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BRANDI LEGGETT
Second Place

3-5 | Science & Tech | Real World Application or Field Study

Station KCPT in Kansas

My Classroom Innovation

I implemented “Organism Mania” in my classroom this year. This is a cross curricular project where the students are able to become a scientist through hands-on investigations. The students used PBS resources to gain facts and information about the resources. Some of the PBS videos used were Malformed Frogs, Righteous Reptiles, iWonder Turtle, and Amazing Ants Game. These resources allowed the students to build upon their prior knowledge. To work on voice and creativity in writing, students wrote from the viewpoint of one of the organisms in the class. They then created Fotobabbles where the point of view could be recorded with the organism’s picture. The students also looked up additional facts of their organism and created a Blabberize. With this project, they recorded what they were saying and the organism’s mouth actually moved as if it was the organism talking. The students used the What is the Nature of Science PBS resource to learn about the scientific process. Students generated questions to expand their inquiry skills. Students then conducted their own investigations where they were able to seek answers, analyze data, and form conclusions. The students used flip cameras and digital cameras to retell their investigations through digital stories. The students created interactive posters of their organisms on Glogster. From these posters, students worked in cooperative groups to draw conclusions, compare/contrast, and make inferences. The students made books filled with facts and pictures about their organisms. They also created dvds that showed them reading their books. We sent the books, dvds, and stuffed animals to kids in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and to soldiers to distribute to kids in high poverty countries.

How Students were Engaged

This project engaged the students because everything was hands-on. Instead of the students learning about organisms and the scientific process through worksheets, they were able to do it through investigations where they were truly able to understand scientific inquiry. Because of all the great websites where they could make the organisms talk, the students didn’t even realize how well they were writing their point of view papers. After writing one paper, the students didn’t want to stop. The students expressed how excited they were to come to school and carry out their investigations. They also loved using the flip cameras with their investigations. Once students finished their initial investigations, they would generate more questions to extend their learning. At the beginning of the year, students weren’t able to describe the scientific process. Now, the students are able to explain each step. When the students would collect their data, they were able to see how mode, median, mean, and range are applied to the real world. From the PBS resources, students would compare what information they had learned from the videos with what was actually taking place in the classroom with their organisms. If we didn’t have the same kind of species, they would discuss what things were similar and different. Many students took an interest in more community service projects after they created books and dvds for kids in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and for soldiers to disburse in high poverty countries. We used this to have real-world classroom discussions about needs versus wants. This project allowed my shyest or lowest ability student to shine. None of my students were shy. They all wanted to interact with the organisms, make videos, and share their projects with classmates. Regardless of ability, every student experienced success.

PBS Program/Content Used

iWonder, Malformed Frogs, What is the Nature of Science?, Righteous Reptiles, Amazing Ants Game