Research Lab

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by allisonbeth, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    I would like to take part of our 6th and 7th grade school day (maybe a study hall time) and change it specifically into a research lab. This would be a time where the ELA, soc st, and science teachers can collaborate and have the students actually go through the process of writing a paper from start to end.
    I envision this as a 10 week, 3 day, 30 min class with a very set curriculum/ syllabus that the teachers set up together. I have the idea that each teacher will teach/ cover the material that is the most important to his/ her subject area. Each teacher would take a grade from the completed project (using different rubrics). The teachers agree that, if I figure out the logistics, they will help.
    So, any ideas? Advice?
     
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  3. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Galileo
    You could center a lot around this guy. He did mostly science; however, you could easily orchestrate court room drama around him too.

    Logistics wise you will need a lot of support. I would imagine periodic meetings where you teach the teachers what they are supposed to be teaching the student.

    Good luck. I love science and hope you are able to instill a love in your students for this fantastic subject.
     
  4. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    I think it sounds great! I assume that when you say "research" then mention a "project" you mean a research paper? Or a brochure? or poster? Or anything else with the researched information? Or would it be subject-specific? (Paper for English, travel brochure for Social Studies, labeled diagram for Science, so on and so forth?). Or will every class be doing the same "type" of project with different content?

    As for syllabus ideas . . .

    As far as research, maybe it'd be best to start introducing the reasons for research. You can look at commercials and such and talk about advertising--you need to research the demographics so you know who to target, you need to research your product so you know what you are selling and how it works, you need to research competition so you know how yours is better, etc.

    With a foundation of HOW research works, then you can begin looking at how to gather data. When having students look for information on the internet, trackstar.4teachers.org is a wonderful resource (you can plug in the sites you want students to go to, and when they open a window, your list remains, so they stay where you assigned them to go, instead of logging onto myspace or surfing Google). Talk about validity (and that, while wikipedia is a GREAT reference, it may not be a valid one).

    Tips and practice on note-taking would be helpful as well. And even how to cite sources for a works cited or reference page (whether APA, MLA, Chicago, another style, or a simpler hybrid; I'd probably vote for the last one).

    Give students some pratice finding a source, taking notes, and citing the source. Maybe have them pair up and compare their work with someone else's (if they are looking at related topics).

    Finally, I would assign a research paper/project. Give plenty of class time, provide checks to ensure project, and give class time to revise and such.

    In your timeframe, I'd suggest something like this (off the top of my head, so no guarantees or promises it's any good!):

    WEEK 1: Introduce reasons for research
    WEEK 2, 3: Surf the web and printed materials; discuss validity
    WEEK 4: Note-taking and citations
    WEEK 5: Practice
    WEEK 6: Assign project, allow class time
    WEEK 7: Work time, check sources
    WEEK 8: Work time, check notes and citation
    WEEK 9: Work time, edit, revise
    WEEK 10: Complete project (and maybe present?)

    I don't know how much more structure you want. I know you had three days a week, but only a half hour. Especially at 6th and 7th grade, practice and time will be necessary. That said, they are also only 6th and 7th graders. I am not sure how your students can write. If they still struggle writing essays, a research paper may be a challenge--but other projects may not be. I allotted 5 weeks for the project itself so the kids can ask questions and so you have enough time to conference with them and such.

    I think your endeavor is wonderful! I'd be happy to continue bouncing ideas. If what I have above is NOTHING like you were thinking, let me know and we can try again!
     
  5. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2007

    Wow! Thanks for the great ideas. I had a "research paper" in mind but now am open to some other projects, too. Once I get it figured out, I will share! : )
     

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