Basic Skills

Language Arts

Reading

reading a book3-D Book Report

Locating the main ideas in a book and deciding how to portray them symbolically as a three-dimensional book report requires high level reasoning.

The courage seen in a historic novel, the talent and skill displayed in a biography, the curiosity found in a mystery or the ways that the main characters show talent, courage or curiosity and the things that personify their characteristics become conceptualized in ways that extend meaning.

Based on Chapter 6 of Transformations: Process and Theory by Doreen Nelson

three children collaborating on a book report1. Identifying the main ideas found in a book and identifying their symbolic meaning.

 

 

children presenting book report to teacher2. Presenting and discussing the book report.

 

 

 

Math

Measurement and Geometry

Organizing the Classroom

The classroom provides a micro-world to study organization and poses real problems unlike made-up problems or games. Using the room as a textbook and learning to read the parts, what's there and why, provides a tool for taking action. The skills used in designing access to things in the classroom are the same skills used in designing access to anything anywhere. Situations that may seem unreal for students to solve, like understanding the problems that the Pilgrims had in getting ready for their journey to America, can be compared to getting ready for a classroom activity.

Teachers are uniquely qualified to direct the reorganization of the classroom because of their experience with planning the use of classroom space. A student who is skillful in naming parts of the classroom, identifying how they relate to each other, and designing how to get access to them has a universal model for examining how other systems fit together. The same questions are raised when creating a program for retrieving data, whether at home, in the classroom, in the community or on the Internet.

The actual job of designing the classroom requires the creation of a work force that divides labor to use time more efficiently. Groups and individuals assume leadership by setting and managing the rules for classroom organization and the time frame for completing their plans. They identify and arrange the work of committees and the system for reporting, evaluating, and modifying results. Classroom systems to be redesigned totally or as individual units include:

  • Storage access
  • Furniture placement
  • Time management
  • Daily operations
  • Record-keeping

Organizing is a design process that proceeds by using the feedback loop of inventory, analysis, invention, evaluation, and modification. Success of the activities comes out of thoroughly looking, counting, and categorizing in order to know what's there and how to deal with it. When students try out plans for organizing they create a reference point for change. In learning how to make plans and organizations, they observe cause and effect as they invent and evaluate solutions. Activities can be done on a computer by programming it to calculate the use of energy and resources.

Based on Chapter 7 of Transformations, Process and Theory by Doreen Nelson.

boy looking for objects in closet

1. Taking an inventory of classroom objects and making a color-coded legend according to categories of functions

boy with tape measure

2. Measuring the classroom dimensions

girl writing on blackboard

3. Measuring and counting furnishings, recording height, width, and depth

drawing of the classroom

4. Making a two dimensional floor plan of the existing classroom space and furnishings

5. Proposing a change and explaining

6. Dividing up into groups, a kind of competition to develop plans and explanations.

"I want to be a member of the desk space planning group because I like rearranging things. I am going to rearrange the desks to make everyone happy and to make enough room to walk."

two boys constructing model

7. Creating a three dimensional study model

two girls arranging furniture

8. Testing the two dimensional furniture arrangements made by each group

boy explaining plans

9. Presenting and explaining the plans

students moving desks

10. Rearranging the actual classroom

student exchanging places in the classroom

11. Using each group's plan for a period of time to see what it feels like to use the space in other ways

12. Voting on the best arrangement

12. Voting on the best arrangement

 

Object Transformations

Changing the size of an object to make a new "skin" for the body affects the space around it, its ability to interact with other objects and its actual use. As students make enlarged sketches of objects on paper smocks and wear them, they get inside their objects to experience being another size. They gain another point of view. The space of the classroom is transformed as the enlarged objects begin to function. What seemed to be a simple change - making something bigger - leads to a new series of questions that needs to be resolved: Who am I?, where was I born?, who are my friends?, where do I sleep or sit? and what is my work?

