Anytime you begin a new thematic
"hook" your students by creating a knowledge base
of what they already know about this topic. Brainstorm and
record with your students facts about bicycles, then rearrange
what they already know into similar topics or areas. Use
chart paper and add a post-it note for each unique fact,
so that you can rearrange and group similar areas together
to form large clusters of sub-topics. You can also use concept
mapping software such as Inspiration©
to record and rearrange information. As the students' knowledge
base grows throughout this unit, add more information to
the concept map. Students can even create their own concept
map of what they know about this topic, too.
Once the class has recorded what
they know about bicycles,
the next step is to determine
what they want to learn. But before students begin selecting
an area that they want to research, introduce to the class
more information about this topic. This will expand their
Begin by having the students review
"The Background Story"
of the bicycle. This can either be done individually, in
small groups, or as a whole group, depending on their ages.
Then have the students take the quiz
at the end of this article. Last, have the students add
what they have learned to the concept map.
Repeat this process, but this
time use the "Bicycle Slide Show."
Next, have students take the quiz,
then record what they've learned on the concept map.
Have the students repeat this process
one more time by seeking the "Treasure
Hunt" answers found on the website The
Exploratorium's Science of Cycling. Again, have the
students record what new facts they've learned on the concept
Now that students have discovered
more possibilities about this topic, have students select
what they want to learn more about. Decide whether or not
students can work together or individually, and have them
begin thinking how they will share this information.
At this time, it is also important
to tell the students how you will evaluate their work. You
can discuss as a class what kind of rubrics for scoring
you will use to grade their work. Students should be involved
with the scoring of each other's projects. You could take
two grades for the projects developed:
- one that was graded by the students
- one that was graded by yourself
Fifty percent of the grade
could be given by the students and fifty percent could be
given by you.
Now that each student has selected
an area to research,
the next step is planning
how they will find this information. Students need to understand:
- Will they be working individually
- How will they share ideas with
- How will they compare perspectives
with each other?
- What are the best resources for
finding this information?
Have students use the "Search"
page under student resources to map and locate the information
on their topic.
The final step is a demonstration
of how the students reconstructed
what they've learned to produce a new product. Students
will need to be able to effectively communicate what it
is that they have learned. This product could be a joint
report, a slide show of facts, or a poster board illustrating
this new information.