This project will require students to work in small collaborative groups (two to four) to research the Life Cycle of their chosen Minibeast. They will then create a 1-2 minute Digital Story on the MiniBeasts Life Cycle. They will also identify at least two natural predators and an choose an interesting fact (something new that they have learnt from conducting their research).
TIP: Cater the group size to suit your students (ability levels, prior knowledge). Factors you may wish to consider are: if the students have worked with Adobe Spark before, school access to technology, your own knowledge of Adobe Spark and how to provide additional support (parental help).
For some great ideas about different Minibeasts make sure that you visit the additional resource pages.
SCHOOL CURRICULUM AND STANDARDS AUTHORITY (SCSA)
This project meets the following West Australian School Curriculum Standards (SCASA, 2014):
Subject Area: Sciences
Year group: Year 4
Theme: Life Cycles
Science Curriculum: In Year 4, students broaden their understanding of living things form part of systems. They understand that some systems change in predictable ways, such as through cycles (SCSA, 2017).
Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072).
Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)
Making and recording observations of living things as they develop through their life cycles (SCSA, 2014).
Describing the stages of life cycles of different living things such as insects (SCSA, 2014).
Observing and describing predator-prey relationships (SCSA, 2017).
Technology Curriculum: Digital Technologies
Define a sequence of steps to design a solution for a given task (WATPPS21).
Identify and choose the appropriate resources from a given set (WATPPS22).
Work independently, or collaboratively when required, to plan, create and communicate ideas and information for solutions (WATPPS26).
In year 4 Digital Technology focuses on extending and developing skills and understanding of computational thinking (problem solving) SCSA, 2017.
Integrated Subject Area Curriculum: English
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative texts containing key information for a wide range of audiences (ACELY1694).
Image by Sandra Browne
SEE FINAL PRODUCT EXAMPLES BELOW
To meet the required SCSA 2014 Curriculum Standards the students are expected to demonstrate the following criteria throughout the course of the project:
Plan, draft and publish their project (ACELY1694).
Research (google/internet) and record observations (ACSSU072).
Select an appropriate images and/or diagrams (ACSSU072).
Identify one-two natural predators (ACSSU073).
Work collaboratively in small groups (3-4 students). Listen to each other’s ideas and differing points of view (ACELY1688, WATPPS26).
Create a digital story using Adobe Spark that accurately depicts the Life Cycle of a Minibeast (WATPPS21) and that is visually appealing (WATPPS22).
TECHNOLOGY AND END PRODUCT
The students will use Adobe Spark to create a 2-3-minute digital story of the Life Cycle of their chosen Minibeast. During the process of 'making' students will need to research their chosen Minibeast and edit their final creation.
The students will show case their end product to their year four buddy class, who are doing the same project. This will be done by using the class interactive white board to play their digital stories. This will enable the videos to be enlarged and sound increased, thus increasing visual impact.
Students broaden their understanding of living things and lifecycles which is a year four requirement of the Western Australian School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) (ACSSU072). Students plan, create, and communicate their ideas by creating a digital story, thus meeting SCSA specifications for technology (WATPPS21, WATPPS22, WATPPS26).
PRESENTATION AND AUDIENCE
YEAR LEVEL APPROPRIATE
Using Adobe Spark
Two Digital Story examples
BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLE - Digital Story
By Sandra Browne
Dragonfly Life Cycle - Digital Story
By Sandra Browne
According to Harrington’s elements of authentic learning (EDN113, recording 14) students learn best by doing something that they find interesting. The theme ‘Minibeasts’, is intrinsically motivating and caters for different student interests by allowing students to choose their own Minibeast.
The students are actively engaged when they manipulate computers to research their chosen Minibeast and create their end product. They naturally learn through trial and error how to
solve problems, which in turn, enables them to develop subsequent strategies to achieve the desired results (Pearson, 2014).
Students construct their knowledge and understandings through the process of reflection. They reflect on the information gained during the research phase and decide which key elements to include on each slide. When using Adobe Spark, the students reflect on their prior knowledge and experience with the online design application to create their digital stories.
Working collaboratively allows students to share the knowledge acquired during the research phase and thus, provides another perspective. In addition, team members work together to solve problems and think of better ways of doing things. Cooperation between group members also allows them to utilize each other’s skill sets.
The experience is authentic because the students use their personal ideas to create an original digital story. Each digital story has individual elements such as, slide design (visual images and text), voice over (narration) and music. During the final stages of the project authentic learning occurs when students present their end product to the grade four buddy class.
Intentional learning occurs when the students are informed what their end goal will be. This is the driving force behind student learning because it gives the project a purpose. As specified by Pearson (2014) working towards a goal enables students to engage with the material in an intentional way.
The end goal is then broken down into smaller, achievable steps in a series of ten lessons. Designed to gradually increase the student’s skill sets, providing them with the skills necessary to complete the end product.
The maker’s movement is a term used to describe making or creating something by actively doing. The focus is on learning new skills during the process.
Below are five of Hatcher’s principles of making:
Make: Making a digital story presents students with opportunities to express themselves creatively (choice of music, images, text).
Share: Students have a sense of pride and feel content when they present their project to their buddy grade four class.
Participate: The act of making the digital stories allows students to become active participants in their learning.
Support: By working collaboratively the students support each other in their learning.
Change: Students gain more confidence by the end of their makers journey and are equipped with valuable technological skills required to engage in the 21st century.