Saturday, November 12, 2016

Research, Collaboration and Mapmaking -- by Students

I am getting very excited about a new project I am co-planning with one of my science colleagues. We are collaborating to re-vision the unit on global warming. My colleague presented me with an idea about having the students work in small groups or pairs to examine indicators of global warming in different regions of the world. I immediately started thinking about MAPS! In particular, about how perfectly this project lends itself to the documentation of student research and insight in Google My Maps.

And so a project was born!

We've been working this week to develop the project and when working realized that all of these ninth grade students have done a project in their social studies class earlier in the year where they examined a nation in terms of HDI and the nutritional wellness of the people. The title of the project is "R U What U Eat?" It totally makes sense, then, to group the students by the countries they examined in this earlier mini-research project and have them continue to expand their insight about that region of the world.

Originally we were going to assign students to countries and provide them a short (2-4 paragraph) regional climate summary and then guide them in developing research terms so they could learn more about that country or region. Now, they have already provided that information for themselves in the research they did earlier this year in social studies. So, we are going to give them a brief reading about the indicators of climate change and they will be ready to begin researching. Ultimately, they are being asked to make a prediction about the climate health of their assigned region. This is a difficult task for ninth graders so we are providing them with this organizer for their research and guide for developing predictions:

Food & Crops:

Mobility & Travel:
Density & Distribution:

Major Cities:



Major Industries:


Longitude & Latitude:

Land Forms & Sea Level:


Precipitation & Storms:

Seasonal Variation:

Now, consider these combinations:

  • Population Density + Major Industry + Storms = ?

When you combine the different factors from the table, what trends appear?

  • Look for CAUSE & EFFECT… if _______ happens, then _________ will happen next.

Review your research and then develop your prediction for your region.

Ultimately, each group will be given a layer in a Google My Map in which they will present their research and predictions. They will be able to outline and color code regions, drop pushpins in important locations, display images and video, as well as write text (including their citations). When all of the student research and insight is compiled, the map will serve as an interactive way for students to examine the globe and compare regions by turning layers on and off. We are providing them with these questions to guide their reflection:

  1. Was it difficult to make predictions, even with the information and knowledge you had? Why or why not? What additional information or tools would be helpful in making more accurate climate change predictions?
  2. How important do you think it is to make accurate projections about climate change in order to take steps to reverse, mitigate, or prevent climate change? Explain your thinking.
  3. What kinds of connections did you discover between climate change impacts in your country and other countries? How might humans in your environment be impacted by climate change in other environments?
  4. Are any environments impacted more (i.e., more sensitive or vulnerable to climate change) than others? What characteristics of these environments make them especially sensitive to climate change?
  5. What are some variables that are likely to affect the rate of future climate change? (E.g., population growth, economic development, global equity, type, and efficiency of energy use.)
  6. What actions do we take that contribute to the impacts of climate change on other environments? What can we do to mitigate the impacts of climate change on other environments?

What more could we ask for in this project? We are eager for it to begin!

1 comment:

  1. What a creative project driven by fantastic questions. It would be very helpful to see some exemplars once the work is completed, if possible.