Okay, so we are about 1/2 way through our research project.
Things are going well. The students are really enjoying the Project. They find so many interesting facts about the National Park they are researching, that they just love sharing with the other students they are sitting by. Now that we are finished with the research portion, they are working to create PowerPoints about the information they researched.
(sooo...I am trying to write this while watching Pysch: The Movie...and I am losing my train of thought. I will come back when I am not distracted...)
I just love it when the kids are excited about school that the things they are doing. I find that when I am passionate about our lessons, my students are passionate about learning.
Even though my students are 9th graders, they still need big projects structured and broken down into smaller tasks, or else they jack-pot around the whole period and don't accomplish anything. Here is how I broke down my research project.
Day 1: Introduce the project--We read an article from Tween Tribune about some of the less popular national parks. We then discussed aspects of these parks. I went over the requirements of the research project with the students. Then we used the remaining time to brainstorm and choose the national park they wanted to research.
Day 2-4: These were our in class research days. I had the students research 7 different aspects of the park: Location (how to get there), Main Attractions, Landscape, Climate, Geology, History of the Park, and Unique Facts. I divided these topics up during the 3 days so that the kids had a purpose and a goal for each research day.
Day 5: This was a "transition" day. There were several students who were finished with their research, so they started working on the PowerPoint. I had the students put together a PowerPoint with the information they researched. The other students we needed to finish their research did that.
Day 6-9: These were the days the students used in class time to work on their PowerPoint. I required the students to have 10 sections in their PowerPoint: Introductions, the 7 aspects they researched, Conclusion, and Works Cited. I gave the students 5 class periods to work on the PowerPoint, so I, again, divided up the 10 sections in the 5 days to keep them on track and not overwhelmed.
I love walking around and seeing the creativity my students have with their presentations.