Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Britt Theis Summative Assessment - Insects

Britt Theis
Summative Assessment Project
May 27, 2014
Assessment and Reflection Course
Summative Project
Clay Insects

For this summative project, I chose to do a project based learning activity to wrap up our unit about Insects.

Objective:  Students design an insect using clay that shows understanding of “What makes an insect an insect?” Students are also asked to create a habitat for the insect.

Life Science Standards being met:
  • - Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics.
  • - Natural systems have many components that interact to maintain the system.

Lesson:  To close the unit about insects, students will show what they have learned about the physical characteristics and habitats of insects by creating an insect out of clay, and then drawing a habitat for the insect.  Students will need to incorporate the following characteristics into their insect:

  1. Three body parts: head, thorax, abdomen
  2. 6 legs
  3. antennae
  4. Compound eyes
  5. Wings (optional)

Before the clay insects can be created, the teacher reviews the rubric with the class to go over criteria and expectations.  Discussions are had to go over what might constitute a frowny, straight, or smiley face.

Once the rubric has been reviewed, students are asked to turn the rubric over and sketch a design of the insect they would like to create with clay and what its habitat will look like.  

Once this has been done, and the project has been approved by the teacher, the clay insects can begin.

After clay insects have been made, habitat drawings are designed and must include a practical place for the insect to live, as well as what it eats and possibly what might eat it.

After this is completed, students will take a picture and record a vocal description of their project using the app 30Hands.  The teacher will then create a QR Code of the picture and voice description and attach the QR Code to the students project.

Authenticity of Summative Project: This project focuses on something that students are familiar with and have experience with in the "outside world." This lesson is one that provides the students with total control over their product.  Students are able to take the knowledge they have learned about insects, and create an insect of their own creation, or create an image of an insect that already exists in this world.  Either way, students are allowed to be creative and share what they have learned in the way that they choose. The voice recordings that were done were unique.  Not one project ended up looking alike.
photo (1).JPGhabitat.jpgQr Code.jpg

Assessing the Project:  The teacher will allow the students to complete a self-evaluation using the given rubric.  The teacher will then complete her own evaluation using the same rubric.  

Prior Knowledge and Resources:

Review of the Summative Project:  
I found that coming up with the driving question was the most difficult part for me during this process.  I wanted it to be complex, yet focus on the standards.  The standards for Life Science in first grade cover a lot of basic material such as the physical characteristics of animals, habitats, and life cycles.  If I had had more time to focus on the idea of life cycles, I would have gotten deeper than just focusing on the four different stages of an insect’s life:  egg, larva, pupa, adult.  As discussed with Michael Walker, an idea of talking about the effects the environment is having on the life cycle of honey bees, would have been a great idea to approach, but I had difficulty with the duration of the unit (and school year) to be able to do it justice.  And, since I am working with first graders, I wanted to take the Project Based Learning approach.  I was finding it difficult to come up with a project for this subject that would be appropriate for 6 and 7 year olds.

Therefore, after researching some project-based learning sites, I came up with the clay insects. The students were completely engaged and excited about this project.  They enjoyed using their hands and being able to create with clay.  The rubric was a great way to keep the students focused on the design, yet at the same time did not limit them to a contrived piece of work.  I am happy with the results of this project as well as being able to incorporate a piece of technology to it without limiting creativity.


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