2010 Award Winners

The Top Ten - Grade Level 4

Rebecca Pilver, Hall Memorial School, Willington, CT

The unit began with students exploring the concept of opinion through the high interest 10 title, The 10 Deadliest Predators on Land. This book served as an anchor text as students learned about reading, researching, and writing nonfiction. As they read what the authors believed to be the 10 Deadliest Predators on Land, students examined the text for the factual evidence that supported the author’s opinions. The culminating product of this interdisciplinary unit is the Top 10 wiki http://top10.sblc.wikispaces.net/, collaboratively created by students. The wiki presents to the public what the students believe to be the top ten most dangerous and amazing ocean animals. Their ranking is based on a list of criteria that the students generated. Students apply their knowledge of nonfiction text organization as they share the data from their research through individual animal profile pages on the wiki. The audience of the wiki will be asked whether they agree or disagree with the ranking and to justify their reasoning with their own data. In addition to the profile pages, the wiki also features Voki zoologists who share their passion for the animals through informational public awareness clips, and MyAnimalSpace, a place where students assume the persona of an animal, creating a personalized page (through the eyes of the animal) about their interests, their friends and enemies, their neighborhood, and their side of the story.

CyberCoasters: A technology infused application of Newtonian physics - Grades 11/12

Kathleen Sullivan and Jess L. Gregory, Central High School, Bridgeport, CT

The goals of CyberCoasters are to promote effective 21st Century Educational Technologies through a revision of a more traditional physics project. Physics provides the chance for true inquiry-based exploration. However, these opportunities are often limited because of a lack of resources. Due to the location of the physics class, which met in a computer lab this year, students had an amazing opportunity to use technology that is not normally available on a daily basis. Like most physics classes, the roller coaster project is a benchmark assignment due to its natural differentiation, interest, and coverage of multiple units. By infusing the roller coaster project with 21st century technology skills, CyberCoasters was created. Through CyberCoasters, students are able to create an engaging collaborative community of learners, which has produced incredible results. As an introductory physics class open to all students, the natural differentiation of CyberCoasters accommodates all students, including the gifted and those with intellectual challenges.

Product Invention & Innovation – Grade 7

Susan Margolis, Broadview Middle School, Danbury, CT

The 7th Grade Projects in the Engineering by Design course provide a wonderful opportunity to introduce students to 21st Century Skills. The 7th Grade projects focus on Invention and Innovation. All around us are products people have developed as solutions to problems encountered in everyday life. Students are given a product to examine and observe. Working in teams, students are challenged to investigate human needs and wants, research past inventions, and use a problem-solving process to create innovative solutions of their own. Students “brainstorm” and learn about trade-offs; there is never one perfect solution. Students create survey questions to find out more about users’ needs and wishes. As ideas are generated and sorted, teams choose those worth developing and create rough sketches as guides for 3D computer-aided drafting. Once drafting is complete, students incorporate science as materials and properties are used to make models of their solution to hold, demonstrate and discuss. Students develop confidence and competence as they collaborate to decipher, define, and develop new ideas for solutions to common human problems.