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K-12 Lessons,
Sources & the Internet

Gina Otto
Teacher Instructions
for Creating/Using
Lessons on Line

Rule One:
Think the project through.  Are the project's objectives clear?  What do you want the students to learn from the project.  Will students use class time or out of class time to complete the project.  Is the equipment available?  Are there alternate assignments to choose from.  Is this independent work or group work?  How much of the grade will the project account for?  How will it be graded?  Some on-line projects already address these criteria.

Rule Two:
Plan what you want the students to know.   When giving the assignment for research, it is important to either have a list of questions to be answered or have the kids generate the questions they need to research.  If they have certain questions to research rather than just a "report on" scenario, they're less likely to copy word for word.  And even if they do copy word for word, it's a sentence from here and a sentence from there, not an entire encyclopedia entry.

Examples:  Fifth graders research animals from certain habitats.  They generate certain questions:   Where does the animal live?   What does the animal eat?  What does the animal look like?

Rule Three:
Give Instruction on how to record the information.  Use a graphic organizer of some type, like a web, to record the specific information that answers the questions.  Students should not be allowed to write whole sentences while taking notes - this will force them to use their own words later.  Progress is checked along the way and credit should be given for note taking as well as the final product.  If you allow the students to copy and paste text or graphics, they should be able to take notes from the information onto note cards or a graphic organizer.  This will help them put the ideas together to complete the project. (See the Student Instruction Sheet)

Example:   The seventh graders research women scientists, but the focus is a cause/effect essay not just a "report on" so-and-so. The kids must answer the question:  What impact has this scientist had on the world or her field of science.

Rule Four:
Create/use an Internet project where:

Rule Five
Understand what Problem Based Learning is before using one already written on the Internet. (Adapted from Stepien, W.J. and Gallagher, S.A. 1993. "Problem-based Learning: As Authentic as it Gets." Educational Leadership. 50(7) 25-8 and Barrows, H. (1985) Designing a Problem Based Curriculum for the Pre-Clinical Years.

Getting Started:  Research or Problem Based?

1.  In a Problem Based Learning Activity a problem is stated.

2.  Students are directed to come up with a solution to the problem based upon research.

3.  Each student in the class may be assigned the same or a different segment of the problem to research and all research is reported on to the class for final discussion and analysis.

4.  The questions needing to be answered may be different for each student or group, but the final outcome needs to be a suggested solution to the original problem.

5.  The way the problem is stated dictates how the assignment is done.

Example:  A regular research project, with problem solving, would look like this:
A seventh grade class, studying the history of Islam, is asked to pretend to be Muslims and plan a trip to Mecca as part of the Hajj, or Fifth Pillar of Islam.

Example:   In A Problem-Based Learning project, the class is the same and the information to be found is the same.  But, to make the lesson truly problem based, the directions and the outcome change (but what is learned does not):

How to Cite Web Resources.  Be a team player and give credit where credit is due by creating a reference for every online resource you use.  Teachers, check this page out, it is color coded for ease of use.  Then teach your students what you've learned.

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October, 2022