Environmental Health iMovie Project

Activity Overview: 

Sophomore health students studying environmental health make five minute videos in English and health in groups of two or three. They pre-search their topic (which must persuade the audience) search for information, interpret this information, videotape, and edit final projects. Editing is done in iMovie on iMac computers. The health teacher is responsible for the message, and the English teacher is responsible for the medium.

Students will become aware that a healthy environment is essential to their health.

• Students will be able to describe the components of a healthy environment. 
• Students will be able to identify health problems caused by various types of pollution.
• Students will be able to describe the benefits of responsible waste management, recycling, and conservation.
• Students will be able to list specific ways each individual can help reduce pollution.
Our goals are determined by the district curriculum. The objectives are taken from the sophomore health textbook:Gold, Robert and Jerrold Goldberg. Health. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1999.

Sophomore health students studying environmental health make five minute videos in English and health in groups of two or three. They pre-search their topic (which must persuade the audience) search for information, interpret this information, videotape, and edit final projects. Editing is done in iMovie on iMac computers. The health teacher is responsible for the message, and the English teacher is responsible for the medium.

(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the following activities/standards will appear in the video clips used.) 


Curriculum Standards



National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Performance


Activity 1 – Health Introduction - Self-Inventory: Environmental Alert Checklist-
Students fill out worksheet in health class

Health: 1



Activity  2 – Health –Introduction-

Students watch parts of videos on each area of environmental health, take notes and a quiz.

Health: 1


Science: B5


Activity 3 – Health – Introduction-

Students read the chapter in the health textbook and fill out worksheets.

Health: 1


English Language Arts: 1, 3


Activity  4 - English Introduction – Tutorial-

Students do the tutorial provided in the iMovie software.

 Technology: 1,3

Grades 9-12: 5

Activity 5 –Health Presearch - Planning Sheet-

Students select an environmental health issue, work in groups of two or three and use the sheet to narrow their focus while brainstorming the position they want to support.

Science:  B5, F1, F4, F5, F6


Health: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


English Language Arts: 11


Activity 6 Health -Search -

Follow up Speaker Sheet -

Students fill out worksheets after listening to community resource people who present in class.

Naturalist from Clayton County Conservation Center at Osborne speaks on recycling.

State Congressman Lyle Zieman speaks on environmental issues.

English Language Arts: 7, 8


Science:  B5, F1, F4, F5, F6


Health: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7



Activity 7 English and Health – Search -

Students search for information on the internet, conduct interviews and do print research.

English Language Arts: 7, 8, 11


Health: 1, 2


Information Literacy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


Technology: 4, 5

Grades 9-12: 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 10

Activity 8 English- Interpretation

A.     Students read an article from Videomaker magazine about the use of storyboards.

B.     Students watch portions ofShrek, Matrix andStar WarsDVD’s using the storyboard views. Shrekhas artists presenting their storyboards.

C. Groups plan their videos using storyboard worksheet.

English Language Arts: 1, 3, 4, 7, 11


Science: B5, F1, F4, F5, F6


Health 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Activity 9 Health- Conference with teacher-

Groups discuss their planning sheet and their storyboard sheets with the health teacher who helps them evaluate their research so far. She also goes over the rubric again with them at this point in their project to check educational value and youth orientation.

English Language Arts: 4, 11


Health: 5


Activity 10 English and health –Interpretation-

Taping and editing.

Student shoot raw footage

and edit video projects.

English Language Arts: 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12


Health: 5, 6, 7


Technology: 1, 3, 4, 5

Grades 9-12: 4, 5, 7, 8, 10

Activity 11 English - Information Processing-

Media Specialist presents an activity for the groups to evaluate the information they have gathered so far and plan what they still need.

Information Literacy Standards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


English Language Arts: 4, 7, 8, 12


Health: 6



Activity 12 Health –Communication-

Students communicate their

research by showing the class their finished video projects.

