The problem/task that is presented to students is that due to recent budget cuts, elementary teachers are looking for other sources of science educational material and has asked your school to provide materials on cells. Students will work in groups to develop elementary-student-friendly materials as they demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of cells and the cell theory.
This project works out well as a culminating assessment/project for your middle school or high school unit on cells. Rather than a typical test, students get to express their imagination and creativity while showing the teacher what they've gained from your cell unit. To this day, this project has become one of the most memorable projects for my former students. Below is a detailed description of each page in the product.
Page 2, Introduction Sheet: this page gives your students their problem, task, requirements, and timeline of project. As soon as they see the problem and task, the students will start to get excited about this project!
Page 3, Project Proposal Sheet: this proposal sheet is to be completed by students after their brainstorming session. This sheet helps to ensure that the students are aware of the requirements, and are aware of how and where the requirements are met in their project. It also ensures that each group member has specified jobs/duties/responsibilities, so that it doesn't end up being just one person doing all of the work. The project proposal sheet also helps the teacher get a glimpse of what the groups are going to be creating, and the teacher can offer guidance if he/she sees a group that might be misunderstanding the project.
Page 4, Cell Project Rubric: this rubric is for the teacher to use to grade the students' products. It is also helpful to review this rubric with the students, because it shows them EXACTLY how to do an excellent job on the project.
Page 5, Panel Presentation Rubric: at the end of the project, groups must present their materials/products to a panel of staff members (I asked the counselors, vice principal, office staff, and community relations person). This rubric is for the panel to use to grade each group's presentation.
When all presentations are done, I ask the panel to make recommendations on which products they think are suitable to give to the elementary schools. I take their recommendations and pass on the students' materials to the elementary schools that I've pre-arranged this with. The students beam with pride when their product has been chosen!