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. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Movies About Climate Change

Many teachers in the ICCARS Project share movies/documentaries (besides An Inconvenient Truth) about climate change with their students.  What are the movies/documentaries that you like best?  Here are a couple of movies/documentaries, with a short description of them.  All of the ones listed below can with be streamed or downloaded from the websites.  Please share your comments and suggestions in this posting:

Carbon Nation:  carbon nation is a documentary movie about climate change SOLUTIONS. Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don't buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film that illustrates how SOLUTIONS to climate change also address other social, economic and national security issues. You'll meet a host of entertaining and endearing characters along the way.

A Sea Change:   It’s a frightening premise, and it’s happening right now. A Sea Change follows the journey of retired history teacher Sven Huseby on his quest to discover what is happening to the world’s oceans. After reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Darkening Sea,” Sven becomes obsessed with the rising acidity of the oceans and what this “sea change” bodes for mankind. His quest takes him to Alaska, California, Washington, and Norway as he uncovers a worldwide crisis that most people are unaware of. Speaking with oceanographers, marine biologists, climatologists, and artists, Sven discovers that global warming is only half the story of the environmental catastrophe that awaits us. Excess carbon dioxide is dissolving in our oceans, changing sea water chemistry. The more acidic water makes it difficult for tiny creatures at the bottom of the food web to form their shells. The effects could work their way up to the fish 1 billion people depend upon for their source of protein.

The Age of Stupid: The Age of Stupid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father, The Usual Suspects, Brassed Off) as a man living in the devastated future world of 2055, looking back at old footage from our time and asking: why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?

Earth The Operators' Manual:  “Earth: The Operators’ Manual” dispenses with politics, polemics or punditry; instead, it presents an objective, accessible assessment of the Earth’s problems and possibilities that will leave viewers informed, energized and optimistic.  Host Richard Alley – a geologist, contributor to the United Nations panel on climate change and former oil company employee whom Andy Revkin of the New York Times once called “a cross between Woody Allen and Carl Sagan” – leads the audience on this engaging one-hour special about climate change and sustainable energy, premiering during Earth Month 2011. Alley’s book of the same name, a companion to the program, is published by W.W. Norton & Company.

Power Surge:  Can emerging technology defeat global warming? The United States has invested tens of billions of dollars in clean energy projects as our leaders try to save our crumbling economy and our poisoned planet in one bold, green stroke. Are we finally on the brink of a green-energy "power surge," or is it all a case of too little, too late?  From solar panel factories in China to a carbon capture-and-storage facility in the Sahara desert to massive wind and solar installations in the United States, NOVA travels the globe to reveal the surprising technologies that just might turn back the clock on climate change. NOVA will focus on the latest and greatest innovations, including everything from artificial trees to green reboots of familiar technologies like coal and nuclear energy. Can our technology, which helped create this problem, now solve it?
Learn more about the "carbon calculator" discussed in the program at this site from the Cool Climate Network.