Monday, February 22, 2016

Determining Importance and Synthesizing Information

Students were off to the races and quickly began working in their project teams to explore the question: Should more than six people be allowed at a lunch table?.  Engagement has been high, but frustration began to seep in as their emails were not being answered by principals. The other schools team and the interview team learned that gathering information from busy people was difficult, at best. However, they persevered, checking their emails each day.

The internet research teams finished up and consolidated their data as a source of evidence for arguments. We decided as a project team to delay the experiment since personal observation of the fifth graders could be used as evidence. Apparently, the six-person rule is only a guideline.

The most promising results were the student surveys. Students administered the surveys to one fourth, fifth, and sixth grade class. They quickly began to tally their results. Each team discovered that their surveys had small flaws, but they problem-solved past the issues. They also discovered that many of the survey responders did not read the directions and answered the survey incorrectly. Both were valuable life lessons for the teams.

Finally, as a whole class, students tallied the survey results and transferred them into three tables. Each student had their own copy of the data tables. They were required to reconcile the responses to the number of surveys and arrive at percentages. Students partnered up to complete their charts. Again, there was a high level of engagement during this process.

Once their tables are complete, students will have enough text evidence (survey data and internet research) to begin planning their persuasive essay. My final blog will explain our planning and writing process.

It's been an interesting journey to obtain primary source information. They've learned the value of perseverance, working collaboratively, and dealing with setbacks and frustration. It will be fascinating to see how students interpret and "fit" the data as evidence to support their arguments.

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