English Language Arts: 4, 8, 12


Health: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Technology: 4


Grades 9-12: 5, 8, 10

Activity 13 Both classes – Evaluation-

A. Rubric – teachers watchthe videos individually andthen meet to agree on a grade.

B. Students evaluate own project with rubric.

C. Students evaluate all projects using worksheet.

D. In English, students write a reflection essay.

E. In Health, students take chapter test

English Language Arts: 4, 5, 6, 11


Information Literacy: 2


Health: 1, 2, 4, 5




Activity 13 Health -Field Trip - Students visit recycling center

English Language Arts: 7


Health: 1


Science: F1, F4, F5, F6


Internet Resources:
Apple Computer. (2002). iMovie 2: I’ve got a great idea for a movie. [Online]. Available: http://www.apple.com/imovie [2002].
IMovie software. Apple computer. . [Online]. Available: http://www.apple.com

Daniel, K. (1997). Elements of literature. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Gold, R. & Goldberg, J. ( 1999). Health. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Pogue, D. (2001). iMovie 2: The missing manual. (1st ed.). Cambridge, MA: Pogue Press.
Stinson, J. “Storyboards shotlists.” Videomaker. April 2002: p. 71+.

Ferrin, E. (2002). iMovie. [Online]. Available:
http://tewinkle.nmusd.k12.ca.us/imovie.html [2002 January].

Schoolhouse videos. (2002). Video samples. [Online]. Available: http://schoolhousevideo.org/Pages/VideosSamples.html [January 2002].

Health Videos:
Only Home We Have: Man and the Environment 21 minutes 1994. AVI. 
Ecosystems and the Biosphere. 27 minutes 1996 Coast Com College.
Fossil Fuels 1991 21 minutes Scott Resources.
Acid Rain. 1992 20 minutes Scott Resources.
Greenhouse effect. 1989 28 minutes Perspective Film.
Noise Pollution. 1988 26 minutes Films for Human.

Central Community Schools Media Specialist Hila Garms 
Naturalist from Clayton County Conservation Center at Osborne speaks on recycling.
State Congressman Mark Zieman speaks on environmental issues.

Health grade: Final project video rubric, chapter test, speaker sheets, quiz over introductory videos, Self Inventory, Planning Sheet, Storyboards.
English grade: Final project video rubric, reflection essay, Planning Sheet, Storyboard. Tutorial, Article. 

Each teacher grades the projects individually followed by a joint meeting to determine the final grade. Students also evaluate every project.

Susan Gnagy, High School English Teacher, Central Community School, snagy@central.k12.ia.us

Barb Duwe-Peterson, High School Health Teacher, Central Community School, bduwe@central.k12.ia.us

We are reenacting some of this video to show a unit instead of a lesson. The unit is usually four weeks long. The health instructor starts the environmental health unit first because health is taught every other day. In health, students read the chapter, see introductory videos and hear speakers on environmental health issues before the video assignment is given. In English, the unit starts with an iMovie tutorial. 

The English unit is scheduled for the spring as a continuation of a year-long emphasis on persuasion. Sophomores start the year with Parliamentary Procedure presenting school issues at a mock school board meeting. Around Christmas, they study persuasive techniques in non-fiction essays and then write a Pro-Con essay on a topic selected in biology class. They have to argue one side of a blood issue and their partner argues the other side in a persuasive essay. This video unit in the spring is followed by a debate. 

This is the fourth year we have taught this collaborative unit. Our reflection is ongoing; we note suggestions for next year of the unit calendar and rubric. We found that groups of three work best and realized that we needed to assign specific roles in each group: leader, technician, writer. Our greatest insight is that it takes longer than we think. We are concerned that the technology doesn’t overshadow the educational message of each project. The projects HAVE to teach and persuade.

Sophomores work in a computer lab with 20 G3 Macintosh computers and five iMac computers using iMovie software, which came with the computers. The teachers assign groups of three, so that students can work in both classes on the same computer with the same group. This year we went to groups of three as we found that four was too many. They all want their hands on the mouse, and students in groups of two were overwhelmed with the amount of work that needed to be done. 

Avid Cinema originally came on one of the Macintosh computers with a built-in digitizer that converts analog video to digital video. We are still using Avid Cinema on some machines so students can use analog video cameras they might have at home. Because Avid Cinema is no longer available, we will gradually be switching all groups to iMovie as we purchase more iMacs.

Students work every day in English and every other day in health during the two weeks of video production.

Central Community School District is located in Elkader, population 1500, in the heart of scenic northeast Iowa. The rural district encompasses an area of 187 square miles including the five incorporated towns of Elkader, Elkport, Garber, St. Olaf and Volga. The district has a total enrollment of 656 in K-12. The staff is composed of 92 professionals and support personnel. 

