Activity Overview: 

Students work in groups of 3 to produce a KidPix Deluxe slide show presentation featuring a particular habitat and build a model of the habitat to exhibit in the elementary commons area. After students presearch, research, evaluate, produce, and reevaluate, they “teach” other students and family members what they have learned by presenting the slide show and model of the habitat. The day of the presentation, students dress according to the habitat their group has featured. The students will assess their science knowledge, presentation, and group work by constructing a rubric and giving a survey to the audience.

Students utilize tools from the KidPix Deluxe program, a given Internet Web site, and the Eyewitness Encyclopedia Nature 2.0 CD-ROM to produce a slide show “teaching” others about the following concepts in science: 
1.          What a habitat is.   
2.          How organisms can change their environments.   
3.          What an adaptation is.   
4.          How adaptations help organisms meet their needs.  
5.          What a food chain is. 

Students will work in small groups, reaching agreement through discussion, debate, and analysis while respecting each other, each offering personal opinions and knowledge while working toward a common goal. 

Students will show (on their slide show and model) |
·        what a habitat is. 
·        the organisms that survive in a particular habitat. 
·        how organisms meet their needs. 

Students will give an example of a food chain in a particular environment. 

Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the characteristics of a particular habitat and the adaptations of organisms that survive in this habitat by creating a new organism that could live in the habitat.   

Students will explore tool options (including importing graphics from the Internet and CD-ROM) available in KidPix Deluxe to create a slide show. 

The goals and objectives are determined by the district. The curriculum is written by the K-12 staff using state and national standards. 

Students work in groups of 3 to produce a KidPix Deluxe slide show presentation featuring a particular habitat and build a model of the habitat to exhibit in the elementary commons area. After students presearch, research, evaluate, produce, and reevaluate, they “teach” other students and family members what they have learned by presenting the slide show and model of the habitat. The day of the presentation, students dress according to the habitat their group has featured. The students will assess their science knowledge, presentation, and group work by constructing a rubric and giving a survey to the audience. 

(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.)  




Standards (NETS) Performance 
Indicators http://cnets.iste.org/profiles.htm    


Review rules for group work  


Prior Knowledge (Part A-worksheet)

1.      Habitat Characteristics

2.      Organisms living in habitat

3.      Adaptations  

Science K-4: C1, C2, C3, C6


English Language Arts: 4, 5, 7, 8, 9  


Connecting (Part B - worksheet)

4. Creating new organism


5. Using KidPix Deluxe, Nature 2.0, and www. Enchanted
Learning.com to produce a slide showing the organism the group created.  Adding the slide to the existing slide show to complete the presentation.  

English Language Arts: 8


Science K-4:  C1, C2, C3, C6  


Technology 3-5: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7  

Survey Preparation

A.     take a survey. Students take a survey to help the teacher and themselves what information is known and what needs to be addressed in order to understand necessary technology and science skills.

B.     make an audience survey for evaluation purposes Students are aware of the parts of a survey after taking one. Brainstorm what they want to know about the audience after watching their performance so they can better prepare for future performances.


English Language Arts:  
6. Presentation to audience   English Language Arts:   

7. Evaluation

A.     small group work

B.      read surveys-discuss in small group/large group  



Cooney, Timothy (2000). Scott Foresman Science Grade 3. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers.

Marzano, Robert J. (1986). Tactics for Learning. Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory: Aurora, CO.

World Wide Web Sources:

Enchanted Learning.  Available: http://www.EnchantedLearning.com

National Geographic.  Available: http://www.nationalgeographic.com 


KidPix Deluxe. Broderbund.  Available: http://www.broderbund.com

Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Nature 2.0. DK Interactive Learning. Available: http://www.dk.com 

1.      Teacher observation during group work   
2.      Rubric – students will be involved in construction   
3.      Survey – student (for teacher use) and audience (for student use)   
4.      Final Product – slide show, model, and dress   
5.      Chapter test from the text book 



Terri Vennerberg, Teacher, Stanton Community Schools,dtvenn@netins.net

Jerry Gilliland, Technology Coordinator, Stanton Community Schools,  jgilliland@aea14.k12.ia.us

The students have been working on this unit for four weeks.  The final slide and the presentation are the culminating activity. The students will not be reenacting this activity. However, they will be reviewing the science concepts already introduced and the technology skills used to make previous slides for the slide show. This activity will give the students the opportunity to utilize all they have learned previously and to use critical thinking skills to create a new organism that can survive in the habitat they have been featuring in their slide presentation.

I have never taught this unit before.  It was very motivating to me and to the students. We were learning together.  My students were very excited about the “facts” they were learning about plants and animals.  They liked searching for information from the Web site on the Internet and finding new ways to utilize the computer.

My students became very “team” oriented.  Groups helped other groups get through problems they were having at the computer, creating the model of the habitats, or finding information about the animals or plants in the habitats.  Students brainstormed for other groups to come up with ideas on what to wear, how to build their model, and how to summarize information when recording for a slide.  I believe this project brought the students closer together.  It also helped me learn more about my students – their strengths and weaknesses, interests, organizational skills, learning styles, and social skills.

The students are using the computer skills they have learned at school to work on individual projects at home.  I am surprised how fast some students learn a process on the computer. It seems very natural to some.  This group learned very quickly how to copy and paste graphics and add to the slide by drawing, typing, and recording voice. Many groups learned the hard way to save their work and back it up.

