Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition)
Project Title: Relationships and the environment
Teacher(s): Lauren Dinubilo, Joshua Brigham, and Tim Welsh
Grade Level(s): 9th
Subjects: English, history, science, and math
Build Background Knowledge: Summarize what you learned from the informal
research you conducted on the career pathway for your PBL (e.g. content knowledge,
issues, current events, community resources, etc.)
The conservation and forestry career pathway professionals in California are currently
working with conservation efforts- preserving the California coastline from erosion,
invasive species, and deforestation. Professionals look at the environment and figure out
how to bring the atmosphere back to its native settings, restoring public and private
lands. They manage the use and development of three biomes: forest, rangelands, and
other natural resources. Conservation specialists work in several areas such as soil
conservation, urban forestry, pest management, native species, or forest economics.
Current issues and events of conservation and forestry include: pollution, decreased
funding for federal and state park lands, deforestation, erosion, invasive species, red
tide, and overfishing.
The Assilomar conference center in Assilomar is located on a coastal state park. There
are nature walks available for exploration, as well as conservation efforts. According to
the California Department of Parks and Recreations, the Assilomar State Park, a one-
mile strip beach and rocky coves, offers visitors beach and coast trail walks, a short
boardwalk loop through the natural dune preserve, and overnight lodging.
The Assilomar Natural Dune Preserve is 25 acres of restored sand dune ecosystem. A
native greenhouse houses 450,000 plants of 25 different species. Currently, the
greenhouse caretaker is conducting research, planting native pines in response to an
invasive orange-gray fungus found on the pines. Other resources include state park
rangers and current conservation groups such as the World Wide Fund for Nature
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Review the contextual flow and brainstorm possible project ideas.
Possible project ideas:
• Create a recycling program
• Graphic novel
• Conservation campaign
• Adopt an animal
• Water shed project
• Earthworm recycling project
• Energy conservation project
• Save California’s coastline project
• Tide pool research
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 5
Narrow your focus: Summarize the big idea of this project and how integration
between the career pathway and content areas will take place.
The unit we chose is “relationships and their effects on the environment”. The project we
chose will focus on Tide Pool Restoration. Our encompassing theme, “everything is
connected,” will be integrated into the five content area curriculum, as well as the project.
We want students to be able to detect the delicate balance between all biotic and abiotic
factors that affect the local and extending environments around them. We want the
students to demonstrate their knowledge of the underlying effects of industrialism,
deforestation and the introduction of non-native species. The project will culminate with
the student creation of conservation action plans that will be targeted towards restoration
of that local environment.
We chose to do our PBL project based on conservation of the California coastline by
taking our students to Assilomar State Park to do tide pool research. For science,
students will be asked to record the Biotic life at two stations near the coastline: the tide
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 6
pool station and the beach station. Based upon their quantitative findings they will create
their actions plans supported by their prior research.
Students will complete a research paper and conduct expository reading that will integrate
English content. History will be integrated by the discussion of the growth of industry in
surrounding areas and it’s growing impact on the local environment. In math students will
graph the quantitative results of their tide pool research using linear functions.
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 7
Think about outcomes: What do you want students to know and understand about the
career pathway and the content areas? What 21
Century Skills will be assessed? What
Habits of Mind do you want them to practice? (Requirements: 2 – 3 standards from
career pathway, 2 – 3 standards from math, science, or history, a minimum of 1 standard
from English Language Arts; 2 – 4 21
Century Skills; 1 – 2 Habits of Mind)
Students should know:
E2.0: Understand air and water use, management practices and conservation strategies.
E3.0: Students understand soil composition and soil management.
E5.0: Students understand wildlife management and habitat.
E6.0: Students understand aquatic use and management.
E10.0: Students understand forest management practices.
E11.0: Students understand the basic concepts of measurement, surveying, and
mapping. E12.0: Students understand the use, processing, and marketing of the products
for natural resource industries.
10.3 Students analyze the effects of the Industrial Revolution in England, France,
Germany, Japan, and the United States.
1.) Understand the connections among natural resources, entrepreneurship,
labor, and capital in an industrial economy.
Reading 2.0: Students will know the features of informational materials.
