ACTIVITY: Introductory Research & Choosing a Topic (Benchmarks 1 & 2)
Project: California, Who Are You?
Duration: 120+ minutes
Assessments: Student discussions, Student writing
Materials: Internet access, 1-2 computers per group, topically applicable books checked out from the local library
Students use the Internet and topically applicable books that I checked out from the local library to do general research about 8 possible topics. Each student needed to write out two pieces of information about each topic, but I encouraged students to split up the work their groups, and then share out the research that they found. On the graphic organizer accompaning this assignment, I also included space for students to record their sources, so that they can go back to them later if they choose one of those topics.
After students researched the eight general topics, they discussed the topics in groups and chose one that they wanted to focus their research. To complete Benchmark 2: Choosing a Topic, they wrote out their top three topic choices and a paragraph about why they chose their top pick. In most cases, I was able to give students their top choice, because their choices were varied. However, if I was not, I talked over with the group which alternative topic would suit them best.
(e.g. rubrics, examplars, websites, etc.)
REFLECTIONS & COMMENTS
Overall, students were narrowed by this assignment, which was beneficial in focusing their research to meet the standards that I was addressing. Students were interested in the different topics, and suprisingly all groups were able to find topics that they were excited about. In the future, however, I would allow students to branch out more from the topics that were written up in the on the graphic organizer for benchmark 1.
ALL PROJECT ACTIVITIES
- CA Geology - Reflection
- The Launch
- Introductory Research & Choosing a Topic (Benchmarks 1 & 2)
- Formulate a Research Question (Benchmark 3)
- Background Research (Benchmark 4)
- Formulate a Thesis (Benchmark 5)
- Public Service Announcement (PSA) Proposal (Benchmark 6)
- Create Script & Final Storyboard (Benchmark 7)
- Create Public Service Announcement (PSA) movie (Benchmark 8)
- Script for Presentation - Artist Statement (Benchmark 9)
- Practice for the Presentation (Benchmark 10)
- Final Presentation of PSA and Presentation of Artist's Statement (Benchmark 11)