This lesson centers around historical underdogs. Students will start off with a discussion about their family and friends. They will identify someone they know and care about who has overcome obstacles in their life. The teacher will then model what they would like students to complete during class. Students will have time to select an underdog they would like to study, they will take predetermined steps to research those people and will finish by using collaborative technology skills to enter their information on a shared class document. The activity concludes with a class vote on the ultimate underdog.
Rationale for the lesson
This activity touches on several important aspects of education. First, the student choice involved means that you will not likely have any off task or behavioral issues. The many times I have delivered this lesson, even less traditional readers or students who typically had trouble staying on task have enjoyed participating. Second, the lesson introduces the concept of historical underdogs at the beginning of a unit on several appropriate topics (ex: ancient Greece, American revolution). Lasltly, students will need to collaborate in an online environment as they will all have edit rights to the same document. Things won’t always go perfectly, and it is up the teacher to require the students to make the situation work for everyone.
Prerequisite knowledge and skills
There is not any required information that is necessary; students will have plenty of time to gather what they need about their historical underdogs. You will be surprised with how much students know already, and everyone from a typically advanced student to a low reader will be able to share with you someone they are aware of who has overcome great obstacles. If you are teaching students who are comfortable using Google Apps, the completion portion of the assignment might be a bit easier, however, you can take a student who has never used Google Apps and use this assignment to teach them how to use it.