Oral History of the Skagit River Watershed for Grades 4-8
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
- Unit Plan:
- Learn that the ultimate goal of any scientific investigation is to obtain evidence precise and thorough enough to answer a question.
- Develop various experimental designs and strategies to answer the same question.
- Understand that the comprehensiveness of the investigation depends on the tools and technologies used.
- Learn that water falling to Earth flows over the surface as run-off and collects in ocean basins, rivers, lakes, ice caps, and underground. Water stored underground (sub-surface) and water stored above ground (surface) form a continuum, each supplying water to the other. Human activity and natural events can introduce chemicals affecting the quality of the water supply.
- Understand that the functioning and health of organisms, including humans, are influenced by heredity, diet, lifestyle, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and the environment.
- Recognize that changes in the physical or biological conditions in an ecosystem can alter the diversity of species in the system; as the ecosystem changes, populations of organisms must adapt to these changes, move to another ecosystem, or become extinct.
- Learn that the size or a population in an ecosystem may increase of decrease as result of the interrelationships among organisms, availability of resources, natural disasters, habitat changes, and pollution.
- Understand that agriculture relies heavily in technology to increase productivity. Advances in irrigation allow crops and to control damage done by rodents, fungi, insects, and weeds. The need to increase agricultural production results in an environmental trade-off (e.g., saltwater intrusion, water table lowering, agricultural run-off into rivers/streams, elimination of beneficial insects, desertification.
Students brainstorm where they may have been interviewed before. A list of persons in professions who interview is listed on the board. Many students are unaware of how many interviews they experience in their everyday life. Students also may not realize that interviews not have to be conducted verbally. Many interviews are in written form (job applications, tests, surveys, etc.). The list of professions where interviews are common generated could include: doctors, lawyers, police, teachers, parents, friends, salespersons, scientists, etc. Students always list the obvious first: newspaper reporters, television talks show hosts, and magazine editors. As they start to think about the purpose of an interview, as a tool to collect information, they are able to expand the list. After the list is finished they then have the opportunity to collect information about a classmate. They are paired with someone they do not know. The each take turns interviewing each other with the following questions:
1. What is your classmate's full name (first, middle, last)?
2. What are their hobbies?
3. What is their favorite book? Movie?
4. What are their favorite sports?
5. Where did they go on their favorite vacation?
6. What are their favorite foods?
Students take notes on the responses of their partners. After the interview is complete I ask if there are any students who would like to introduce their classmate to the class. I tell them to pay strict attention because I am going to take notes and I will see how well they are paying attention by giving them a fact and seeing if they can associate it with the correct individual. When several students have presented their information I give them the "quiz". I am always amazed how even picking the most obscure fact about a person does not stump them. They rarely make a mistake. They are also good at reporting the information accurately. Their partners correct any mistakes they make in sharing their classmate's information quickly. It is at that time that I remind them of the importance of being accurate in reporting any information. The students love this activity and I find it very useful as a reference point for any discussions that involve interviewing throughout the school year.
Supporting All Learners
This project aids students in meeting national standards in several curriculum areas.
Reading Language Arts
International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language for learning, persuasion, and exchange of information.
- Students conduct research by gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing data from a variety of sources, and then communicate their discoveries to different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (i.e. libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and communicate knowledge.
- Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
- Culture (Students study culture and cultural diversity.)
- Individuals, Groups, and Institutions (Students study interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.)
- Time, Continuity, and Change (Students study how the world has changed in order to gain perspective on the present and the future.)
- Production, Distribution, and Consumption (Students study how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.)
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:
- use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
- use technology tools to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences
- use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences
- use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources
- use technology tools to process data and report results.
After students present their information, ask them to write a self-evaluation. Students should ask themselves questions such as:
- Did my research answer my original question?
- Were my facts organized?
- Was my presentation in the best format?
- Did I present my information in a clear and cogent manner?
- What did I like best about my presentation?
- What could I have done better?
Meet with students to discuss their self-evaluations.