The last few weeks of the school year, my 3rd grade class researched information about a country of their choice. While engaged in the research process, they explored a variety of technology resources to gather information, synthesized what they found, and then shared their learning in an oral presentation. The researched information focused on things someone would want to know before traveling to the country. For the presentation, the students pretended to be travel guides, inspiring their audience to visit their chosen country.
We began by watching an old video clip of Yakko’s Song aka “Nations of the World” from the animated series Animaniacs (1993). You’ll notice that the song does not list all countries, most notably those of the former Soviet Union as well as many Asian and South African countries, and that both Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia are still mentioned. We also looked at a current world map and the kids quickly decided on a country they wanted to learn more about.
Students used our WorldBook Online and Kids InfoBits databases to find information. But they also used a number of online tools to measure, for example, the distance and travel time between our hometown, Jacksonville, Florida, to their country’s capital, and look up other information. Students used a note taking organizer. For quick access, I organized all digital tools in a Country Research Symbaloo.
The next step involved putting the gathered information into their own words–writing a script from the perspective of a travel guide.
Creating the Final Product
For their final products, each student selected a Creative Commons or Public Domain image of something they considered important from their country (a landmark, a dish, etc.). They emailed the photos, including the correct attribution information (we’ve been practicing this all year), to me. After some practice, I recorded each student using the Green Screen app for iPad by Do Ink and added the image attribution to their video clip. Ideally, if I had had more time, I would have asked the students to evaluate their projects. I’d also allow for more practice time. As it was the end of the year, however, we were rushed. Still, the students had a great time working on this. They took their presentations very seriously, exploring their potential and building their confidence.
Check out some of the 3rd grade students’ work!