The small group dynamics have changed throughout this project. Some of the groups took off and worked well right from the beginning.  Some of the students have learned more about how to accept other people’s ideas and to accept responsibility within a small group.  One of the groups had a very rough start.  The members had trouble sharing ideas.  They each had very strong opinions and were not willing to accept the others’ ideas.  They have learned a lot about becoming a productive group.

I keep a journal to help me reflect about my teaching. This helps me to evaluate what worked and what I need to change or react in a different way to.  Parents help me understand how a child is feeling about the learning process, too.  I like to talk to parents about what the child is saying at home about school. 

I chose KidPix Deluxe because I had been to a workshop and heard a presentation about how a media specialist works with students using it for individual students.  We had the program at our school, but never utilized the slide show component. 

The students used 4 I-Books and 2 I-Macs that Jerry Gilliland, the media specialist, gathered and borrowed from other teachers. 

The population of Stanton is 750. Most of the parents work at factories in larger towns within 30 miles of Stanton. The enrollment is 157 for elementary and 156 for junior and senior high.  The percentage of students having limited English fluency is 0%.   Three students are Native American, the rest are White Anglo-Saxon.

I have a class of 24 eight and nine year old children.  The class is unique in the fact that over half of the class is below level in reading and study skills.  The group shows a great deal of immaturity when it comes to listening skills. It is a challenge for them to learn new material. I feel that the computer can help them practice focusing and completing tasks. Projects on the computer are usually very motivating. This project is a way for my students to utilize the computer skills they are learning and to reinforce and enhance the science concepts they are learning.

Class size: 24       14 girls      10 boys

I chose the project approach.  I feel it is important for students to have individual and small group choice.  The small group situation helps them to learn social and academic skills.  This project provides opportunities for students to apply the skills they learn in science, English, and on the computer, it stresses intrinsic motivation, and encourages them to be “experts” about their needs.  I feel this project is inquiry-based, is naturally inclined for authentic assessment, enhances cooperative learning skills, gives opportunity for real-world connections, and accommodates multiple intelligences and learning styles.

My behavior significantly affects the behavior of my students. I am positive, caring, encouraging, and enthusiastic about my students and their learning.  I am here to model high quality behavior and learning skills.  I practice what I preach. I also discuss mistakes I make and the ways I try to learn from mistakes.

I am my students’ advocate.  I want what is best for my students. I teach my students the most important thing they can learn their whole life is to love themselves. When you love yourself, you make choices that make you feel good about yourself. You can care about others when you feel good about yourself. I strive to reinforce each good behavior I see my students do.  My students feel empowered when they realize that I can trust them and give them responsibilities. They begin to realize together they can make a difference among the school and community by showing empathy and citizenship to others.  My students also feel proud of their academic achievements and become confident when sharing what they have learned with other classmates, classes, and community groups.  I often set up situations where my students can relate what they have learned to others.  The slide show is one way my students are able to share with classmates and others what they have learned about animals and plants in science.  They will be able to teach others how to use the computer and software to do other projects in school and outside of school.

I was a student and then a facilitator for the STS-Science and Technology in Society program in the late 1980’s.  I believe that what students learn must be based on their curiosity and their unique path in finding the answers to their own questions. The path to learning is complex based upon my students’ prior knowledge, their misconceptions, and life experiences. Discussions with students, parents, and other educators, acceptance of differences among my students and their families, and the willingness to engage my students in a variety of opportunities helps me to meet the needs of each of my students. My part in this path is to plan lessons that are meaningful to the students and that give them the opportunity to be accountable for their own learning. This is the great motivator. This is what builds knowledge and self-esteem.  This means that my lessons are flexible, yet stay within the guidelines of the standards my school had set. This many times means that students are not always given the same assignment, depending on each child’s learning style, ability, and interest. Students are involved in their learning by having choices when it comes to "showing what they know".

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

Students are learning self-management by evaluating the steps of the project and by group work, by finding the answers to their own questions using reference materials and other classmates. The red and blue cups I use allow students to ask questions of me but this sometimes gave the students time before I got there to "sort out" many of their problems without my help.

Principles of Learning – Compelling SituationInterpretation,CommunicationEvaluation

The students had the opportunity to utilize the knowledge they learned in science about habitats and animal characteristics and adaptations and the technology skills they had practiced when making other slides to create a new animal.  Students have the opportunity to engage in critical thinking to determine the necessary characteristics of their new animal in its environment. The slide show is a tool students can utilize to communicate new knowledge. Students were involved continuously in evaluating their work and the work of the group. Students helped create and interpret an audience survey.

Tenets of DemocracyToleranceCritical Thinking,EmpowermentIndividual Responsibility

Students worked in groups to make decisions together. They practiced cooperative learning techniques, became decision-makers for their project, and were expected to “show their results” by the afternoon presentation.

The students first showed interest in animals.  To “kick off” the unit in science on “Life Science,” students had a pet show. This was a great success.  A wide variety of animals attended (with students’ parents) – a mule, birds, chickens, an eel, gerbils, along with dogs, cats, and rabbits.

I wanted the students to become more familiar with the computer because I knew it would be motivating. I let students spend time “playing” with the different tools on KidPix Deluxe. I then put the science lesson on habitats together with the KidPix Deluxe tools to produce a “loose” idea of this project.  Students’ ideas and more time spent addressing the content standards by adding the Web site to help students gain knowledge of the habitats and organisms living in the habitat, helped me and my students create this project.

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