The students displayed their projects over a week ago, but a trip to Pittsburgh for one daughter’s college graduation and a visit from another college age daughter put me behind on lots of tasks.
The student’s goal was to become an expert on one resource that the US uses for energy, especially electric generation.Â To facilitate their basic researchÂ I put three links on my Moodle site and my website.Â The Energy Information Association and the state of California have very informative energy information sites with lots of diagrams.Â Facing the Future had materials as well.
After researching two days in the library and several days at home the kids and I joined the librarian to learn about ProQuest, an on-line research database.Â They had to learn a number of skills including determining fields of information, note taking using a field format, and boolean searching with the fields.Â Their thinking processes were stretched as they thought about the key words and subject of their research, tried different limiting combinations in the search and explored the results.Â Some good articles were found but it was an uncomfortable method for them, much different than just putting some words into Google and seeing what might appear.
The projects were to be presented as small displays.Â The school secretary found some colored folders that we could use (recycling at its best) and I showed examples of book reports done with section titles, blocks of text and colors.
I wish I had more examples for them to see and more time in class for them to put the display together.Â I now have some beautiful examples for next year!
On presentation day they visited the different displays and collected information about different resources.Â I always want them to process the information after they record it so they wrote some statements comparing the different resources.Â Â They were respectful of other student’s work and most worked efficiently at gathering the information.Â Since they completedÂ individual projects, it seemed more efficient for them to view standing displays than listening to 28 PowerPoints.
Struggles included keeping kids engaged in research during the class time and completing the project on time.Â They were able to choose their energy topic which did help motivate many of the students.Â I will also think more carefully about what I would like to collect from their research process.Â There are so many tools available to the students for managing their research and creating presentations, now we just have to learn to use them well.