Unit 4: Soils, Systems and Society Kit Presentation
- Construct a standards-based, K–8 Soils, Systems, and Society Kit consisting of lessons and supporting materials, which teaches about a locally and broadly relevant societal issue in the context of soils
- Effectively present their Kit to their peers
Context for Use
This unit is designed for elementary education pre-service teachers (students) in an undergraduate level science teaching methods course.
The unit begins with detailed discussion of the Soils, Systems, and Society Kit assignment. This assignment should be given to students early in the course, during Unit 1. Students should have a minimum of two weeks to consider and construct their Kit following Unit 3. Most of the research and Kit development should be completed outside of class, although periodic checkpoints and in-class discussion of Kit progress will facilitate student success (see suggested timeline below in Teaching Notes and Tips). After completing their Kits, students present their work to the class using a gallery walk (read more about teaching with gallery walks). During presentations, students review each other's work and the instructor completes the final assessments.
Any equipment needed by the student for his or her Kit is from the student's resources or obtained on loan from the instructor.
Prior to this activity, students should have examined patterns in map data (Unit 2) and soil testing methods (Unit 3) and been introduced to basic soil science content, resources, and practices. In addition, they should have previously brainstormed relevant soil societal issues (Unit 1) that could be used to focus their Kits. Additional context for science methods courses (such as using science journals) is described when you click on "Show pedagogic choices" under the "making the module work" section on the overview of the module and throughout the units.
Importantly, this activity does not include detailed description of how to write lesson plans. Although lesson plans are a requirement of the Kit, teaching how to write and develop lessons is outside the scope of this unit. Students should know how to write standards-aligned, K–8 lessons prior to Unit 4–this knowledge may come from previous education courses or within the elementary science methods course.
Description and Teaching Materials
Preparation Prior To Class
- If possible, bring a model Kit to share with the class when you initially introduce the assignment.
- For underclassmen or inexperienced students, it may be useful to provide a list of online resources or materials ideas for students.
Review the Soils, Systems, and Society Kit Assignment (Microsoft Word 23kB Jan7 16) with the class (it should have been handed out in Unit 1). If students have not done so already, they should choose one societal issue to focus on for their Kits.Outside of Class Work On Kit (Time varies, at least 3 weeks)
The Soils, Systems, and Society Kit is an out-of-class assignment. Students should be allotted at least 2 weeks to complete their Kits, but more time gives them the opportunity to create a better product. It is important to help students stay focused as they work independently. A suggested timeline is included in the Teaching Notes and Tips section below. In addition, make time for appointments with each individual or group at the halfway point (e.g., at 2 weeks in a 4-week work time) to answer questions, troubleshoot, and make sure that students are on track.
Kit Presentation (Time varies, 2–3 hours for a gallery walk)
After students have had time to complete their Kits, the instructor should schedule time for them to present their work to their peers. Options include students presenting their work in a gallery style presentation or teaching it during an in-class field practicum (see "Show pedagogic choices" under the Adapting the Module to Different Courses section in the module overview). Depending on the size of your class, you can have students set up posters around the room or at table groups. The students' presentations are evaluated by the instructor using the Kit rubric (Microsoft Word 23kB Jan7 16) and Gallery Walk Checklist (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB Jun15 15).
The time needed to complete this part of the activity varies depending on the number of students in the course, if students work on the Kit individually or in groups, and whether you require the students to facilitate lesson(s) from their Kits as part of their presentation.
Reserve time after the gallery walk to reflect as a class. It would also be beneficial for students to write a final reflection on the Kit project in their science journals. Some guiding questions for discussion or reflection include:
- In what ways did the different Kits include systems thinking?
- How did the Kits include interdisciplinary perspectives?
- In what ways were scientific practices incorporated into the Kits?
- How was data included in the Kit lessons?
- (Metacognitive) What was the value of the Kit exercise to your future as an elementary teacher? What did you learn from the assignment? What would you change?
Teaching Notes and Tips
Suggested facilitation timeline: It may be appropriate in some courses, such as graduate or senior-level courses, for students to work on their Kits entirely at their own pace with minimal week-to-week guidance. In other courses, students may benefit from structured requirements due each week that they work on their Kits. The following timeline suggests weekly requirements for a four-week Kit development time period. At least 30 min in class per week would be devoted to Kit work time.
- Week 1 — Draft concept map and potential standards
- Week 2 — Data, potential resources and activities, and draft learning objectives
- Week 3 — Draft concept map and Kit outline
- Week 4 — Presentations
- Weekly in-class discussions about Kit progress or outside-of-class instructor meetings
We have provided several assessments for evaluating the Kits and the entire module experience. Together these assessments address the kit and unit overview, lessons and supporting materials within the kit, the kit presentation, and the overall module goals.
- Soils, Systems and Society Kit Rubric (Microsoft Word 23kB Jan7 16) — This rubric addresses specific kit and unit overview requirements within the Kit. General lesson requirements (e.g., alignment of objectives and standards) should be assessed at the level of the lesson using an instructor-provided lesson plan rubric (see next).
- Example Lesson Plan Rubric 1 (Acrobat (PDF) 44kB Feb7 14) and Example Lesson Plan Rubric 2 (Acrobat (PDF) 158kB Oct16 13)— Two example lesson plan rubrics. Example Lesson Plan Rubric 2 was developed to assess this edTPA-aligned lesson plan format: Example Lesson Plan Template (Acrobat (PDF) 147kB Oct15 13).
- Gallery Walk Checklist (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB Jun15 15) — A checklist developed for assessing the Kit presentations in a gallery walk.
References and Resources
The Dig In! books from the National Science Teachers Association are an excellent resource for soil investigations.