Writing 2.3: Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research
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6. Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects. As a basis for
understanding this concept:
b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in
climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size.
c. Students know how fluctuations in population size in an ecosystem are deter mined by
the relative rates of birth, immigration, emigration, and death.
e. Students know a vital part of an ecosystem is the stability of its producers and
g.Students know how to distinguish between the accommodation of an individual
organism to its environment and the gradual adaptation of a lineage of organ isms through
Habits of Mind practiced:
1. Questioning and problem posing
2. Gathering data through all senses
3. Creating, imagining, and innovating
4. Thinking interdependently
5. Applying past knowledge to new situations
21st century skills that will be assessed:
1. Creativity & Innovation. Students will be assessed on their ability to think creatively,
work creatively with others, and implement innovations. This will be assessed when
students have to create their action plans based upon their quantitative findings from their
tide pool research.
2. Critical Thinking and problem solving: Students will be expected to use various types of
reasoning such as inductive and inductive as appropriate to the situation. They will be
expected to analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other in complex systems
such as a local niche in an ecosystem. Students will be expected to make judgments &
decisions with their action plans.
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 9
Craft the Driving Question: It should be authentic, provocative, open-ended,
challenging and go to the heart of a discipline or topic (require knowledge of core subject
matter). Please share all of the versions of the driving question that you developed.
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Highlight the driving question that you chose as the final version.
What happens when you get off balance?
How does human interaction effect the environment in which we live?
What happens when systems of the environment get out of balance?
How do relationships effect the environment in which we live?
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Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 12
Assessments: How will students show you what they know through products and/or
performances? Describe the assessments and rationale for choosing these
assessments. Attach rubrics for each assessment. (Requirements: 3 authentic
formative and 2 authentic summative assessments with a rubric for each, at least one
assessment must address a 21
Century Skill and a Habit of Mind) See attached for
additional ideas on assessments.
*** The BrainworX Critical Thinking Rubric will be used for all assignments and
Authentic Formative #1
Description: The students will create and assess their Bio-Dome/Terrarium. The students
will create a small ecosystem that will mirror the flow of energy through the aquatic
environment they will be visiting in Assilomar beach. The students will Identify the
producers, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th order consumers, the decomposers and the basic
nutrient pool. They will also Identify the herbivores, carnivores and omnivores present in
their bio-dome ecosystem.
The layers of the Bio dome will include:
–1st Thin layer of pebbles.
–2nd Thin layer of sand on top of that.
–3rd Thin layer of soil (brown)
–4th Thicker layer of dark organic soil.
–5th Add small pieces of various moss
–6th Add a piece of lichen
–7th Add some small plants
–8th Add some small sticks with a mushroom on it.
–9th Add a few organisms
•Just a few, no vertebrates allowed, do not over populate.
•Don’t forget to lightly water it before closing the lid.
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Rationale: This identification process will help students identify how energy moves
through the ecosystem as well as explain the relationships among the biotic and abiotic
factors. This structured activity will mirror the same assessments that happen in the
professional field of conservation and forestry.
Authentic Formative #2: Social Class Pyramid
Description: Students will participate in a small group activity. Groups will be given one of
four social class perspectives (nobility, clergy, monarchs, and peasants) and will be given
items (characters, settings, etc.) to be placed in a social pyramid. The pyramid will have
several different levels (individual, population, and community) and students will be asked
to justify their placements of the items. Each group will have the same items. Depending
on their perspective placement of the items will differ from group to group.
Rationale: Students will gain an understanding of how the social classes and the
individuals within them affected the levels of social hierarchy.
Authentic Formative #3: Graphic Novel (French Revolution’s Reign of Terror)
Description: Student’s will conduct research of the events during the French Revolution’s
Reign of Terror. Students will then use this research to write a narrative from the
perspective of one of the social classes or estates (1st, 2nd or 3rd Estates) that existed in
France at the time of the events. Students will then transfer narrative to dialogue and
begin to storyboard the dialogue into a graphic novel format. The final product will be a
poster-sized graphic novel of the events of the Reign of Terror from the perspective of the
Rationale: By completing the Graphic Novel students will be able to better explain and
summarize the events of the Reign of Terror. Have a deeper understanding of the affects
of the French Revolution on individuals living in France at the time.
