Monday, December 12, 2011

Instructional STEM Unit Development for the ICCARS Project

Due Date:  February 28, 2012

The ICCARS program has four, distinct deliverables:
  • The NASA AEROKATS TwinCam-AeroPod Field Operation Manual and the AEROKATS TwinCam-AeroPod Image Processing Lab Guide. 
  • The Customized Handheld Field Data Collector (Software Package).       
  • ICCARS NASA STEM Instructional Units. There will be 60 instructional units produced using PBL methodology grounded in inquiry and student led investigations, applying NASA image data and resources, and aligned with Michigan educational standards in earth science, biology, physics and mathematics. These units will be published online with a subscription setup which will also support the dissemination and sustainability of the ICCARS project. 
  • ICCARS eLearning Collaboratory    

Instructional Module Required Components:
  • Utilization of Project Based Learning (Focus of January PLC)
  • Grounded in Inquiry (5 E Model - Guides Student Inquiry)
  • Aligned to Michigan Standards

Formatting Guidelines (Template) for ICCARS Modules
Introduction to Module:
1) State your name/s and the grade level and course for which the Module is designed.

2) State the title of the Module

3) List the Driving Question(s) for the Module

4) List the Major Understanding(s) for the Module

5) List the Expectations for the Module, both Inquiry and Content (code plus full written expectation).

6) List the essential content for the Module.

7) List an example of a project/challenge that would be appropriate for this Module. Examples can be found at:
8) Module Calendar (Listing of Units/Lessons with approximate number of days. Make sure you include the Pre/Post test). Please list each day, such as Day 1- , Day 2-, etc. Each day provides a short description, no more than 2-3 sentences.

** Note – The full module must address: climate change / use of NASA data / remote sensing.

Formatting Guidelines (Template) for ICCARS Unit Plans -- Each Unit is composed of a 5E set of lesson plans.  Most modules will be composed of 2 -3 Units.
Lesson sections:
1.     Labeled “Introduction” -- Give a brief title to your lesson that describes the content focus and include the driving question or major understanding.
2.     Labeled “Expectations” – list the inquiry and content expectations (code only) that represent what students will know and/or be able to do as a result of instruction.
3.     Labeled “Resources” – include a list of all the resources you and students will need to do the lesson, including written materials (handouts), instructional media (slides, overheads, computer software), and scientific materials and apparatus.
4.     Labeled “Safety” – describe any safety precautions you will be taking related to the materials involved in the lessons. What safety gear will you provide, what cautions will you give students?
5.     Labeled “Engagement” – “The teacher or a task accesses the learners’ prior knowledge and helps them become engaged in a new concept through the use of short activities that promote curiosity and elicit prior knowledge. The activity should make connections between past and present learning experiences, expose prior conceptions, and organize students’ thinking toward the learning outcomes of current activities.” (BSCS, 2006) Include a formative assessment as appropriate.
6.     Labeled “Exploration” – “Outline a sequence of activities for the body of the class. Include any key questions you will ask students that will guide them toward your learning goals. Write this section as though you were providing guidance to a substitute teacher – you want her or him to understand the lesson just as you planned it.” (BSCS, 2006)  Include a formative assessment as appropriate.
7.     Labeled “Explanation” – The explanation phase focuses students’ attention on a particular aspect of their engagement and exploration experiences and provides opportunities to demonstrate their conceptual understanding, process skills, or behaviors. An explanation from the teacher or the curriculum may guide them toward a deeper understanding, which is a critical part of this phase. Include a formative assessment as appropriate.
8.     Labeled “Elaboration” - Teachers challenge and extend students’ conceptual understanding and skills. Through new experiences, the students develop deeper and broader understanding, more information, and adequate skills. Students may apply their understanding of the concept by conducting additional activities. Include a formative assessment as appropriate.
9.     Labeled “Evaluation” –Provide a summative assessment task for students to complete or questions for them to address that will give you feedback on how their understanding relates to the expectations.
10.  Labeled “Appendices” – Include any of the following that are relevant to your lesson: Student handouts or activity sheets; pictures, diagrams, overheads, or other resources that will be available publicly to the class.  Include rubrics for assessments and other assessment tools.

**  Notes on formative assessment: Formative assessment encourages students to assess their understanding and abilities and provides opportunities for teachers to assess student progress toward achieving the expectations.  It can be informal oral questioning during class, a written ‘exit slip’ they hand in at the end of class, a take-home question, a problem to brainstorm about, asking them to apply what they learned to a new situation, etc.

BSCS. (2006) The BSCS 5E Instructional Model.  Executive Summary. Retrieved 3/09/11, from
Falk, Andrew, Secondary Methods Class, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. 

1 comment:

  1. Brad Fritz supplied this nice explanation of the terms: module, unit and lesson:

    Climate Change Module
    -- Unit 1 -- 5 E Lesson Sequence
    -- Unit 2 -- 5 E Lesson Sequence
    -- Unit 3 -- 5 E Lesson Sequence
    -- Unit 4 -- 5 E Lesson Sequence

    A module is made up of multiple units and a unit is made up of a 5 E lesson sequence.