• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.


Scott Amdahl 6341 Facts Design

Page history last edited by scott.amdahl@... 11 years, 10 months ago


My idea is a 6 week multi-disciplinary unit for 2nd grade students. The big idea is how human activities impact the environment and those that share the earth with us. This is a build-up to celebrate Earth day. Activities include reading the Great Kapok Tree, writing a letter, making and analyzing graphs, participating in an iEARN global project called "Our Footprints, Our Future", and creating a culminating project of their choice (podcast/vodcast, PSA, poster, flyer, multimedia project, animation, a debate/speech) that takes a stand related to the issue. Through their research and activities they will have a chance to create a project about the impact of human activities and then get a chance to do "their part" by reducing their own carbon footprint. 





Throughout this unit students will be working with a variety of symbols. Mapping symbols will be explored while using Google Earth to view images of South American rainforests. As part of their Carbon footprint project, students will be sharing information with students from several countries and will learn about how symbols differ between cultures. The symbols associated with the cultures of the people that live in the rainforests will also be part of this unit. Graphs will be created and interpreted to understand the relationship between numbers related to places and events. The student culminating project will provide students with the opportunity to use symbols to convey their messages as they choose to create: podcasts/vodcasts, flyers, posters, multimedia presentations, written letters, newspaper articles, or other projects of their own design.



Students will use fiction and non-fiction text, maps, videos, images, music, Internet resources, graphs, and concept mapping software to understand information related to their study of the our impact on nature. Students will have to filter the information and determine what is most important to their understanding and their ability to communicate their understanding to others. The students will then have to encode this information to incorporate their knowledge into their sharing activities which will include a variety of formats and venues such as asynchronous communication via iEARN forums, synchronous web conferences, and their final projects in the format they choose. 


There will need to be some "internal discourse" for students throughout this project. As they study the effects humans have on our planet they will have to take a look at themselves and their contribution to the problem. Through the iEARN project they will have a chance to be part of the solution which will hopefully be a compelling experience to support the notion that each person can make a difference.


Cognitive Process:

Students will be required to use a varety of cognitive abilities to successfully complete this unit. This will involve acquiring knowledge about the rainforest and human activities that adversely impact our planet. Students will also have to comprehend, apply, and analyze the information so they can put together their final project. A variety of activities are offered to meet the needs of different learning styles and interests.


Problem Solving


Students will gather information in many forms and come to conclusions about how humans activities created this problem. Their participation in the carbon reducing project will help them attach additional meaning to their understandings and will provide them with 1 of the many solutions to the problem--individual effort.


                    Authentic Problem:

It is hard to dispute that human activity is impacting our planet in negative ways. Students will use information they read/view, data they analyze, and the opinions of others (in class and through collaborations with other classes) to come to a conclusion of their own. The overarching question/problem is "How can I contribute to the solution of the problem of human impact on the environment?" Students will need the background information from their studies of the rainforest and global warming to really understand the problem. There contribution will be in the form of 1) their participation in the Our Footprints, Our Future project and the collective impact of the entire group of student participants and 2) a "pass it on" project that educates others about the big problem we face and encourages them to do their part. By creating compelling projects that empower others to take action, they contribute even more to the solution of the problem.



                    Disciplinary Structures:

Journalist Structures:

fact vs. opinion, conflict, vocabulary, voice, audience, research, persuasion

Environmental Biologist Structures:

Global Warming, greenhouse effect, temperature, Biodiversity, Carbon Cycle, Pollution, Biodiversity, Rainforests, deforestation, pollution, How living things are connected, human impact on environment,

Data Analyst Structures:

change over time, trends and patterns, data collection,

Geographer Structures:

global, continents, equator, latitude, longitude, cardinal directions, land forms, scale

Anthropologist Structures:

agriculture, economics, culture, migration, population


Disciplinary Process:

Journalism Processes: 

audience analysis, drafting, editing, publishing,

Biologist Processes:

observing, analyzing, measuring, reporting,

Data Analyst Processes:

graphing, reporting, data collection, drawing conclusions, verifying

Geographer Processes:

map reading, satelite image analysis (Google Earth), land form study, reporting (land form and earth changes)

Anthropologist Processes:

trend analysis (demographics, migration, economy), reporting,


Disciplinary Discourse: 

Journalism Discourse:

Students will be creating a persuasive yet fact-based presentation for a large audience. Students will also be presenting information in a variety of formats to their learning circle group in the iEARN project.