What percentage of students have limited English fluency? .0016
How does your enrollment break down according to ethnicity?
Black            = .0048    3
Amer Native = .0128    8
Asian            = .0080    5
Hispanic        = .0032    2
White            = .9712    609
Total               1.0000   627
Free & Reduced total is 217 which is .3461 of total or 35%

Class sizes average 20 students evenly divided boys and girls. This class is especially motivated with few discipline problems. Making videos meets the needs of diverse learners. “Even students who may not be as articulate in the written word find new ways for effective communication with digital media technology and easy to use applications such as iMovie” (Apple iMovie Web site).

We chose project-based learning because it is exciting and appeals to all. We subscribe to the philosophy stated on the Apple iMovie Web site: “Bring learning to life. Technology today is giving students more ways than ever before to research, collaborate, communicate, express their ideas and share what they have learned. Digital media can truly enhance learning and fun, providing a more compelling and effective learning environment for today’s students.”

Content: Environmental health is a state standard for health classes. We have combined that with an English unit emphasizing skills students need to be successful in the world of work. The project was much like a business situation as described in the Skills 2000 Survey. The teams had to work together to complete a video persuading the audience on some aspect of environmental health. We wanted students to present ideas to co-workers, communicate effectively, use software to compile and present information, work in a team environment, solve problems individually or in a group, respond to change positively and effectively, collaborate, negotiate and delegate, and deal with people, information and processes with integrity. 

Knowledge of our students helped us chose our teaching strategies: Small groups, videos, guest speakers, field trip, worksheets, teacher demonstration of software and a student tutorial for the software. Students feel comfortable learning is a small group, which is usually more informal. Because the students are allowed to select their topic, they take ownership and do more extensive research. In terms of student conduct, we have found that small group peer pressure helps keeps students on task.
Student Reflection:
“Working with a group for a project like this was really helpful because we needed as many ideas and suggestions as we could get to make this a really effective movie.”

Covenant Management
The informal nature of small group learning and student-centered learning often gives teachers the opportunity to know their students better. More opportunities arise to connect with students on topic and off topic. Students respond to this relaxed classroom setting by feeling more comfortable asking questions. 
Student Reflection:
“A relaxed atmosphere can make learning more comfortable, and thus more successful. If a student is uneasy, chances are good that they will not learn or work as well as the students who are. Brittney, Kate and I were comfortable in our environment, and this made it easy to concentrate on what we were doing.”

We have also developed this unit around the Five Core Propositions of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards which state what a teacher should know and be able to do.
1.Teachers are committed to students and their learning. - We want all of our students to learn at whatever level they are capable. In this unit our special education students can achieve success at the same time our high achievers are pushing themselves and neither at the expense of the other. 
2. Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students. – This is just one of the across-the-curriculum units that students do during their sophomore year. The English, biology and health teachers collaborate on most units so that students see “how knowledge in each subject is created, organized, linked to other disciplines and applied to real-world settings.”
3. Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning. – Our emphasis in this unit is on student centered learning. The teams are responsible for the research and the presentation. It “captures and sustains their interest”.

Student Reflection:
“SCL is the best way to get students to learn to their greatest potential. I feel that people learn best when they are put in a position where they have to solve problems on their own. We absorb things better when we are involved, not just listening to a teacher talking at the front of the room.”

4. Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience. - Since neither teacher can anticipate every problem that will arise in small group learning with technology, the students see us as we troubleshoot, read manuals, ask others for help, etc. They see us struggle, resolve problems and continue to learn right along with them. 
5. Teachers are members of learning communities. – Our professional learning community includes the English teacher, biology teacher, health teacher and the director of media. We meet regularly to review the sophomore curriculum and revise. We add outside speakers and field trips to tie the unit to our community

Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model Components Highlighted in This Activity http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/modelimage.html   
(Note:  This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the elements from the Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model that are described below will appear in the video clips used.)

Students at the Center of Their Own Learning: 
Student teams are responsible for picking the topic, setting the schedule, making interview appointments, checking out cameras, researching, using their time well, staying on task and meeting the deadline.

Student Reflection 1
“We took charge of our own learning when we decided where we wanted our materials and what kind of things we wanted to use.”

