Lesson: State Reports



Author: Marc Sheehan

Subjects: Social Studies, Writing, Research Skills, Technology Skills

Instructional Level: Middle School

Skills: Utilizing techology to complete a project, Writing, Research

Time: Four Weeks: one day for introdution, four weekly in-class sessions for research and putting the project together, another two to three days for sharing final products

Materials/Necessary Tools: Computers, internet access, digital projector, electronic slideshow program (Google Slides or PowerPoint would work), journals for note-taking, writing utensils

Objectives:
The student will utilize technology to conduct research on a given topic.
The student will use technology to create and present an electronic slideshow at a level appropriate to his/her grade level.
The student will be able to synthesize research to create a project using grade-level written work.

Introduction: This lesson would most likely be the major project for a U.S. History or U.S. Geography unit. To introduce it, I will create an example using Google Slides about our native state (Washington, in my case) and show that to the class to give them an idea of what they are to do for the project. I will then share the requirements (listed below) for the project: the students will be randomly assigned a state to research and create an electronic slideshow about it. They will have four weeks to complete it.

Procedure: I will give the students the following instructions in written form:
Your task: Create a slideshow about a state of the United States. You will have at least 10 slides:
1 introductory slide: give your name, your state, and an image of the state (e.g. flag or map)
8 slides about your state
1 bibliography slide showing the resources you used to complete this project with at least 3 research sources using EasyBib.

Your 8 main slides will feature:
A brief history of the state, including when it entered the Union, colonial/territorial eras
A slide on exploration of the state (who? when?)
population and important cities (include the capital)
economy: industry, agriculture, technology
geographical features and climate
landmarks, historical sites, tourist attractions
Native American influence
Any other interesting facts: state nickname, how state was named, famous residents, for example

Use one of the above topics per slide.

Each of the 8 main slides will include:
An image relating to your topic (choose an image that fits the slide)
A description in 3-4 grade-level sentences

The students will be given a timeline of when the slides were due: the first three in nine days, the next three a week later, and the final three the following week. Each set of slides will to be submitted to me in order to check up on them. Students will also be urged to work on the project outside of class so they can get everything done well and on time. The students will also be instructed to cite at least three of the research sources they used by utilizing EasyBib

Closure/Modifications: The students will share their slideshows to their classmates over two or three class sessions. The slideshows will be submitted to me electronically so that I can offer corrections and suggestions. The project could be modified in terms of length, either number of slides and/or number or sentences per slide. The project will be done in stages, but the time requirements could be altered (submit two every five days, for example). Students could have their work scribed for them if necessary. Students could focus on getting their ideas written down, with the teacher or someone providing assistance on editing those ideas. The students could also be given ideas to use (e.g. for Pennsylvania -- include Philadelphia) to better focus their research.

Assessment: The slideshows will be graded on completeness (all slides done); on the use of grade-level writing skills in spelling, grammar, and composition; on the required use of the research citations; and quality of the project -- is it informative? Is it interesting? Is it legible (could read the typed information on the slides)? Is it done with appropriate writing and images?



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