I teach GATE pull-out classes for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders and maintain our computer lab, so I was looking for something appropriate for advanced learners that would also utilized our computers. I only have students two hours per week so integrating multiple subjects was essential. I also wanted some hands-on activities, not just technology, so students keep a notebook for this project. Knowing the importance of reading non-fiction, so that was a critical piece and though the project is centered around social studies, I wanted as much math and science as I could squeeze in. That’s when I created my first “book project.”
I think historical fiction is an ideal medium for integration, but I realized that much of what students read in novels is passed over because they lack a frame of reference to comprehend much of the meaning, don't have the historical background to truly understand the context, or have enough experience to grasp all of the figurative language. To provide this, I embed links to outside videos, websites, definitions, games, and more. I strive to balance reading, images, and videos as much as possible to keep students engaged, yet challenged and to expose them to diverse media. Students use a notebook to answer questions and complete activities, so they aren’t exclusively on the computer or iPad (I've tested this on a Chromebook, too), but using it as a tool.
This particular hyperlinked PDF project includes links to more than 50 sites (5 of which require Flash Player) integrating multiple subjects:
wind patterns, drought and its affects, tectonics and hot springs, pulley systems, making glass
averages, examining statistics, difference, percentages
vocabulary development, figurative language, motif, mnemonics, writing, character analysis
Jamestown, the Virginia Company, Roanoke, Spanish settlement in Florida, the Powhatan people, the affect of colonization on the native population, the Age of Discovery
. . . and more!
This is all enveloped in questions requiring critical thinking and analysis from multiple sources of media—all in alignment with Common Core.
This project can be done as a class, small group, or individually. You can assign all of it or part. There is a page of additional challenges for advanced students with links to help them with research. Image links and “extras” on most pages are perfect for early finishers to explore. Homeschoolers love my book projects! As this is self-contained and highly engaging, it is ideal for students who read at different rates. You can be assured advanced readers won’t miss the context or historical significance as they read ahead.
A key is included.