Authentic Summative #1: Habitat restoration action plan
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 14
Description: Students will travel to Assilomar beach and do tide-pool and sandy beach
research. The students will filter the sand from 0,5,10,15, 20 & 25 meters from the water.
They will obtain shovels of sand and assess the organisms at each distance from the
water. At the tide pools students will use PVC assessment squares and record all the
biotic and abiotic factors in each square at 0,5,10,15,20 & 25 meters from the oceans
edge. The students will then analyze their quantitative and qualitative data and develop a
flow of energy for the ecosystem and possible destructive factors currently influencing the
ecosystem. The students will finally develop an action plan that will directly address how
to restore or counteract the destructive factors in the ecosystem.
Rationale: This structured culminating project will develop the professional skills needed
to mirror the conservation and forestry career pathway as well as integrate the skills
learned throughout the previous unit “Relationships and the environment”.
Authentic Summative #2: Mastery of Defense
Description: All students will be required to complete a Defense of Mastery Project at the
end of each thematic unit. Students will chose a topic from one of the four core disciplines
to research. They will then write a proposal explaining the physical product they would like
to create (i.e. scale model), create the physical product, and write an abstract explaining
their process and learning. Students will then be expected to orally defend their mastery
of the content standards of each discipline to a panel of teachers, community members
and fellow classmates through presentation of their project. The Defense of Mastery
Projects accounts for 40% of students’ quarter marks. These projects will be evaluated
based on the same Mastery of Standards Rubric that will be used for evaluating
assignments and assessments in the course work.
Rationale: The defense of mastery requires students to integrate their knowledge learned
from all four subject areas. By orally defending their knowledge in the mastery of defense,
students are demonstrating their understanding of the intellectual standards, habits of
mind, 21st century skills, as well as their presentation abilities.
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 15
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 16
Management: Think about the needs of your students with disabilities and your English
Learners. How will you address these needs throughout the process? How will they have
access to the content of the PBL without lessoning the rigor? Explain the strategies you
will use and your rationale for choosing these strategies.
Throughout the unit “Relationships and the Environment”, we will have technological
support on our online Haiku system with printed notes and PowerPoint presentations. We
will offer kinesthetic tools and scaffold lessons to support our all students, but will be
most beneficial for our ESL students. Students will have roles within their groups allowing
peer mentors and support from each other as well as after school support from teachers
from 2:30-4:30pm. Extended time during questioning and informal assessments as well
as preferred seating will also be provided during direct instruction time. Students will use
the Organized Binder systems, as well as keep a calendar of assignment due dates and
deadlines to help with their organizational skills.
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Project Teaching and Learning Guide
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition)
Knowledge and Skills
needed by students to be
Scaffolding and Lessons to be provided by the teacher,
other teachers, experts, mentors, community members
MLA format Teacher will show students the MLA style. Students will then complete
an online scavenger hunt while browsing the Owl Purdue website
Research methods Teachers will conduct research using online resources. Information will
be written on flashcards. The flashcards will be manipulated to develop
a logical outline for a research paper.
Historical content of the
French Revolution and
Student will receive direct instruction on content. Students will
research, synthesize and analyze content.
Students must know how to
interpret and extrapolate
quantitative & qualitative data.
A lesson involving the experimental design process will be taught to
the students. How to interpret the control and variables of the
experiment will be explained.
Writing process Students will participate in the writing process by taking their research
paper through the 5 steps (outline, draft, edit, revise, publish).
How to write a research
Students will choose a research topic, conduct research, and write a
research paper using the writing process.
Map the Project: Draw the storyboard or timeline for this project. Think the major
components of this project and how they will progress over time.
November 28- December 2:
Science: students will learn and demonstrate skills in foundational ecological principles
involving food chains, energy flows and niches.
History: Students will obtain knowledge of the Enlightenment era principles that were
partly responsible for the igniting of the French Revolution.
English: Students will learn proper MLA style format, Cornell note taking skills, and how
to use the Organized binder system.
