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Blended Bites Blog

Virtual Thinking Project

Jessica Anderson

Since I started working as a high school teacher, I've always wanted to do a science fair.  However, after doing a lot of thinking I'm finding myself leaning more towards a virtual thinking project instead. I'd really like to start helping my students make a digital footprint by including worldly collaboration in my curriculum in the form of making and defending scientific arguments and innovating in light of worldly issues. I feel doing a virtual thinking project would allow them to really start innovating and creating instead of just consuming. It would also give them a larger audience than just their peers.

Here are some very initial thoughts on what it might look like:

-Worldly problems dealing with science and humanity--asking students to come up with innovations to deal with problems and issues of their choice.
-Yearlong project starting in late September and most likely ending in May.
-Virtual collaboration between students across the world...no limit on grade level.  I really think it would be interesting to have elementary/middle/high school students all working with each other in some way or another.
-Google Hangout/FaceTime/Skype sessions between students on their chosen issues and/or e-mentors.
-Peer editing done by students at other schools via Google Drive.
-Possible final panel presentations monitored by students, teachers, and science professionals. Maybe all done using Google Hangout and scoring via Google forms. 


I think it might also be interesting to have them make 2 min. proposal videos after they've done some form of literature review and have a virtual dialog about the initial project. 

Here's where you come in:
I am looking for teachers and students in schools across the globe (any grade level) to participate in this collaborative project with my students. Yes, I could have them participate in a Google Science Fair or Siemans Challenge, but I'd really like to start by connecting with other schools and students on a smaller scale.

I'd like to do collaborative work with participating teachers to come up with a project format, rubric, final assessment, etc.  If we get enough schools to participate we may even be able to break into smaller cohorts.

About my classroom:
I teach 9th grade earth science, 10th-12th grade astronomy, and 12th grade physics in Deer Lodge, MT. The majority of the students that will participate in this project (from me) will be 9th graders.  All my classes are gamified using the flipped mastery model, and students work and move at their own pace. 

I am excited to embark on this adventure with motivated, inspiring teachers looking for something different to engage their students/themselves in. 

If you are at all interested, please fill out the below Google Form and retweet this blog post. Thanks for helping make this idea a reality.
Sign-ups for this years project are closed. If you are interested in participating in our next adventure please fill out the below comment box. Thanks!