Last term year 7 thoroughly enjoyed the topic on the Romans and Pompeii. We investigated Roman life, their influence on the British Isles and the significance of the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79AD. They appeared to be very much enthralled by the dangers in our world. As a result I decided last term that continuing our study of Natural Hazards would be a good way to go. The next topic of study will be Dangerous World, an insight into a variety of natural hazards and disasters that have occurred the world over.
I wanted to put the learning into the pupils hands and I’ve decided to try out project based learning. Since this is rather new to me I felt some research needed be undertaken. Now I couldn’t find a great deal of resources or guidance that I felt was suitable but I found enough to make me realise we’re not quite ready for free reign yet; the students will need guidance and support to meet the objectives of the project. To achieve this I’ve created success criteria for each section of the project and each hazard.
Week 1 – We are going to start the Scheme of Work by looking at plate tectonics – we didn’t quite complete this last term due to time and Christmas events. Then the next lesson is entitled Hazards in the Movies! Can you guess what it’ll include? I’m looking forward to this lesson. The aim will be to introduce other natural hazards, look at movies based on real life natural disasters such as the Impossible and then map them using a key. Should be enjoyable I hope.
Then finally we get onto introducing the project work. I’ll be setting up the homework so that in each group the pupils research a particular aspect of the topic for the following week. That way then they should only spend 20-30 minutes on the homework as required for year 7 pupils. I’ve tried to make it self-explanatory, do you think they will understand?
Week 2 – Pupils will start their Dangerous World Projects. I’ve created levelled success criteria to support the pupils in their project work like the one below. Once for each section of the project. Despite having success criteria, the pupils can produce their project in whatever format they choose – poster, booklet, models, experiments, videos, PowerPoint, display board, a combination of methods…. the choice is theirs. The first table gives generic success criteria each group must achieve to reach their target levels. I’ve grouped students by their current and target level where possible, so for instance those working towards a level 6 are grouped together and have to aim for the level 6 project success criteria. Since each group will be working on a different natural hazard/disaster I’ve included some handy hints such as key words, guidance questions and extras they might wish to include.
The following lesson pupils will complete any outstanding work from the causes sections and move on to the impacts of the hazard/disaster.
Week 3 – For the following two lessons pupils will complete the impacts and start the response section, finishing off in the 2nd lesson. The idea with the response section is that they investigate the immediate response to the disaster and also how we respond to deal with future events through prediction and preparation. I will be providing resources to help with this section.
Week 4 – And then it’s time for the pupil presentations. Since we have to have assessments marked and input by the last week of term, I’ve plotted to have the assessments completed in the 4th week of this 6 week term to reduce the burden I have on the last weekend (as marking 12 classes of assessments is HARD). In lesson 7 pupils will have time to prepare their resources, projects and presentation speeches then 2-3 groups will present, the following lesson the remainder of the class will present their work.
Assessment for Learning
My plan is that pupils will be assessed throughout the project. In order to do this after each section pupils will individually complete an exit ticket to demonstrate what they have learnt about the causes, impacts and response to their given hazard. These will be collated in their book and assessed. This will make up approximately 40% of the overall assessment.
The remainder of the assessment will be on verbal discussion with pupils each lesson (10%), contribution to the physical project (30%) and their verbal contribution to the project (20%). Luckily classes are a maximum of 20 pupils so this will be manageable. I’m in the process of creating an assessment matrix to tick off when I see or hear students achieving particular skills, knowledge and understanding. It’s an experiment which I hope will be successful, we have to take risks at times.
Update: I will probably use something like this Project Management Log to ensure the pupils record their contribution and roles in the research and project.
Week 5 – Following on from the project and assessment pupils will be designing a response system to a natural hazard of their choosing, this could be anything from an education scheme to a technological idea. The idea is they take what they have learnt about the cause, impacts and responses to natural disasters and use it to create their own solutions to reduce the impact. For lower ability pupils they will be guided in their solutions e.g. design and make an earthquake proof building for testing in class
I am sure there are many other ways in which you could carry out this task. For instance you may wish to give pupils time in class to find the information required for their project rather than for homework. You may even wish to adapt the levels to suit your schools style of assessment.
For my lower ability set I will be providing ‘information’ sheets within lessons for them to use instead of having them rely on research. Their homework will be slightly different in that it will be research but it will be more specific such as it will require them to watch videos, find pictures or find facts to use in their projects.
And finally my resources
Feel free to use and adapt them to meet your needs*
*Please leave feedback if you use my resources, I like to know if they were successful and how to improve them. Thanks.