Making an Impact on America: The past, present, and future
1) Who or what impacted the development of the United States? 2) How can 5th graders and their families impact the environment?
Summary

Fifth grade students explore past and future impacts on America working in collaboration with K-8 students at our school, Other schools connected through the Bay Area Air Quality management district curriculum collaborative, and a variety of school and community partners to answer the questions:
  • Who or what has impacted the development of the United States?
  • How do I use technology to learn about and effectively communicate information?
  • How do human activities impact our environment?
  • How can I use technology to influence others to take actions to positively impact our environment?
 
Rationale
 
Students often find research reports, American History, and persuasive writing… well… boring.  However,  when we couple these subjects with web and video design, science experiments, and community connections, student motivation and achievement increases.  This project supports traditional academic standards with 21st century skills: collaboration, communication, and technological fluency

Core Understandings
  • Nonfiction texts utilize a variety of structures and conventions to better communicate understanding
  • Websites allow broad audiences to learn about  and communicate information on a variety of topics
  • Many people and events have contributed to the development of the united states
  • Human activities impact our environment and will impact our futures in America
  • Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling lessen our impact on our environment
  • Persuasive media can positively impact the environment and our future
  • Even 5th graders can positively impact America

Learning Objectives
 
Students will…
  • research a significant contributor who has impacted the development of the United States (reading/research)
  • write and expository report about a significant contributor to America (expository writing)
  • collaborate with their peers to design a website focused on an area of impact on America: (Heroes, wars, phenomena, etc.) (technology)
  • explore the greenhouse effect and human impacts through experiments and data collections about waste, energy, and transportation (in collaboration with the Bay Area Air Quality Management district curriculum collaborative) (science)
  • design persuasive public service announcements – both electronic advertisements and commercials – to encourage positive environmental action (persuasive writing/technology)
  • collaborate, via blogs and websites,  with a bay area high school to compare and contrast their findings and environmental action campaigns (collaboration/communication/technology)
  • present their findings in a public environmental action workshops in collaboration with k-8th grade at our school and at a separate community center earth day celebration  (collaboration/public speaking and public service)

Topic:
expository and persuasive writing, American history, websites, videos, environmental preservation
Themes:
making an impact
personal responsibility
protecting the environment
using technology to communicate
using technology to learn information
Focus Content Area:
English/Language Arts

Secondary Content Area:
History/Social Science
Science
Technology
Grade Level:
5