It was incredibly exciting to have a 1:1 classroom last year. Every fifth grader was issued a Google Chromebook. We put these technology tools to use in our classroom, integrating technology deeper into our curriculum and daily activities.
One of my favorite activities using our Chromebooks really exemplifies the growth of my students' technology skills as well as their language arts, math, and science skills.
After introducing this project at the beginning of our Forces & Motion unit, my students were very hooked on the project. Many of them have an interest in sports and athletics, so this project was perfect to capture their attention. As noted in my lesson plan, students were given at least three days of 40 minutes of working time over a period of three weeks to work on their projects. They were also going through a series of hands-on lessons and labs in which they engaged in the 5 E’s (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate) for each of Newton’s Laws of Motion. They recorded their observations in their scientific notebooks and we drew a concept map on the back whiteboard to help us visualize our thinking and progress along the way. When they were working on their sportscaster videos, they applied their knowledge first in their script and storyboards. I conferred with each student at least once a week, making sure to check back in on anyone who needed more support.
Overall, the lesson/project accomplished my goal: for students to apply aspects of physics (the laws of motion) to everyday events (sports).
Sample Lesson Plan:
Unit Project – Wanted: Physics Sportscaster
To apply aspects of physics (forces, motion, speed) to everyday events.
What forces and motions are involved in different sporting events?
Content: The content that is taught with this lesson is the application of everyday physics, forces, and motion. It is intended to be part of a unit in which student are introduced to the forces that make things happen and how these forces can be both helpful and harmful to motion. Students examine how forces are overcome and how they can be used to do work in everyday scenarios. Students will also keep a scientific journal for ideas, reflections, and to collect observations. The unit is aligned to the fifth grade science GLCEs provided by the Michigan Department of Education as they pertain to physical science and scientific inquiry, although the lessons within the unit follow the NGSS teaching philosophy of the 5 E’s: Engage/Elicit, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate.
Pedagogy: This project is a combination of many pedagogical strategies used throughout the lessons in the unit. It is also dependent on the learning targets and focus questions within each learning cycle. Students observe and explore each of Newton’s Laws of Motion, documenting and reflection on various experiments, videos, and experiences in their science journals. Some of these lessons involve hands-on challenges that represent or focus on different parts of each law such as inertia or speed. Behaviorism, Social Constructivism, Information Processing and Cognitive Constructivism all inform my strategies. Much of the learning takes place in small groups or learning pairs. I base groups and partnerships on ability levels, social skills, and cooperation. I take individual learner needs into consideration, especially with reading and writing skills.
Content & Pedagogy: These strategies help me teach the content because much of the content is co-constructed among the group members and shared at the end of each lesson. Many of the project requires cooperation among group members, each selecting roles and communicating, planning out each part of the video clip. I choose these because a majority of my students work better and are more creative when working collaboratively. For the select few who do not, they are allowed to work on the project by themselves, but I do not encourage this. Technical constraints include WeVideo collaboration. I allow each group to figure out how they will overcome this obstacle, with guidance as necessary. Some technical skills, such as video recording and creating a video/editing can be an issue, but are learned throughout the process.
Technology: The technology used in this project includes a mix of hardware and software. Each student will need access to a Chromebook and/or computer. If they wish to create their own sport clips, they will also need a video camera of some sort. The software used will be Google Docs/Drive and WeVideo. Google Docs allows for simultaneous collaboration on the script for the video clip, allowing learners to communicate more effectively in real time and make changes more quickly. Unfortunately, WeVideo does not have the collaboration abilities that Google Docs has. One student will create the video clip, and the groups will need to work out how access to this portion of the project is shared and managed to allow everyone the opportunity to create a piece of it. YouTube.com and ESPN.com are also used to model what sportscasting looks and sounds like. While there are other technology options available, this project requires some type of video presentation software at the very least for the creation of the video clip.
Technology & Pedagogy: Google Docs fits my pedagogical strategies because it allows immediate collaboration within a single document. Group members can leave comments, make editing suggestions, and create their scripts all at the same time while working cooperatively and constructively. They learn from each other through the process. WeVideo allows for students to show their understanding and application of the laws of motion using animated and visual models, while combined with technology. When students encounter problems with video editing or publishing, they would ask other groups or me and often problem solve the issue together, then share the results with the rest of the class.
Technology & Content: Using the Chromebooks allow students to readily access ESPN.com and other sport websites that have video footage they can analyze for examples of laws of motion and physics. They also have access to our Google Classroom and Google Drive for sharing and collaboration. This hardware we are so fortunate to have 1:1 access to is a gateway vehicle for their learning and knowledge acquisition. I am able to teach the ‘big ideas’ using main stream and current sports athletes that students are familiar with and seeing the video and action happening. The ability to stop and play over and over again allows for more in-depth analysis, leading to a deeper understanding of how physics are used and found in the real world.
Assessment: I want students to know and identify Newton’s Laws of Motion when applied to everyday events, such as sporting events. I will know that they know and understand these concepts as I go through the storyboards and video clips with them. I am able to see their projects grow through the sharing of Google Docs and comments. By conferring with groups and individuals, I am able to assess their understand and misconceptions as they experiment, engage, and explore Newton’s Laws of Motion and seek to identify them and explain them to each other and in their projects. I will formally assess what students learn through a rubric that we create together for their video clips and storyboards as well as informally assess their scientific notebooks and collaborative process. Technology plays a huge role in the sharing and communication of the project’s expectations as well as how I am able to monitor each group’s progress. When groups submit projects through Google Classroom, I am able to report grades and communicate with them.
Other Examples of Instructional Technology
Book Club Book Trailer Projects
Sport Illustrations of Newton's First Law of Motion
Google Docs/Google Drive