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Showing Ronda Hassig

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6-8 | Social Studies | Other

Station KCPT in Missouri

My Classroom Innovation

The Lewis and Clark (L&C) project is part of our 7th grade History curriculum. Every year students study, create and present new knowledge about L&C’s journey. Because of the primary sources associated with the expedition, students use the diaries from the PBS learning site and the University of Nebraska site where entries are in original form and accessible through dates or subject of diary entries. Students review primary/secondary sources and are introduced to how historians evaluate sources. Multiple perspectives were important to the L&C expedition so students realize that all sources have bias and the closer a source is to the actual event the more reliable it is. As an introduction, students learn about the bison and Native Americans that L&C met. We borrow the buffalo box from the National Wildlife Federation and students see how Plains Indians used every part of the bison for survival. They watch a Discovery video on Plains Indians and bison, as well as the buffalo- hunt clip from “Dances with Wolves.” Students make inferences and answer challenging questions like “When L&C went West there were over 50 million bison. Why were there less than 50 in America a century later? Did the expedition of L&C unknowingly or knowingly contribute to the fate of the Plains Indians?" Explain. A multi-media research project culminates the week’s lessons and students research a topic from the Expedition that include people, Indian tribes, places, discoveries, and tools used. After researching, students are introduced to a new Web 2.0 tool for their presentation. This year they created a “Masher” movie about their topic. Their Masher had to include a journal entry, photos, paragraph, video clip, map and bibliography on their topic. The Mashers were presented to each class so students could learn about everyone’s topics and ultimately about the journey.

How Students were Engaged

First of all, I created a Lib Guide for the “Lewis and Clark Expedition” so students had easy access to all of the documents, links and media that were used for this project. Secondly, students were not assigned a topic for research rather they pulled their topic from a hat. Thirdly, any use of new Web 2.0 tools with our students is exciting and engaging. Whether we are using with I-pods and the 1st Amendment, Prezis for our bio-diversity projects, Edublog for our John Brown or Orphan Train lessons, or Animoto or Masher for our Lewis and Clark projects, students are enthusiastic to learn about and use new tools. They were so eager to use Masher that it was difficult to keep them focused on their research, citing their sources, and finding photos and journal entries first. You can’t create a Masher until you’ve saved everything as a JPEG or MP3. Finally, the project was engaging to students because they knew that their Mashers would be presented in front of their peers and this enticement helped them focus on their final product. Consequently, their Mashers were impressive in that they found important and significant information about their topics, they were able to use the journals on PBS and University of Nebraska’s link for their paragraphs, and they cited all of their sources using APA format on Citation Machine. Their music, photos, video and effects were suitable and appropriate to their topic and the time period of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. After winter break, the 7th grade science classes will be coming in for a research and presentation project and they will use Masher again. This will enable them to use their new found knowledge/skill in a new situation but use different information from a different curriculum.

PBS Program/Content Used

PBS Lewis and Clark