Biologist Discourse: 

Students will be studying a variety of data (simplified to be age appropriate) related to the rainforest including: rainfall, endangered species, deforestation trends. The data will provide support their final project/presenation.

Data Analyst Discourse:

Students will be using some simplified raw data for analysis and graphing. At least 2 graph forms must be part of their final project.

Geographer Discourse:

Students will use Google Earth to understand the geography of the region and get a sense of the scale related to the size of the Amazon Rainforest. Students will analyze the many resources that are available in Google Earth related to the Amazon rainforest map (for example, the info and images related to the United Nations Environmental Project (UNEP) which are marked on the map). Students will have to decide which facts and images they will use from the many that are available. 

Anthropologist Discourse:

Students will be gathering facts about Amazon culture from non-fiction books and gather perspective from fiction stories (Great Kapok Tree). Students will study factors that impact local culture.


Using Information

Students will have to use information from a variety of sources. They will have to understand teacher created graphs and create their own to support their conclusions. They will gather relevant information from Google Earth such as land form info, images, etc. They will extract information from text and videos and demonstrate their understanding by creating concept maps. They will gather information from and share information with a variety of audiences. The expected result is students who can use all the information they gathered to create a compelling project as a knowledgeable advocate.



The underpinning theme to this project is the belief that everyone can make a difference and contribute to the solution of problems. To that end students will be engaged in the following:



                    1. Local, state, national, and international advocacy and collaboration.

2. Participation as a classroom community of learners that are invested in helping each other learn.

3. Part of a global community that involves other students across the world.

4. Understanding and tolerant of people from different cultures.

5. Students will engage in collaborative learning to gain expertise in their chosen media for project development.

6. Older students (5th grade) will assist younger students to understand challenging content through intra-campus collaboration.



Authentic Activities

          A1. Participate in a global community of students that are attempting to solve the problem of carbon gas build up.

          A2. Present monthly briefings in their learning circles with students from other countries.

          A3. Create a public announcement (in format of their choice) that advocates for increased involvement to address the problem.

Background Building Activities

B1. KWL about rainforest.

B2. Read aloud of fiction story "The Great Kapok Tree" and reading journal.

B3. Shared reading of "Life in the Rainforest: Plants, Animals, and People" and reading journal

B4. Internet activity based on The EPA Climate Change Kids Site

B5. At the computer center students will view  the Discovery Education Videos: "The Tropical Rainforest Habitat" and selected clips from "The Importance of Plants To Our World" and "Deforestation: How Human Activities Affect the Rain Forest"

B6. Students will create vocabulary maps for key vocabulary terms using Kidspiration.

B7. Students learn to sing "The Rain Forest Song" by J.P. Taylor

Constructing Activities

C1. Students will research products that come from the rainforest and bring in 2 examples from home to share. (all students)

C2. Students will build a rainforest concept map based on the videos they view at the computer center. (all students)

C3. Write a letter that advocates for changes that will help reduce pollution. (all students)

The following are options students will have for their final product:

C4. Create a flyer, brochure, newsletter, podcast, video, or animation that provides tips for citizens to reduce their carbon footprint. (student option)

C5. Create a video Public Service Announcement using editable United Streaming clips and their own information to educate the public about the impact of deforestation.


Sharing Activities

S1. Send their letter to a local, state, or national official.

S2. Culminating project presented to peers and learning circle.

S3. Learning circle monthly presentations.

S4. Publish and advertise the student podcasts.