Student Reflection 2
“I believe student centered learning is one of the most effective ways to prepare high school students for college and/or the real world. There will be no teachers or parents with us after we graduate to tell us when we need to work and when we need to relax. This form of learning gives students the change to motivate themselves and learn problem-solving skills, but the teacher will be there to help and guide.”

Student Reflection 3
“I think projects like this make us be more responsible for our project and ourselves. Having us be at the center of our own learning also lets us do our own problem solving, so we have to figure some things out for ourselves, and not just have the teacher tell us exactly what to do. I think that I learn better this way.”

Student Reflection 4
“I believe student-centered learning can be very helpful in preparing students for the world. Problem solving, critical thinking and reflective thinking are all things that will be necessary when we start out on our own. It is also helpful that it can be adapted to different learning when we start out on our own. It is also helpful that it can be adapted to different learning styles, making it possible for all students to learn the same material in a way suited to their individual needs.”

The students use technology in their research and in presenting their information using iMovie software to produce videos on environment health topics. 

Student Reflection 1
“I liked making the iMovie because it was a lot of fun and hands on. That’s what made it a lot more exciting. I like learning with technology instead of sitting in a classroom and listening to the teacher’s lectures and burying your face in a textbook. I learn a lot more working hands on than I do staring at a textbook.”

Student Reflection 2
“The more technology is tied in our everyday learning, the more we will be prepared for a world that has become very dependent on computers.”

Tenets of Democracy: 
Thinking together and Making Meaning – To produce an effective video with an educational message requires the team to work together. The individual research is shared and combined into one project, which requires that making meaning is a group effort.

Student Reflection 1
“Student centered learning is a good idea, but it will only work if you have a group that is willing to work hard. My group was not cooperative, and a project can only be as good as the person who is willing to work the least.”

Student Reflection 2
“I think that being an active participant is great for learning, and it is even better when you are in a group because it is easier to troubleshoot. You can explore things that other people may know, but you hadn’t the time to learn.”

Critical Thinking and Decision Making – Students meet in teams to brainstorm ideas for a topic. They use the planning worksheet for presearch and storyboard forms to organize their video.

Student Reflection
“Decision-making was the hardest part of the process because nobody wanted to offend anybody else by saying something that would make someone feel stupid. Also nobody wanted to make the other members of the group feel that what they said didn’t matter.”

Tolerance – The students had to work together as a group to meet the assignment. 

Student Reflection 1
“I worked in a group of four, and we had to respect each other’s opinions. That is a skill that we are going to have to use all of our lives whether it be putting up with annoying neighbors or dealing with co-workers on the job.”

Student Reflection 2
“We learned to tolerate our group members even if you thought you were right or more in charge of the project than they were. Right along with that, we learned to decide stuff with the members of our group.”

Individual Responsibility and Civil Involvement with Others: After the first few days in what we call the floundering period, the students realize that each person has to contribute for the video to be effective. Some years we have played the Man on the Moon group behavior game to reinforce the idea that the team thinks better than the individual. We played a Murder Mystery game to reinforce the idea that input from every member is essential since the murder cannot be solved is somebody sits with their clue and doesn’t share it. 

Student Reflection 1
“After doing so many of these projects, I have learned that you can’t rely on someone else to do the work. You have to take charge to get stuff done.”

Student Reflection 2
“I watched the groups work, and every single people in every group had an input in the video.”

Power Sharing and Empowerment: 
Student Reflection 1
I most surely learned something about power sharing because in all other projects I was the boss, but in this project there would be occasions where I would have to step down and allow a group member to lead us.”

Student Reflection 2
“It seemed as though we weren’t a group at times because we just couldn’t connect in a way that we could work well. I will admit it was a real challenge for me trying to take charge, because I’m not the type of person to be a leader.”

Student Reflection 3
“At the beginning, we had a little trouble with communication. This may have been because in another group, we all probably would have been the leaders, so no one wanted to take that away from the others. After a while Stephanie sort of took charge, which helped to make us share our ideas.”

Content Standards: 
Health – Students learned about environmental health in a variety of ways – textbooks, Internet and interviews.

Student Reflection 1
“Mr. Fassbinder pointed out some good points to us that I had never though about before….. We really need to cut down on driving. Mr. Fassbinder is helping our environment by using an electric/gas car.”

Student Reflection 2
“This unit was a good way for us to realize that we need to be more aware of our environment and people’s space and their health.”

