Teacher Guide for an "Inquiry Leading to Understanding" Project

PowerPoint Biography

By Kristi Rzepiejewski
Meet the Author

"How have people from the past or present positively influenced or changed the growth, culture, and/or people of the United States?"

and Standards



 Student Guide

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Understandings and Standards

Core Understandings
  • Discovering the experiences and accomplishments of an influential American enlightens understanding of the United States.
  • Composing a biography requires extensive research and findings.
  • Presenting findings in an organized manner (PowerPoint) promotes oral language skills and allows others to share in information.
Learning Objectives
  • Students will choose an influential American for a topic.
  • Students will conduct research using various sources to find information about their topics.
  • Students will organize information and create a PowerPoint biography.
  • Students will present presentation to peers.
Wisconsin Model Academic Standards
English Language Arts
Grade 8
Standard A (Reading/Literature)
ELA.A.8.1. Use effective reading strategies to achieve their purposes in reading.
ELA.A.8.1.3. Establish purposeful reading and writing habits by using texts to find information, gain understanding of diverse viewpoints, make decisions, and enjoy the experience of reading.
ELA.A.8.1.4. Select, summarize, paraphrase, analyze, and evaluate, orally and in writing, passages of texts chosen for specific purposes.
ELA.A.8.3. Read and discuss literary and nonliterary texts in order to understand human experience.
ELA.A.8.3.4. Evaluate the themes and main ideas of a work considering its audience and purpose.
ELA.A.8.4. Read to acquire information.
ELA.A.8.4.2. Compare, contrast, and evaluate the relative accuracy and usefulness of information from different sources.
Standard B (Writing)
ELA.B.8.1. Create or produce writing to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
ELA.B.8.1.1. Write a coherent and complete expository piece, with sufficient detail to fulfill its purpose, sufficient evidence to support its assertions, language appropriate for its intended audience, and organization achieved through clear coordination and subordination of ideas.
ELA.B.8.1.7. Use a variety of writing technologies including pen and paper as well as computers.
ELA.B.8.1.8. Write for a variety of readers, including peers, teachers, and other adults, adapting content, style, and structure to audience and situation.
ELA.B.8.2. Plan, revise, edit, and publish clear and effective writing.
ELA.B.8.2.1. Produce multiple drafts, including finished pieces, that demonstrate the capacity to generate, focus, and organize ideas and to revise the language, organization, content, and tone of successive drafts in order to fulfill a specific purpose for communicating with a specific audience.
ELA.B.8.2.2. Identify questions and strategies for improving drafts in writing conferences with a teacher.
ELA.B.8.2.3. Given a writing assignment to be completed in a limited amount of time, produce a well developed, well organized, and effective response in correct English and an appropriate voice.
ELA.B.8.3. Understand the function of various forms, structures, and punctuation marks of standard American English and use them appropriately in communications.
ELA.B.8.3.1. Understand the function of words, phrases, and clauses in a sentence and use them effectively, including coordinate and subordinate conjunctions, relative pronouns, and comparative adjectives.
ELA.B.8.3.2. Use correct tenses to indicate the relative order of events.
ELA.B.8.3.3. Understand and employ principles of agreement, including subject-verb, pronoun-noun, and preposition-pronoun.
ELA.B.8.3.4. Punctuate compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences correctly.
ELA.B.8.3.5. Employ the conventions of capitalization.
ELA.B.8.3.6. Spell frequently used words correctly and use effective strategies for spelling unfamiliar words.
Standard C (Oral Language)
ELA.C.8.1. Orally communicate information, opinions, and ideas effectively to different audiences for a variety of purposes.
ELA.C.8.1.5. Present a coherent, comprehensive report on differing viewpoints on an issue, evaluating the content of the material presented, and organizing the presentation in a manner appropriate to the audience.
ELA.C.8.1.6. Differentiate between formal and informal contexts and employ an appropriate style of speaking, adjusting language, gestures, rate, and volume according to audience and purpose.
ELA.C.8.2. Listen to and comprehend oral communications.
ELA.C.8.2.2. Distinguish among purposes for listening, such as gaining information or being entertained, and take notes as appropriate.
ELA.C.8.2.3. Recall significant details and sequence accurately.
ELA.C.8.3. Participate effectively in discussion.
ELA.C.8.3.5. Accept and use helpful criticism.
ELA.C.8.3.6. Establish and maintain an open mind when listening to others' ideas and opinions.
Standard D (Language)
ELA.D.8.1. Develop their vocabulary and ability to use words, phrases, idioms, and various grammatical structures as a means of improving communication.
ELA.D.8.1.1. Consult dictionaries, thesauruses, handbooks, and grammar texts when choosing words, phrases, and expressions for use in oral and written presentations.
ELA.D.8.1.3. Choose words purposefully and evaluate the use of words in communications designed to inform, explain, and persuade.
ELA.D.8.2. Recognize and interpret various uses and adaptations of language in social, cultural, regional, and professional situations, and learn to be flexible and responsive in their use of English.
ELA.D.8.2.2. Make appropriate choices when speaking and writing, such as formal or informal language, considering the purpose and context of the communication.
Standard E (Media and Technology)
ELA.E.8.1. Use computers to acquire, organize, analyze, and communicate information.
ELA.E.8.1.1. Demonstrate efficient word-processing skills.
ELA.E.8.1.4. Perform basic computer operations on various platforms.
ELA.E.8.1.5. Collect information from various on-line sources, such as web pages, news groups, and listservs.
ELA.E.8.5. Analyze and edit media work as appropriate to audience and purpose.
ELA.E.8.5.2. Develop criteria for comprehensive feedback on the quality of media work and use it during production.
Standard F (Research and Inquiry)
ELA.F.8.1. Conduct research and inquiry on self-selected or assigned topics, issues, or problems and use an appropriate form to communicate their findings.
ELA.F.8.1.1. Formulate research questions and focus investigation on relevant and accessible sources of information.
ELA.F.8.1.2. Use multiple sources to identify and locate information pertinent to research including encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, library catalogs, indexes to periodicals, and various electronic search engines.
ELA.F.8.1.4. Compile, organize, and evaluate information, taking notes that record and summarize what has been learned and extending the investigation to other sources.
ELA.F.8.1.5. Review and evaluate the usefulness of information gathered in an investigation.
ELA.F.8.1.6. Produce an organized written and oral report that presents and reflects on findings, draws sound conclusions, adheres to the conventions for preparing a manuscript, and gives proper credit to sources.