December 5 - 9:
Science: Students will learn and demonstrate skills in animal detritions. Students will
evaluate skull and mandibles skeletal remains and identify whether the animals were
herbivores, carnivores or omnivores.
History: Students will study earlier revolutions in England and America and their impact
on the ideals of the French Revolution. Students will begin to explore the inequities in
French social classes and the injustices that were placed upon the 2nd and 3rd estates
by the French monarchy. Students will study the beginning events of the French
Revolution including the Estates-General meetings, the storming of the Bastille, the
Tennis Court Oath and execution of the French Monarch.
English: Students will learn the basic elements of a story. Students will be introduced to
the settings of the Reign of terror and begin to draft their story based upon an assigned
perspective. Students will write a story collaboratively using the telephone method.
Students will chose their research topic for their research paper.
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 19
December 12 - 16:
Science: Students will learn and demonstrate skills in competitive exclusion in habitats
and the development and assessment of environmental niches.
History: Students will track the course of the French Revolution from the initial overthrow
of the French monarchy, the Great Fear, the Reign of Terror and the eventual Coup
d’état by Napoleon Bonaparte.
English: Students will learn the writer’s workshop method. Students will finish their
stories. Students will transfer their narratives to dialogue to begin the graphic novel.
January 2- 6
Science: Students will learn and demonstrate skills in biodiversity and population
English and History: Students will create final product of Reign of Terror graphic novel (8-
10 panel comic strip using Halftone app)
Science: Students will learn and demonstrate knowledge and skills in the concepts of
special feeding relationships, symbiosis, parasitism, mutualism and commensalism.
History: Students will examine the Napoleonic Era and the establishment of the French
empire. The implementation of Napoleon’s policy and the eventual reaction to Napoleon’s
policies and aggression. Napoleon’s fatal invasion of Russia and his eventual downfall,
along with the establishment of the Congress of Vienna.
English: Students will begin to research for their research papers. Topics will either by
about ecology or the French Revolution. Students will use a note card method to
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 20
organize their research. Students will create an outline for their research paper.
History: Students will begin to examine the Industrial Revolution and it’s affects on
society throughout Europe, the United States and other parts of the world.
Science: Students will investigate and demonstrate knowledge and skills in all the abiotic
factors of differing ecosystems in the biosphere.
History: Students will examine the effects of Industrialism on urban life and individuals, as
well as the surrounding environments.
English: Students will draft their research paper. Students will conduct peer-edits for their
Science: Students will investigate and demonstrate knowledge and skills in the concept
of adaptability in the biomes of the Earth.
History: Weekly Journal Project: Students will examine and research the lives of
individuals in specific growth industries of the Industrial Revolution and use this research
to complete a week long journal of the individuals life during the Industrial Revolution.
English: Students will revise their rough drafts after being edited and will perfect their
MLA style in their research papers. Students will complete final drafts of research paper.
January 30- February 3
R and R week (reflect and review) Students will work on their proposals for the defense
of mastery and have teacher edits completed.
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 21
MASTERY OF DEFENSE PROJECT/PRESENTATIONS: students will orally defend their
knowledge in front of a panel of teachers, parents, peers, and community members.
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 22
On site people/facilities:
Core teachers, green house specialist, park ranger, BrainworX peer students, UOP graduate
students, UOP professor, ag. specialist (master gardener), Bill and Barry from the SJCOE
energy dept., Friends of the Lower Calaveras River, parents, administration, community
members (MOD panel).
Equipment: iPads, computers, PVC sampling squares, sifters, shovels, digital scales, Charter
Halftone software app, large printing paper, pencil, paper etc.
Halftone software app, large printing paper, pencil, paper etc.
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 23
Authentic Formative Assessments: Formative assessments evaluate your students’ progress
during the PBL and offer the students opportunity to receive feedback and make changes. Some
examples of authentic formative assessments are the following:
• learning logs
• preliminary plans
• rough drafts
• practice presentations
• concept maps
Authentic Summative Assessments: Summative assessments occur at the end of a project or
after a major milestone. Some examples of authentic formative assessments are the following:
• written product
• public presentation
• essay exam
• peer evaluation
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 24
Adapted from Project-Based Learning (Second Edition) 25