S5. Circulate flyers, brochures, or posters for posting at local businesses. 


English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 2

12.A  identify relevant questions for inquiry such as "Why do birds build different kinds of nests?" (K-3);

12.D  use multiple sources, including print such as an encyclopedia, technology, and experts, to locate information that addresses questions (2-3)

12.E  interpret and use graphic sources of information such as maps, charts, graphs, and diagrams (2-3)

12.G  demonstrate learning through productions and displays such as murals, written and oral reports, and dramatizations (2-3)

12.H  draw conclusions from information gathered (K-3).


Math, Grade 2

11.A  construct picture graphs and bar-type graphs

11.B  draw conclusions and answer questions based on picture graphs and bar-type graphs


Science,Grade 2

3.A make decisions using information

3.B discuss and justify the merits of decisions

3.C  explain a problem in his/her own words and identify a task and solution related to the problem.

9.A  identify the external characteristics of different kinds of plants and animals that allow their needs to be met

9.B  compare and give examples of the ways living organisms depend on each other and on their environments.


Social Studies, Grade 2

7.A  describe how weather patterns, natural resources, seasonal patterns, and natural hazards affect activities and settlement patterns.

7.B  explain how people depend on the physical environment and its natural resources to satisfy their basic needs.

8.A  identify ways in which people depend on the physical environment, including natural resources, to meet basic needs;

8.B  identify ways in which people have modified the physical environment such as building roads, clearing land for urban development, and mining coal

8.C  identify consequences of human modification of the physical environment such as the use of irrigation to improve crop yields; and

8.D  identify ways people can conserve and replenish natural resources.



1.B Create original works as a means of personal or group expression

2.B Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

2.C develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.

3.B locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.



  • Computers with internet access and the following software
    • Kidspiration 3
    • Scholastic Keys
    • Audacity (open source)
    • Windows Movie Maker (free)
    • Photostory (free)
    • TuxPaint (open source)
    • Google Earth
    • Animation-ish
  • Additional Hardware:
    • Headsets w/ microphones
    • video camera
    • digital camera
    • scanner
    • web camera (optional but useful)
  • Other Materials
    • United Streaming videos (mentioned above)
    • Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
    • Life in the Rainforest: Plants, Animals, and People by  Melvin Berger (Author), Gilda Berger (Author)

    • "The Rain Forest Song" by J.P. Taylor (lyrics and CD)

Systems of Assessment

Assessment Focus:

The focus of the unit is for students to understand the big picture and make a personal connection. There will be regular formative assessments done for all disciplines. For example, all math and reading during the unit will be part of the theme. Assessments in these areas will be more traditional and will include quizzes, etc. The "big picture" assessments will be in the form of 1) rubrics and 2) a one-to-one reflection interview with the teacher. The rubrics will be used by the teacher for assessment but the final presentation/project will also be self and peer reviewed via different rubrics. Examples of some of the rubrics are below.


Rubric Samples:




Final Project


Multimedia Project - This is an example of the media rubric. Each different type of project will have a rubric. Their process of creation (problem solving, research, etc. will be evaluated using the Public Awareness Campaign rubric (final project link above). The media rubric will evaluate their effective use of their tool of choice (multimedia, audio podcast, animation, etc.)


Active Reflection:

Unless they are presenting that month in the iEarn project (which will be evaluated via rubric) I don't have a formal assessment for the interactions that will occur between our class and the class from another country. The expectation that students will understand is that they can contribute in many ways such as 1) sharing information ideas with students in the group, 2) asking good questions, 3) sharing information they learn with people outside the group (parents, siblings, etc.). Students will journal after each collaboration to keep them "reflective" about the exchange of ideas.


Interview with Teacher:

Each student will have a 3-5 minute interview with their teacher at the end of the unit. A variety of questions will be asked that are related to content knowledge, value of the experience, likes/dislikes, their contribution, etc. The interviews will be recorded digitally and edited to make a single audio file that can be posted as a podcast on the teacher's blog.






Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.