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


Insects: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Grade 6-8 Life Science Project
Leaners become entomologists and investigate insects from the twin human perspectives of benefit and hazard. You may want to print this page as you view the entire Insects: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Project

This project is made relevant to learners’ lives by asking the Focus Question: How Do Insects Affect Me? Learners create a presentation to inform the class about the importance of insects in a professional field.

Alignment with Assessment Standards
Project work is central to the curriculum. The topic of characteristics, structure, and functions of organisms is part of the Life Science curriculum for the teacher who originally developed the project.

Important Questions
The theme question,
How are things around me helpful or harmful? is an intriguing question and elevates the thinking beyond the classroom. The Focus Question is How Do Insects Affect Me? and helps make the project relevant to learners’ lives and connect new content to what they already know. Content Questions such as How do I classify insects? How do insects fit into the food web (chain)? What role do insects play in the environment? prompt learners to think about relevant facts and information that lead to the higher level questions. The Focus Questions are posed periodically throughout the project, and learners are given many opportunities to discuss and reflect on it, individually, in pairs, and with the larger group. This not only gives the learners opportunities to think about the content at higher-levels but gives teachers information on the learners’ understanding of the content and ways in which they can direct and redirect their teaching. 

Multiple and Ongoing Assessments
Assessment is embedded throughout the project with informal assessments as the class creates lists, engages in a quesdtioniong session, and has discussions around the project topic and the Curriculum-Aligned Questions. These activities give the teacher a sense of how much the learners already know about the topic and how much learning needs to take place to reach project learning goals. Learners also create individual field journals allowing the teacher an opportunity to assess individual learning. The teacher assesses the final product with the project rubric. Learners manage their work on the presentation with the same rubric and a checklist. At the end of the project learners write a follow-up paragraph or reflection essay about the theme question.

Authentic Work
The learners make real-world connections through the project, which asks them to make connections to their life and to that of an insect’s.
Learners will make contact with the broader community by examining the issue from different perspectives. For example, an entomologist in agriculture or forensics would view the importance of insects differently than an entomologist in bioengineering or chemistry.

Demonstrations of Learning
Learners complete a multimedia presentation that will inform the class about the importance of insects in a professional field.

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