Author:
Carrie Robledo, MATTHEW WITT
Subject:
American History
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Level:
High School
Tags:
American History 2, NCEngineers
License:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
Language:
English

Education Standards

Weekly Group Projects

Weekly Group Projects

Overview

The ability to express yourself well through writing and speaking are important skills that you will use throughout your life. We will be conducting collaborative inquiry based research while we develop these skills together. This way we will not simply be passive participants in absorbing information, but active participants in cooperatively learning how to process complex information to develop conclusions. These will contain both individual and group components.

Instructor Directions

 

Weekly Group Projects

Submitted by Matthew Witt

Henderson County Public Schools

 

Driving Question / ScenarioThe ability to express yourself well through writing and speaking are important skills that you will use throughout your life. We will be conducting collaborative inquiry based research while we develop these skills together. This way we will not simply be passive participants in absorbing information, but active participants in cooperatively learning how to process complex information to develop conclusions. These will contain both individual and group components.
Project SummaryEvery 5 days students will be separated into groups of 3-4 using a random Group Generator. Groups can select from a vetted list of topics to study. Their completed project will consist of a presentation, skit, song, or a movie, with a script (Power Point or script submitted to Turnitin.com for grading), and peer evaluations if you choose to work with a partner or group. These will be graded using this rubric: Weekly Group Project Rubric.  Groups will evaluate one another using this form: Peer Evaluation Form. Here is an example of one of the projects that I do with my Civics/Economics class: Accounting- Personal Budget Project (Sample Project). Here is a sample of student grade data from my U.S. History 1 class. Weekly Group Project Grades Data U.S. History 1 Student identity is protected by using a random number generated from Canvas instead of names. Below is an example of a physical product that students create in small groups to solve a problem. In small groups students select a significant invention from the second half of the 19th century and replicate the process used to create it. This could be done with little to no cost by encouraging groups to test the process involved in developing a steam engine or the light bulb. I would show them a video of a working model of Stephenson’s Steam Engine. While it would be unrealistic to recreate this exact model in a classroom setting students could make a simpler one using lab equipment or even pots/pans from home.
Estimated Time5 days to prepare, 1 day to present
Materials / ResourcesStudent access to the internet and Google Docs throughout the process.
Grade6-12
Subject(s)It will work great in just about any class using a PBL or Blended Learning Format. I use it for U.S. History, World History, Civics/Economics, and have even used it in college classes that I teach.
Educational StandardsEssential Standard AH2.H.1 Apply the four interconnected dimensions of historical thinking to the American History Essential Standards in order to understand the creation and development of the United States over time.
Classifying ObjectiveClarifying Objective AH2.H.1.4Use Historical Research to: 1 Formulate historical questions 2 Obtain historical data from a variety of sources 3 Support interpretations with historical evidence 4 Construct analytical essays using historical evidence to support arguments.
Project Outline
AskWhat’s the problem?Students choose their topic, read through and understand the guidelines, and communicate as a group about how they will be able to communicate and cooperate through the process. I encourage groups to agree on a method of communication (group chat, email, Snapchat, ect) and stick with it.What are the constraints?Though time in class is devoted to the process of developing their group projects students aren’t always able to attend class and/or may not have the necessary preparation/materials to support their group’s research.What have others done?I provide students with examples of completed projects for inspiration and I’ve shared many exceptional projects on my school’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HCECHS
ImagineWhat are some solutions?Students decide on the type of project they would like to create. Thinking outside the box is encouraged. I’ve had students make really creative films, write original songs, reenact important historical events, host debates, ect. Brainstorm ideasOnce the group agrees on a format groups research ideas.  I begin each semester by showing students examples of creative projects students have completed in the past. For a STEM related project I would challenge students to replicate the process of the development of a significant 19th century invention. One easy and cheap way to test the development of the light bulb is to apply heat to different metals repeatedly to see which ones can withstand the addition/loss of heat the most times. Choose the best oneGroups eventually decide on the topic of study they prepare to present it in the chosen format and delegate responsibilities in the group.
PlanDraw a diagramGroups begin to sketch out a framework of the presentation. This is when groups decide on roles within the group, and sketch an outline of their presentation.Gather needed materialsStudents will reference the project rubric to make sure that their completed product satisfies all of the necessary conditions for success.
CreateFollow the planStudents develop a rough draft that their teacher will review and provide formative feedback. Their prototypes should be able to demonstrate the workings of a steam engine or light bulb. Test it out!Groups do a ‘table reading’ of their product to ensure that it meets the criteria. Students submit their work early to Turnitin.com which provides automated feedback on grammar and originality. Groups will test their prototypes to make sure they work and that they accurately demonstrate the process in developing either a steam engine or light bulb. Groups then demonstrate this for the teacher and receive formative feedback.
ImproveDiscuss what can work betterBased on constructive teacher and peer feedback, students make improvements on their project. Modify your designThey also identify changes they will make and begin revising their project in preparation for the presentation.Repeat steps 1-5 to make changes
Closure / Student ReflectionsStudents present their projects to the class, receive summative feedback and grade from the teacher.
Possible Modifications / ExtensionsStudents are given the opportunity to correct any mistakes on their product for an improved grade. If points are taken off for professionalism or time students are encouraged to schedule a different time to present again. To accommodate for diverse learners each group project that I do also has a modified individual option for students who need more time or support to successfully complete these projects. This has become especially important with Covid and my school’s hybrid learning format. Here is a folder with all of the modified individual projects for my Civics/Economics class: Project Accommodations for Diverse Learners (Modified Individual Self-Paced Projects for Civics/Economics)