Based on Chapter 6 of Transformations: Process and Theory by Doreen Nelson

1. Selecting an object with personal memory to become a new skin for the body, a "new" you

1. Selecting an object with personal memory to become a new skin for the body, a "new" you

2. Measuring the person

2. Measuring the person

3. Measuring the object.

3. Measuring the object.

4. Recording the object.

4. Recording the object.

5. Studying geometric shapes found in the object

5. Studying geometric shapes found in the object

6. Building at various scales

6. Building at various scales

7. Examining ratio and proportions

7. Examining ratio and proportions

8. Displaying and explaining

8. Displaying and explaining

9. Building as a "quick" body cover

9. Building as a "quick" body cover

10. Building as a detailed body cover using structural principles

10. Building as a detailed body cover using structural principles

11. Putting in the details

11. Putting in the details

12. Dressing up

12. Dressing up

13. Meeting the families: The Candy family

13. Meeting the families: The Candy family

13. Meeting the families: The Dice family

13. Meeting the families: The Dice family

 

Science

Put students into a virtual labcoat as they pretend to be expert scientists. Not only do they find a virus but need to name it, and describe its origins and life span and propose a cure.

  1. Invent a never before seen virus.
  2. Draw or build it out of sculptural materials.
  3. Write a report that details the vector from inception to conclusion of the activities of the virus, including how it is born, developed, and transferred.
  4. Study and compare the vector to the never before seen viruses.

Shark Virus: A Shark Virus is a deadly virus creaded by Hugo

Social Science

Geography: Locating and Building a Landsite

The landsite is based on a real place - the local community or somewhere in the world with a real latitude and longitude.

The location becomes the basis for inquiries, progressing from "What I think is there," to "What I know is there" and then to "What I don't want in the future" and "What I need in the future." By learning to look, examine geographic conditions and use the skills of map reading, the questions "Where am I?" and "How can I help shape the future?" get answered.

Researching the various types of city layouts (rectilinear, radiocentric, linear, etc.) provides information for learning why cities are designed in different ways. The best layout for redesigning a community of the future is then chosen.

The activities here lead from identifying initial perceptions of community through two-dimensional map making to the creation of a physical three-dimensional model of a selected portion of the community. The model becomes a giant "game board" for building a town, a village, a continent or a civilization of the future for unifying the curriculum.

Based on Chapter 2 of Transformations: Process and Theory by Doreen Nelson.

1. Creating a color-coded legend that identifies major categories of community services

1. Creating a color-coded legend that identifies major categories of community services

2. Locating the study site on different types of maps.

2. Locating the study site on different types of maps.

3. Discussing the features on these maps and how they differ from landmarks on the class map.

3. Discussing the features on these maps and how they differ from landmarks on the class map.

4. Studying how to read the language of scale, legend, symbols, etc. on different types of maps.

4. Studying how to read the language of scale, legend, symbols, etc. on different types of maps.

5. Constructing a landscape.

5. Constructing a landscape.

6. Painting the terrain

6. Painting the terrain

Government and Civics:

n a long range simulation of a city, civilization, business, etc., students act out various roles, develop public policy and learn to make it work. In a city there are commissioners; in a business there are CEO's. Because organizational structure can not function without procedures, lessons are required in the basics of conducting meetings, making and following an agenda, delegating work to committees and other skills that are essential for a group to function and accomplish its purpose. Students can read about or visit real organizations, do research online and keep journals to record and debrief experiences.

Based on Chapter 4 and 8 of Transformations: Process and Theory by Doreen Nelson.

1. Discussing why people organize and establish organizations.

1. Discussing why people organize and establish organizations.

2. Researching government structures.

2. Researching government structures.

3. Researching government roles.

3. Researching government roles.

4. Running for office.

4. Running for office.

5. Writing a speech

5. Writing a speech

6. Campaigning.

6. Campaigning.

7. Selecting candidates best suited to fill government and management positions.

7. Selecting candidates best suited to fill government and management positions.

8. Posting results.

8. Posting results.

9. Making and following simple agendas.

9. Making and following simple agendas.

10. Negotiating, compromising, and merging their individual viewpoints into an overall public policy.

10. Negotiating, compromising, and merging their individual viewpoints into an overall public policy.

11. Functioning in city roles and using government procedures to schedule and cary out policy.

11. Functioning in city roles and using government procedures to schedule and cary out policy.

12. Managing, planning and building a community.

12. Managing, planning and building a community.

13. Researching various government organizations.

13. Researching various government organizations.

14. Visiting local offices.

14. Visiting local offices.

15. Attending public meetings.

15. Attending public meetings.

16. Reporting on activity.

16. Reporting on activity.