Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Creating Images to Capture Research

In the coming weeks, our school will be going on an outdoor Lorado Taft in Illinois. The students have all been assigned to a camp group with a name of a Native American tribe.
education trip to
Our Social Studies teacher wanted the students to do research on their tribe. That's where the librarian and I came in. Instead of just "fact finding", we encouraged the teacher to focus the students' research around an essential question. Then, look for evidence of character traits in the articles and then choose an image to represent the tribe based on the characteristics they found. Essentially, to do a short research project (a la Common Core) from one or two sources, and come up with an image to represent their tribe at Taft.
In this case, the essential question was "How did characteristics of Native American tribes vary depending on their geographical area? How does one tribe differ from another?"

The students used Google Drive to capture their research so that they could collaborate with their tribe members. Also, when we went to create the Tagxedo (Wordle like Web2.0 tool), they could paste their analysis and evidence of the characteristics of each tribe into the word box to generate for their image.

The students researched using World Book Online and Cengage Learning, both databases we have paid for a subscription.

Then, once the students read the articles, they came up with three characteristics that would best describe their tribe. Then they wrote an analysis of the evidence.

The evidence from their research and the analysis was copied and pasted into Tagxedo. (Silverlight 5 might need to be downloaded for the application to load.)

The image that the students wanted to represent their tribe was loaded into Tagxedo, they played with the colors and voila! a beautiful image to represent their tribe!

Each student in the tribe created an image that we saved to the shared student server. Then in their tribes, the students voted on the best image, and that image was printed and then will be taken to TAFT to represent the whole tribe during the outdoor education experience.

We were pleased with the outcome because:
1. The students used 1-2 well chosen sources to look answer their essential questions.
2. The usual "fact finding" was transformed into a valuable short research project.
3. The students needed to think about their tribe and chose an image carefully.
4. I loved that the images were not ALL printed, and the students could vote on the image that represented their tribe best. There were some heated discussions about the choice of images...indicating that the students chose their images with purpose.

If I was to change the project, I would allow the students more time for research and to discuss with the students how they were chosing their images. They went to Google Images and uploaded images. I would have liked to discuss in more depth where they could go to select images that were in the public domain.

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