1. The Entry Event
The entry event is how you will introduce the project to your students to get them engaged in the topic. When I was in college they taught us the term “anticipatory set” which is the same idea. Per my example: how will you get students excited about macromolecules and nutrition? Some things you could use as an entry event could include:
- Show a video clip of a cooking show such as Alton Brown’s Good Eats or Iron Chef
- Take students on a field trip to a local farm or restaurant
- Bring in a chef as a guest speaker
- Do a blind taste test experiment
- Have students analyze food labels and see how far they traveled
Whatever you choose, it should get students excited and ready to dive in to the project.
2. The Driving Question
The driving question is the main question you want students to be able to answer by the end of the project. A good driving question is engaging, complex, requires critical thinking, and is not something students can just go Google the answer to. Make the wording of the question student friendly. You want the students to be excited about the question, so it doesn’t have to directly address the product. For the nutrition project, a good driving question might be “Are all foods created equal?” This question not only piques your interest, but is also broad enough it can be taken down multiple roads; not just nutritional value but also the carbon footprint of the ingredients, water usage, flavors, cultural significance, and more.
If you live in a state that uses NGSS standards, you are in luck. Since NGSS standards are performance based, they can easily be turned into a driving question. For example:
Once you introduce the project to the students, the next step is to have them create a list of need-to-knows. This is a list of all the things students think they will need to know in order to answer the driving question and complete the project. For the nutrition project, need to knows might include:
- What recipe should we use?
- Where will the ingredients come from?
- Will the recipe include all the food groups?
- What are the food groups?
In the beginning, they might not have a lot to add to the list. But as the project progresses, refer back to the need to know lists, have students cross off questions they have answered, and add new questions as they arise. Use this question list to drive your instruction.
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