MacDonald Drive Elementary
Grade Level: Pod 4 Enrichment students
Number of Students involved:
15-20 students selected from the total Pod 4 population, with the expectation that as the project develops, a larger number of students from the entire Pod 4 may be able to become involved.
Project Start and Finish Dates:
March /96 - June /96. However, we would like to establish a global database of island communities that can be referenced by next year's students. This project has the potential to create excellent linkages for our students.
Students from the Pod Enrichment class will create a data profile on Newfoundland and post it on our school's home page. Their goal is to interact with Canadian schools on such islands as P.E.I., the Magdaleine Islands, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and Baffin Island (or some other suitable Arctic site).
It is hoped that this exploration and sharing of information will extend to island communities in the Pacific, Indian, and both north and south Atlantic. Islands such as Iceland and the Hawaiian chain are rich sources of diverse origins and ecosystems.
Students will be required to prepare an updated set of questions based on the responses to their online search. They must also be prepared to supply information to distant sites who wish to join our project.
The textbook, Communities Around the World, uses a conceptual approach to content in the belief that the "big ideas" in children's terms remain relevant to life and living although the individual circumstances change.
Three main concepts in the Grade 4 Social Studies program are:
These concepts can be developed by drawing on their experiences of local life, and using them to better understand life in distant places.
None of the nine communities studied in the Grade 4 program is on an island. So we saw this as an opportunity to customize the program to the perspective of a Newfoundland student.
This project will develop skills in the following areas:
Undertaking this project in Grade 4 will have tremendous benefit for our students when they begin the Social Studies program in Pod Five which focuses completely on Newfoundland and Labrador. Their perspective will be significantly broadened from the exposure to island communities world-wide.
1. Students will explore the commonalities and differences that make island communities distinctive, both as a whole and individually.
2. Students will investigate how these factors have affected the economy, the culture, the population base, etc., of each island.
3. Students will learn about the ecosystem of each island, e.g., the number of native vs. introduced species, and the current environmental concerns.
4. Students will use both online searching and e-mail communications to determine the degree of seismic activity and other geologic matters of interest, and the factors that dictate climatic conditions in that area.
5. Students will interpret line and bar graphs (e.g., population).
6. Students will estimate distances in kilometers between communities.
7. Students will develop community comparison charts - e.g. landforms, location, weather resources, homes/shelter, clothing, food, rules/law/gov't., education, transportation/communication, recreation, water, work/jobs.
The above outcomes are tied closely to the provincial Social Studies curriculum
goals which include:
The provincial Language Arts Learning outcomes are also included in this project.
The General Curriculum Outcomes for Technology Education as stated in the Interim Document are widely addressed in this project. As part of their study of various island communities, they will develop an understanding of modern technology including the technology activities, processes, resource utilization, tools and systems applicable to different communities.
The impact of technology and technological change on self, society and the environment, and the role of information and communications technology will be investigated during the course of the project within several Organizers or Domains of Technological Learning such as Communications, Energy and Power, Biotechnology, and Production.
The STELLAR Schools Internet connection is vital to the success of our project in order to obtain access to a sufficient number of island communities to be able to make a critical number of comparisons.
As well, access to the Internet at our school is currently restricted to one computer which is located in a classroom that is often not available to the Grade 4 students. Having Internet access available through the Windows NT server would enable our Grade 4 students to make use of other computers distributed throughout the school.
Assorted information books on islands
The Learning Outcomes previously listed will be used to determine the level of achievement by our students along with anecdotal records and observation by the two teachers involved. Students will maintain a current record of their investigation and findings, and emphasis will be placed on the various research skills they employ. Teachers will also be monitoring students' abilities to engage in group decision-making. The team dynamic is one of the most important process skills we emphasize in our on-going resource-based units.
We believe that this project will demonstrate to our school the exciting possibilities for creating new areas of investigation that enrich students' current knowledge in important curriculum areas. Recognizing the factors that link our province to communities far away is a meaningful step for students in developing a sense that they are part of the great global community.