Designing Effective Projects : Characteristics of Projects
Inside Projects: Foundation Phase


Pond Water and Pollywogs: A Foundation Phase Life Science Project
Learners rear frogs from eggs, and share their expertise in an informative brochure for visitors at a new amphibian’s exhibit at the local zoo.

Higher-Order Thinking Skills
After collecting information on a frog’s natural habitat, learners synthesize information by completing one of the two tasks; a mural or a field guide. Learners use knowledge and take what they have learned from the natural habitat and apply it to the creation of an artificial habitat. Learners use higher-level thinking to answer the Focus Question within their final slideshow presentation. A K-W-L chart prompts thinking and investigation throughout the project, while the teacher encourages learners to elevate thinking with the journal questions.

Varied Teaching and Learning Strategies 

    • Prior Knowledge: Learners access prior knowledge at the beginning of the project with a Know-Wonder-Learn chart. This graphic organizer elicits questions that learners are curious about. The K-W-L chart is referred to throughout the project and then revisited when the project is over to celebrate the knowledge gleaned about frogs and habitats. 
    • Graphic Organizers: The project begins with a K-W-L chart that learners add to throughout the project. A T-chart compares what frogs and people need to grow. A diagram logically lays out the life cycle of a frog, and storyboard planning sheets help learners to design their slideshow presentations. 
    • Cooperative Grouping: Learners work in collaborative teams to create a slideshow and a newsletter. Each is assigned a role to contribute to the project’s completion. Learners work in pairs, as well, to complete the frog life cycle puzzle. 
    • Peer and Teacher Feedback: Learners receive teacher feedback throughout the projhect through their observation journal writing. Learners give peer feedback as they collaborate and share drafts of their newsletter writing. 
    • Recognition: Learners get recognition through the publication of their newsletter and slideshow scoring guide. The slideshow is shared with other classes, and learners work with adults and upper-grade buddies who affirm and help guide learner work.  
    • Questioning: The journal questions, as well as discussion of Focus and Content Questions provide questioning throughout the project.  As learners fill out the K-W-L chart they are repeatedly asked, What do you know?, What do you wonder?, What did you learn? further probing them to think at higher levels. 
    • Modelling: The teacher models how to collect information and pull out main points. There are models for exemplary work: a learner sample slideshow and a real-life example of frog habitats at the zoo. 
    • Classroom Management: Learners work in pairs and in groups to manage the completion of products. Because this is a Foundation Phase project learners also work with adults and upper-grade buddies to manage tasks such as reading, writing, and computer use.

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