Introductory Lesson: Student-Created Digital Ecosystems
Friday, December 5, 2008
1) Students will brainstorm/review what they already know about ecosystems. Ask students, “What are some things that you already know about ecosystems?” Responses will be compiled in a Dabbleboard mindmap chart.
2) Using Google Earth, students will locate some ecosystems that they already know. “Where are some ecosystems located throughout the world?” We will fly to those locations and use layers to demonstrate some of the features of the ecosystem.
3) Introduce project to students:
The project will be in three parts:
a) Students will complete a webquest in groups to plan, design, and organize their virtual ecosystem
b) Students will design their ecosystems using a combination of Google Earth and Google SketchUp
c) Students will explain their design using a podcast or VoiceThread
4) Ask students if they have heard of the term “podcast” before. If not, explain what a podcast is and tell students that we will be listening to some of them.
5) Listen to several student-created podcasts:
a) 5th grade students at The Neighborhood School in NYC, came up with ideas on waste management and shared them via this podcast.
b) 5th grade students from Jamestown Elementary in Virginia discuss how to reduce their carbon footprint.
c) Students at Acres Green Elementary in Colorado created Ecosystem Podcasts, creating a guessing game for their listeners.
d) 3rd grade Radio Park Elementary students in Pennsylvania created a podcast about static electricity (iTunes/podcasts).
e) Radio Willow Web is a podcast channel created by students at Willowdale Elementary in Nebraska. This episode is about renewable energy.
6) After listening to these podcasts, ask students for their reactions. What makes a podcast good? Compile a list of criteria to reference later.