Information Processing: 
Appreciation – Students are usually more interested if they can select their own topics.

Student Reflection
“Picking our own topic is a very good idea because when kids pick their own topic then it means that they must have some interest in it, and they should be able to have fun but yet get a lot of work done on it.”

Presearch – Students used a planning sheet to brainstorm and narrow their topic. 
Search - Students did interviews, Internet research, experiments, and used print sources. 

Student Reflection 1
“The best part was the direct experience because we interviewed a guy with an electric car, and he gave us information that we used to develop our video.”

Student Reflection 2
“In order to process the information and data we were receiving, we had to be able to understand it which meant Internet research on our topic and an interview with the school administrator, Mr. Rodenberg.”

Interpretation – Students planned their videos using storyboard sheets. 
Communication – Students presented their information in a persuasive 5 minute video.
Evaluation – Teachers used a rubric. Students evaluated all projects and wrote a essay reflecting on the whole process. 

Student Reflection 1
“We decided to change a lot of stuff as we were going along to make our movie run smoother and be more appealing to our audience.”

Student Reflection 2
“At first we had plans to do something really neat, and by the time we got in the middle of our video, our plans had changed a lot just because we got different information and we thought that it went one way it would be easier than to do something different.”

Principles of Learning: 
Compelling Situation - Teams picked their own topics.

Student Reflection 1
“When we first started, we interviewed Frank Phippen, who gave us an abundance of information. We were so engrossed in reading it, that we lost track of time. At this point, I felt we needed to “weed out’ the technical stuff that wasn’t necessary for our video. As soon as we did that, the ball began to roll quite fast.”

Frequent Feedback – The informal learning situation made it comfortable for teachers and students to make comments about projects.

Enjoyable Setting – This is a unit, which allows a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom. I know we are successful when students come in and begin work without announcements from the teacher and in fact resent the time you are taking away from them when we do have announcements on work days. 

Student Reflection
My group’s active involvement was very good. Sometimes too good! I LOVE INFORMAL LEARNING! It was a very enjoyable setting.

Active Involvement – 
Student Reflection 1
“If you are active, you focus on the project at hand, If you are bored, then you get off track.”

Student Reflection 2
“I liked how this project let us be at the center of our own learning. It helped me to be able to figure things out for myself rather than having a teacher standing up in the front of the room lecturing to me. We had to be involved in this project.”

Student Reflection 3
“Active involvement is very important in good learning. It helps the students absorb the information instead of hearing it and quickly forgetting. I learned much more about the Bottle Bill by taking an active part in my education than I would have from listening to a lecture. “

Informal Learning – 
Student Reflection 1
“Informal learning seemed very appropriate for this project. It gave us a chance to take full responsibility for ourselves and use our own time management skills to get the job done. The informal learning, for our group, was very nice because while two people were out taping, the other was in here editing and creating. If this would have been a very strict, structured class, we would not have had the time (or interest) to make our project come out as well as it did.”

Student Reflection 2
“We will probably remember this information longer since we had hands on learning and didn’t just memorize it for a test.”

Direct Experience 
Student Reflection
“When we weren’t sure how to run something on the computer or with the camera, we used trial and error or asked classmates for help. We learned a lot of things without the teacher actually telling us how the technology actually worked. We learned from direct experience; we were the ones using the software, not watching as the teacher explained how to use it.”

Reflection – The teachers meet at the end of the unit to make changes for next year. The students write an essay reflecting on the unit as a whole.

This is the fourth time we have taught this unit. 
•The topics were too general the first years, and we have learned to help them narrow the focus earlier in the process. 
•The third year we required storyboards for the first time, and this year we actually taught the process using Shrek, Star Wars and The Matrix DVD’s. Many DVD’s show the original storyboards along with the video. Shrek has the artists presenting storyboards to a creative team. The health instructor also checked storyboards with each group before they began taping making suggestions and going over the rubric once again in light of their proposed end product. 
•We lengthened the unit from three weeks to four.
•Play the Man on the Moon and the Murder Mystery group behavior games each year. 
•We have learned to allow plenty of time for troubleshooting. 
•We are continually refining the rubric. 
•Each year we try to make the assignment more specific.

(Learning activity format adapted from National Educational Technology Standards for Students Connecting Curriculum & Technology http://cnets.iste.org/students)