As I organized this unit I have encountered the same challenges I have faced as a displaced science educator teaching a class entitled “Study Skills”. My task would be clear as a science teacher. So many of the topics included in the Yale New Haven Teachers Institute seminar “Global Change, Humans, and the Coastal Oceans” coincide with the eighth grade science curriculum. As a teacher of “Study Skills” my approach must be quite different.
There is no specified curriculum for “Study Skills” at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School. Students assigned to the class have been deemed inappropriate for a foreign language due to poor test results, below level reading skills, difficulties with written communication, and/or lack of success in the major subject areas. With no prescribed curriculum I aim to facilitate my students to become more competent in their major subjects and learning in general.
To this end I have chosen to focus this unit on completing research emphasizing the use of appropriate library skills, including the interpretation of graphic data to clarify the materials being researched and the use of visual aids to foster a clearer presentation of research in both oral and written formats
The paper has been developed to extend the knowledge of eighth grade students regarding Long Island Sound as they expand their basic research skills.
They will achieve this goal as they trace the formation of the Sound and follow the changes that have altered the Sound. They will reach an appreciation of the importance of the Sound to all in its watershed. Students will develop a clearer comprehension of the serious implications for all life on and within the Sound as they see how human interaction with the water and land has caused a serious threat to the environment. Students will understand how they can contribute to halting and reversing conditions destroying the Sound.
This unit will enhance the acquisition of the basic skills my students so desperately need while assisting them in preparation of a required oceanography research paper for their science class. While the required report covers a wide variety of topics in Study Skills class we will focus on those related to Long Island Sound. As we complete research on those topics students will gain the skills necessary to continue independently on the other areas.
This unit will also prepare my students for participation in collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts of the Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School team. Students will utilize research to prepare for a town meeting on Long Island Sound.
After completing research students will present their findings to the Study Skills class orally using graphics to underscore their presentations. This will allow students to become more confident with oral presentation in preparation for the town meeting.