In the Saving Earth’s Endangered Elements project seventh grade science students researched the natural resources found within their cell phones and other electronic devices and created infographics to display their work. They utilized real-world data to understand the formation and distribution of these natural resources around the globe. By investigating human use and human impact on these natural resources, students were able to further expanded their work and understanding. Throughout the unit, students realized they wanted to put their actions where their learning was, so we hosted our first electronic waste recycling event. The project concluded with student created Public Service Announcements working as a Call to Action to recycle and conserve these limited natural resources for future generations.
Essential Question: How can we change our use of natural resources to make a positive impact?
Academic Skills & Content: Map making and interpretation, scientific research, creation and analysis of graphs, scientific drawings, identifying patterns in data, natural resource formation, distribution and uses of natural resources, rock cycle
Final Products: Endangered Element Infographic and Video Public Service Announcement
Suggested Duration: 8-10 Weeks
Created with the support of the California Department of Education California Career Pathways Trust
For the “Saving Earth’s Endangered Elements” project, students made video Public Service Announcements (PSAs) giving information about the elements used in cell phones, and created infographic posters sharing information about each element.
You can see one of the student-created PSAs to the left of this text, and see another PSA (as well as infographic posters) in the “Resources” section below.
The power of this launch is the direct connection to student lives: cell phones. During the launch, students used their cell phone knowledge to complete a group ‘brain dump’ poster. As a teacher, I was able to quickly discover student understanding and entry points to greater enhance student engagement during the project.
The beauty of critique is its ability to help students create their most beautiful work by focusing on improvement. Critique should not be viewed as a time of judgement, but instead as a time to help classmates create the best version of themselves in their work.
Exhibition is a time to celebrate student learning, a time to celebrate the learning process, and a time to show off student learning in a public forum. Don’t be intimidated by exhibition. Keep it manageable, but don’t be afraid to reach for the stars. Exhibition can have many faces: share work with other classes at your school, share work with younger students, create a parent night, display work within a community building, the possibilities are endless.
More science PBL Essentials: