View Lessons by Subject > Science > Multi-Modal Projects & Interdisciplinary Learning
(Biology): I teach freshman biology, and this year my students conducted a research project in which they chose from a rich list of topics, mostly related to the environment (e.g. global change in climate, species diversity, re-introductory & management of endangered species, genetic engineering in relationship to species preservation, animal trafficking, invasive species, etc.). Students worked on gathering research, writing a 3 to 4.5-page research paper, and presenting an oral presentation with visual aid to their classmates. This project was carried out during the 3 weeks between our Thanksgiving and Winter break; a perfect time to place all focus on this single project. Students spent Biology class searching out reliable and relevant sources for their topics, with the aid of myself, as well as our information technology teacher. Students were required to conference with me during this period, and much attention was paid to the correct format of referencing sources. Students used the web-based program, Noodle Tools, to organize digital notecards with their references attached. In addition to constructing a paper, they were required to design a visual (most projects were in the form of PowerPoint presentations) that they would use in their 3 to 5-minute oral presentation. I felt that this was an impactful project for Freshman in several different ways. They were able to invest research in a topic of their interest, and many students made direct connections to their own lives through their specific research. They learned the importance of proper bibliographical format (parenthetical citation and works cited pages), and practiced public speaking skills in front of their peers. It was also necessary for students to time manage in order to complete everything in this confined 3-week period. This project was rewarding for the students, as well as for me. We had ample time to hold individual conferences, and students felt accomplished after organizing a verbal presentation to the class.
(Biology): In my ninth grade Biology class, our final exam grade was the Soil Ecology Project. We were put into groups and had to form our own experiment. The Soil Ecology Project interested me because my group could come up with our own concern and test the soil to find if our initial prediction was correct or incorrect. I was motivated to complete the experiments so we could then begin the creative part of the project. For the creative part, each group could make a song, a movie, or another interactive idea to discuss their project. Although each person in the group had to write part of the overall report, the creative part of the project kept everyone in my group engaged. The Soil Ecology project was the most interesting class project, which allowed me to take charge on a topic I was curious about.