Chesapeake Bay Inquiry Project
Grade: 1st/2nd Grade
Driving Question: Many animals and plants in the Chesapeake Bay are in danger due to pollution. How can our class help to keep it safe?
For our grabber, we chose a kid-friendly video about numerous aspects of the Chesapeake Bay. Not only does it introduce problems in the bay, it is also an engaging and whimsical approach to an otherwise very broad, dull topic. It explains the problem of pollution with “Stormy the Raindrop” talking about different pollutants that have invaded the Chesapeake Bay, and transitions to the idea that something has to change. Stormy then meets with different animals that live in the Bay area. With them, he discusses how their lives have changed due to pollution and why they need it to come to an end.
Because this project is geared towards first graders, they will likely be fairly uninformed about the topic as a whole, so they will need an introduction. However, the introduction must be geared towards students of their age, and this video fits the criteria. This grabber is engaging because it uses many bright colors and also contains kid-friendly characters. After the class watches the video, we will have a discussion about what they gathered from the video to make sure that everyone understands the topic. Please note that we plan to stop the video at about seven minutes and fifty seconds.
This discussion will center on different types of pollution which students have learned about throughout the video, as well as prior knowledge they have. The class will compile a list of things that cause pollution in the bay, and then discuss how you might solve that problem. Once students have come up with at least 5 different types of pollutants (ex. fertilizer, sediment, trash, chemicals, oil, animal waste), the teacher can add in a few other scenarios. If fitting, print out the scenario worksheet for students to use as a reference. Lastly, the project will be explained and the students will be split into groups to begin working on their project.
The final activity based on this question will last about three days. First, the students will be split up into groups of 3 or 4 depending on the size of the class. Then, they will be assigned a pollutant, or given the option to choose. Once they have their pollutant, each group will create a plan on how to prevent it from entering the Chesapeake Bay. They will begin by having a group discussion to come up with different ideas for their project. Collectively, they will choose one of the options that they have brainstormed.
The project will require each group to create a poster that states and illustrates their idea on how to solve their specific pollutant problem. The poster must include the group members’ names, a colorful picture with a caption, a title (the type of pollutant they were given), and a way to solve the problem. Success on these posters and presentations will demonstrate that students understand this material.
Because it is a short project, the grade will be out of twenty points, giving up to four points for each requirement. The students will have all of that class time to work on their posters and then some of the next class time as well if they need a little bit more time.
Once every group has finished their posters, the presentations will begin. Each group will present their poster to the class and explain why they believe that their plan will work. Once each group has presented, there will be time for the students to ask questions, either about specific projects or about the topic as a whole.
Lastly, there will be a small amount of homework given during the week to make sure that the students are focusing on the same topic. Each day, they will pick one activity from a fun workbook about pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and will have to complete it before the next class. These pages range from mazes to coloring pages to crossword puzzles, so they are game-type activities. It should simply reinforce what they have already learned.
Day 1: Video and Brainstorm
Day 2: How does this relate to us, Scenario Activity, get in groups
Day 3: Make Posters
Day 4: Finish up posters, start presenting
Day 5: Finish presentations, closing discussion
Homework: Each day, one activity from the Chesapeake Bay Packet
Poster must include:
Colorful Picture _/5
Title (type of pollution) _/3
Way to fix the problem _/5
White Board or Notepad to use during brainstorm (for student based and classwide discussion)