Students over the past couple of weeks have been actively engaged in the Star Wars scholastic journey. Tasks have included designing his/her own droid to take on a role in the galaxy and learning about 2D & 3D shapes using themed shape nets. Not only are students fully engaged in the storyline and characters of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, they have all delved into the tasks with eagerness and zest!
Similar to the Podracer design task the students participated in a few weeks ago, students were to design a droid that would have a job in the Star Wars universe. Using examples from the movies, students recognized familiar droids such as: R2D2, C3P0, Battle droids, and little messengers called MSE (mouse) droids. Students created a blueprint, gathered materials and started to build.
Assessment for this project was in the hands of the students in self and formative methods. Using Google Docs, a document was created to generate criteria for the rubric, and students inputed information of what they felt were important details to be included and wanted to be assessed on. The Google Doc was received well and all students had an opportunity to contribute to the final Google Forum (Rubric). Student generated rubrics are successful forms of assessment that brings the learner into the assessment process. With student-generated rubrics, they now become more accountable for his/her work and want to do the very best they can (hopefully for themselves as the primary pleaser). I am not saying that teacher-generated ones are not used or not well received. They do provide a model and accustom the students to this style of assessment.
As a group, we developed the criteria:
After the students went to town and inputted what they felt was appropriate for each category:
After students inputted their thoughts into the Google Doc, the Google Forum was created using the criteria headings and the above criteria to reflect back to.
Again, as mentioned in a previous post, one of the features of Google Forums is that you can summary of the students results to the rubric. It was interesting (but not totally shocking) this time with the results. Students as a whole, were honest and extremely fair on themselves. When viewing the results, %42 felt that their projects were creative and had a function. %47 felt their project was unique and %47 felt they did a good job on their written component. Now what about the other half of the group? Well, some students were eager in the design phase, but didn’t put the same effort in construction. Some students took pride in socializing the entire time.
In many cases and what I have discovered in the past, is students are generally much stiffer graders on themselves. Which isn’t necessarily a negative. At the end of the day, our purpose to having the students involved in the assessment process is to begin developing the evaluative skills and become much more involved in the learning process. By inviting them in, it will hopefully encourage the learner to set higher goals for themselves and place more emphasis or value on their work.
Star Wars Geometry
Geometry is often one of my favourite math units to teach and learn with the students, and this unit doesn’t escape the Star Wars Scholastic journey. In fact, geometry is everywhere in the Star Wars galaxy.
To keep the Star Wars study alive, we focused on 2D and 3D shapes. In large and small groups we studied polygon shapes (and names), types of angles and lines. After a brief encounter with 2D shapes, the group searched out 3D shapes (spheres and prisms) and what makes 3D shapes different by having faces, edges, and vertices.
After the students acquired knowledge abut the shapes and worked on some hands pre-made models, it was time to bring in the build your own 3D model (nets). After some hard research on the Star Wars activity page, a new addition to the page was six character 3D nets! (four popular selections imaged below)
I was giddy when I found them, I could just imagine how the students would react to seeing these gems..I mean geometrical shapes!
Students were buzzing when they found out that they could create a character using the net and each selected one to create. Once students constructed the shape, the next task was to determine how many faces, edges, and vertices. Students relied on prior knowledge to get them through the task, and once this was accomplished, they were to record their totals in their workbooks, and some even upload their 3D net total onto the blog to share. Students were engaged in the process and had a blast learning about faces, edges and vertices while building a 3D Star Wars model.
Up next: Star Wars thematic Art, Individual/Group projects
Until the next time,
May the Force be with you