Teacher Experience: Dust Bowl Task for 3rd-5th Grade Students
By Ann King, 5th-grade teacher at Hinsdale Elementary School in Hinsdale, New Hampshire
“Defined STEM provides the foundation for my students to work together in a wide variety of ways while implementing 21st-century skills. This platform not only gets my students excited about learning, but it also meets the Common Core standards in a fun and engaging way that’s thoughtful of students.”
Learning STEM skills in a way that gets students excited and engaged.
Implementing Defined STEM to provide students the opportunity to discover new topics while creating fun, meaningful projects.
With “The Dust Bowl and Human Migration” project, we had the option to choose how to present the work, and students loved the idea of having a poster exhibit. We discussed in groups what each poster should depict, then I assigned students the task to research websites that included pictures, facts, and videos of the Dust Bowl. They had a few days to work together as small groups, as a class, and on their own at home with their school laptops. The Defined STEM website also provided an excellent outline for students to follow. The rubrics that were imbedded were helpful to illustrate the expectations for the final product.
As a culmination to the performance task, we invited other classes to do a gallery walk and browse the finished posters while students answered any questions from the audience and talked about their work.
There are so many 21st-century skills that my students incorporated: critical thinking, research practices, oral and written communication, teamwork, and how to use a wide variety of different technology.
The students loved this project, too. They loved doing the research both in groups and on their own. Their final projects were a hit to other classrooms as well!