant for students to submit/share projects/outcomes with a larger audience. I always think there’s some pretty neat potential for students in one place, such as Alaska – to share their ideas and observations with students in another – Texas, or Hawaii or wherever.

    Simply making the materials available for use by other educators is a huge achievement on its own, however.

    Choice of LMS is a big question.

    I think I’d take advantage of your WordPress blog and build it there. That’s an easy low bar. Alternatively, if you do want to create an iTunesU course – I certainly support that idea as well. Canvas has a “free for teachers” option which is pretty nice as well…

    We use WordPress quite a bit, just because of its ease of access.

    But wherever you’d like to put it is fine with me.



  4. Craig – I agree with Owen in that I think if you were to tweak the format of this unit’s presentation you could have a very interesting and unique online course. The first lesson / activity listed in this course would be fairly east to adapt to a distance based activity. You could basically have students at home do something similar in their tub and you would still get the same “wow” effect and learning going on. Obviously you might run into some problems – you can’t really determine for sure if they actually did it, and you might have parents upset at using twenty liters of water, which is a LOT of water, but still, I think it could be a very interesting thing to adapt.

    I agree that WordPress would work but for a science class I think a combination of WordPress + YouTube is essential! There are some things in your unit (pollutants lesson) that you can’t really expect students to do full at home but they can “participate” on YouTube, or even on Hangouts or Skype. Science is probably very difficult to do distance because of the materials required but I think this unit is very doable. I think this will benefit from multimedia integration, and you don’t need to feel like you have to make all of that! There are plenty of cool options online that you can use.

    The one piece of advice I have is that I feel like you have an opportunity to really knock your assessments up a notch. The first one is very knowledge based / kind of vague. The other assessments and follow up activities could really be more specific as I’m not sure that things like “describe what happened” etc. are specific enough for students of this age, who tend to need kind of more detailed instructions. You might want to break the assessments down into multiple steps? That might be valuable. I would’ve liked to see the rubrics (which I also have not done yet) because I think as is your assessments are the weakest link in an overall very cool unit. I also think writing more than three sentences might be worthwhile if you’re going to try to shoot higher on the learning spectrum, though admittedly I don’t know exactly what kids this age are capable of.

    All in all, I think you have crafted a really great and fun looking unit. I’m always happy to see things that make students think about their water consumptions! I also think it’s going to be…well…not EASY to make it more of an online unit, but certainly doable, and not that hard, but the outcome will be fairly awesome.

  5. I like the idea of providing this online unit being for a teacher to deliver to their face-2-face classroom. There will be different expectations for the 4th graders than the 6th graders as far as quality and quantity of writing, so your assessment rubrics would have to modifiable or spectrum based.

    If the 20L of water is problematic, you could actually use anything to represent the water. I giant bucket of legos moving from one container to another would provide the same visual concept of the usable portion.

    I also thought it would be fun to take Owen’s suggestion of ‘like a play’ a little further and make it an actual play. Each child gets an index card with their part on it along with the small container to be dumped in as the pollutant. Since you already named all the characters, it sounded like a fun way to get them even more engaged.

    I think it turned out really well and you found a nice balance for the size and number of lessons. Nicely done!

Leave a Reply