Researching Arizona: The Grand Canyon State
- Grades: 6–8
- Divide into groups
- Each group will research an area of interest about the Grand Canyon State
- Each group will produce a final product to present to the class
Computers with Internet access and Keynote or PowerPoint presentation software
Set Up and Prepare
With your students, brainstorm about places in your state that they find interesting. Then they will need to choose between 3-5 topics about that place that would be fun to investigate. This will help them become more familiar with their state.
The students came to my room and I told them I would like to do a lesson on the Grand Canyon. We did the following that day:
- Brainstormed what students wanted to learn about Grand Canyon
- Divided into groups
- Three areas of interests were chosen: recreation and history, strata and formations, and a tour of the Grand Canyon
I then worked with our technology teacher, Bryan Smith, to use this project as part of his GenYes (Generation of Youth and Educators Succeeding) class. http://genyes.com/programs/genyes/whatis
Divide your class into groups. The size of each group will depend on the number of topics to be explored. Each group should research one topic of interest about the landmark you have chosen as your focus.
Encourage each group to assign tasks and roles for the group members — for example, one student might be in charge of researching photos, another in charge of organizing all the facts, and another in charge of drafting the initial text for the presentation.
Provide students with the following instructions for their project:
- In your group, research your topic for the most interesting facts
- Narrow down what information to include
- Using different search engines, research your area of interest. Remember that anything taken off the internet has to be given credit
- Work on your slide show
- Be ready to present a final product to the class
Monitor the activity of the students in their groups and guide them as needed. Give students ample time both in the classroom and the computer lab to research their topic, work with their group, and produce their final project.
Encourage students to use any group sharing software you may have available to compile their research and work on their projects, or help them set up shared folders on your internal network. Our students used a chat in pvlearners — an online communication and collaboration for the Paradise Valley School District hosted through Google. This includes email, online documents, calendars, and websites for teacher and student use.
Supporting All Learners
Within the assigned groups, include students with different kinds of strengths and work with the groups to ensure that the designated tasks are appropriate for each student's abilities.
PO 2. Retrieve and save information remotely using network servers, the
Internet, the Intranet, and/or peripheral devices as directed by the
PO 3. Demonstrate functional operation of technology devices (e.g., presentation
devices, digital cameras, scanners, document cameras, and scientific probes).
Challenge students to research another area of interest and create a project by themselves
The students that have access to a computer at home can continue working on their portion of their group's assignment.
- Did the students work hard on their assignments?
- Were students focused and engaged?
- How creative were the students?
Scholastic Atlas of the Earth
Classroom Tip: As teachers, we sometimes try to "help" our students too much. Students enjoy having the freedom to be creative and manage their own learning.
- Did the students work well together in their groups?
- Was the work equally accomplished?
- Did they turn in a finished product?
- Did they use valid websites?
- Did they gather their information from valid search engines?
- Use the following three-point rubric:
3 points: was highly engaged in researching project; demonstrated positive attitude; final project was exceptional
2 points: was moderately engaged in researching project; demonstrated mostly positive attitude; final project was average
1 point: was not engaged in researching project; demonstrated negative attitude; final project was inadequate