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In this MEA, students will determine the best location for building homes based on sinkhole data. Students will determine the best location for building new homes for a growing population, investigate sinkhole data, and determine the best location for the new homes.
Students will receive continuous feedback. The teacher will ask and provide feedback on the Readiness Questions to ensure students are prepared to begin the problem. The teacher will discuss the answers and clarify any questions that may arise. The teacher will circulate the room as students are working and provide feedback on the guiding/reflective questions.
Support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Write a clear and coherent letter to the client explaining their problem solving plan and conclusion.
Identify the means by which sinkholes are formed
Support their claim where the homes will be built based on sinkhole data.
Students should be able to:
Complete a KWL indicating their understanding of weathering, erosion, deposition, and sinkholes.
Write a business letter.
The following steps are recommended when implementing this activity:
The individual component allows students to get settled, get oriented to the task and context of the problem, and begin thinking of possible solutions on their own.
Day 1: Provide students with the background information (found in the Supplemental Reading section). Students may read the information individually or it can be displayed on the projector and read through as a class.
Distribute the first letter to the students and the first data set (reading passage 1 and data set 1).
Allow students time to individually read the letter and the information in the data set.
Use the Readiness Questions with the class to ensure students understand the task.
Go over any new or confusing terminology with students. Explain to students the importance of clearly communicating in their letters to the client when describing their decision-making process and providing evidence for their decisions.
Have the students work individually to brainstorm about the different ways they can address the client's needs. Each student needs to come up with one solution to the problem that they can share with their team.
Individual to Team Work Transition
When students come together in their groups, they will begin the process of building consensus, including using/understanding key terminology, concepts, and the task (i.e., understanding the client’s needs and using evidence rather than basing their decisions on personal preference).
Assign the students to work in groups of 3 to 4 to share ideas, come up with a process, and work collaboratively on their solution.
If students are new to working in groups, you may choose to provide a group work rubric, establish norms, and assign roles.
In their groups, students will share the solution that they chose individually. As a group, they must then decide which components of each student’s solution to use as their group solution.
The teacher will facilitate each group’s sharing of ideas, coming up with a process to solve the client's problem, and working collaboratively on their solution.
Ensure that each team develops a procedure (e.g., their step-by-step method of how they arrived at their solution). The students must include an explanation/justification for each decision. The students must explain and show the work for any math they used.
Walk around the classroom and observe how the students are working on the assignment.
Use the Guiding/Reflective Questions and provide any necessary feedback.
Once the students are ready they need to write a letter back to the client including a detailed explanation of the selection process they designed and supporting reasons/documentation.
You may choose to have students write a group letter, or each student can individually write a letter back to the client to explain the procedure and solution that their team developed. Having students individually write the letter is useful for assigning a grade for the writing standard.
Day 2: Students finish writing their letters as needed.
Students receive the second letter with the additional data set which applies a twist to the original problem.
Again, allow students to brainstorm individually before they get back into their groups to share their ideas.
Teams test, evaluate, and revise their first procedure to make the adjustments necessary to proceed with the second part of the task.
Walk around the classroom and observe how the students are working on the assignment. Use the Guiding/Reflective Questions and Reflection Questions 2 and provide any necessary feedback.
Students write a second letter back to the client explaining whether their solution is different or remained the same as the first one and why. They should also explain their new process and provide supporting documentation/reason.
Once all of the teams have completed their work (possibly in the next class), each group has to present their findings.
For further assessment use the Summative Assessment rubrics.
Information for teachers about implementing MEAs:
For MEAs, teachers will take on a facilitator role. Some tips to facilitate MEAs are:
Question or prompt students rather than pointing out that they are wrong. For example, ask probing/reflective questions such as, "I'm not sure what you mean"
Ask students to explain their reasoning
Resist offering directions for how to apply the data
Remind students to document their step-by-step procedure in writing
Circulate to each group as they're working
Only answer specific questions about the activity
Keep the big picture in focus; that is, ensure that students do not become more concerned about completing tasks than solving the client’s problem
Checkpoints and record keeping devices can help students keep focus and on track
When students are working in groups, assigning roles can help make teams more effective. Example roles can include:
Facilitator: moderates discussion, keeps group on task, distributes work
Recorder: takes notes summarizing team discussions and decisions
Reporter: serves as group spokesperson, summarizes group's activities and conclusions
Timekeeper: keeps group aware of time constraints and deadlines
This brochure from the Southwest Florida Water Management District provides information about sinkholes.
What information are you using to determine your answer to the client? (The information being used to determine the answer to the client are data tables and their knowledge of sinkholes.)
How are you using the qualitative data? (Answers will vary on whether students will place a high or low importance on this information; they should justify their reasoning.)
How are you using the numerical information? (Answers will vary on whether students will place a high or low importance on this information; they should justify their reasoning.)
Explain your process in comparing the information. (Answers will vary. Students must use the data provided to come up with their process of selecting the best location to build)
Why do you think that? (Answers will vary.)
How do you know if you have an answer to the problem? (Answers will vary; the students should justify their responses based on what the client is asking for.)
Would your solution work in a different situation? (Students should be prompted to understand that their process can be used in other similar situations and should be general enough for that purpose.)
What are the most important things to consider in your procedure? (Answers will vary; students need to justify their responses based on the data and their knowledge of sinkholes.)
What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? (Students will have to make trade offs for each location.)
What is the problem? (The problem is that sink holes are arising causing buildings to sink and builders to not want to build in sink hole prone areas.)
Who is the client? (The client is Marion County Developing Company.)
What is the client asking your team to do? (The client is asking the team to review the data for both counties and determine the best places for the cooperative to build new homes.)
What do you need to include in your solution? (In the solution a ranking of the places to live from one to four, a step by step description of the procedure you used to rank the location, and a reasoning behind your selection.)
Do you think there is more than one correct answer for this problem? (There could be more then one answer based off of the data that is collected.)