Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Project Based Learning Activity: Environmental Studies

Habitable Planet_water_screenThis post is written by Bill Fischelis, Director of Curriculum and Learning at NU Vision School

This past fall and winter the students at NU Vision School in Boston used The Habitable Planet series from Annenberg Learner as one of the major resources for their environmental science class project, explained in this post.

NU Vision School is a partnership between Northeastern University and the Boston Ballet for students of the Boston Ballet’s pre-professional program. Not only do we help the students balance their rigorous dance schedules with a strong academic program, but we challenge the students to think about their learning in new ways. Our curriculum is project based and driven by the interests of the students.

As part of the environmental science class, students chose a country that interested them and then developed a meaningful project around their exploration. Five of the students decided to make a website as a way to demonstrate their learning and share their knowledge. Below are the links to the five websites.

As part of their research, all the students began by learning basic geography and population factors about their country; these are included in the websites. They also picked one to three environmental factors that were of interest and of particular concern in their chosen country. These factors and how they are impacting society, the natural environment, personal well-being, and the economy are then explained.

We adapted a rubric from the BUCK Institute to inform and assess this project.

These websites are not meant to be finished products. With feedback and additional knowledge the students will continue to edit and add to them. They will appreciate all thoughts you have.

Please share feedback either about the students’ sites (make sure to reference a specific site by country) or the project itself in the comments section of this blog post.

Student Websites:

Aleena (9th grade) – Nicaragua

Allison (9th grade) – Pakistan

Noa (9th grade) – France

Skye  (9th grade) – USA

Tessa (10th grade) – Russia

Where in the World: A Story of a Geologist’s Ingenuity

Do you know where this is? Both pictures are of the same island. The first photo shows a normal, peaceful day and the second shows a volcanic eruption that threatened this bustling fishing harbor. Follow this link to Power of Place, program 6, “Challenges in the Hinterlands,” for an amazing story of a geologist’s ingenuity that saved the harbor. (see 19:16 to 21:06 in the video)

Power of Place_IcelandBoat

Power of place_IcelandEruption








Writing Activity: Travel the Globe with Latitude Shoes

JN_latitude_shoesCheck out this writing project that’s a fun way to learn about latitude. Kathy Corn recently participated with her students at Mills River, Sugarloaf, and Hillandale Elementary schools in North Carolina.





“People everywhere are invited to put on a pair of Latitude Shoes and go for a ride. What would you see if you traveled around the world at your latitude? Write a story about your 24-hour adventure.

  • How fast and how far will you go?
  • Who lives at your latitude?
  • What countries will you visit?
  • What languages will you hear?
  • What seasons do you experience and what clothes do you need?
  • Everyone has the same photoperiod at your latitude, how does the climate compare?”

On the Journey North Web site, the page for this activity includes materials for the full activity; the science, reading and writing, and geography standards connections; a link to share your students’ stories; and a gallery of students’ illustrations and writing. This assignment could be used to assess what students have learned during Journey North’s Mystery Class.

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