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Geocaching for American's Art Treasures Lesson Plan
During this activity, students will use Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to learn about various illustrations from the Picturing America Grant. The Picturing America Grant is a series of 20 illustrations provided by the American Library Association and the National Endowment For The Humanities. The grant brings masterpieces of American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide to give participants the opportunity to learn about our nation's history and culture in fresh engaging ways. This lesson adds GPS technology to previously unavailable primary source art treasures, engaging students in art in ways never before possible.
Grade: This lesson will be used with grades 3 to 8 (and will be used with community members at the local library). The lesson plan can be adapted for younger or older students.
Time: Three, 45 minute sessions (depending on the grade level, may be completed in 2 sessions for middle school)
1st session - learning about the GPS unit and the process of geocaching
2nd session: leaving the classroom to locate the clues/caches, matching clues with pictures (if time)
3rd session: discussing the clues and the illustrations, meaning, symbols, etc
Key Concept: Students will be exposed to the illustrations in the Picturing America Program and will be able to identify the illustrations according to historical clues. Students will also be exposed to another learning modality (GPS units) in a mesh of geography, art, and history.
Objective: Students will be able to evaluate Picturing America artwork to gain a better understanding of American history and will be introduced to the idea of longitude and latitude via GPS positioning.
Materials: Handheld Garmin Etrex Venture HC units
Picturing America Illustrations
Digital video and still Cameras
Copies of the student worksheets
Pens or pencils
Anticipatory Set: Students will be shown a video that documents a cache-find from start to finish. They will then be told that they will have a chance to find caches that are hidden on school property. Students will be told that groups of three will get their own GPS Unit to use, and everyone will learn how to program one set of coordinates. Students will get a closeup view of the GPS Unit on a screen (via a document camera) and they will be shown how to program coordinates into the unit. A group students will then be guided to a practice cache set up prior to the lesson. The instructor will explain to students that they will learn to identify artwork from an historical perspective, and they will learn to see artwork as a primary source document to evaluate historical events.
Students will gather in a central viewing area to watch a prepared video on geocaching.
Students will choose partners and work in groups of three.
Students will be shown a GPS Unit via a document camera and shown how to program coordinates into the unit.
Students will be shown the hanging illustrations for which they will find the hidden clues. They will be given an example of a clue so they know what to expect when they find a cache.
Students will be shown examples of the cache containers that they will be looking for.
Students will take turns programming coordinates for each cache into their GPS units.
Groups of students will be staggered. Students will not search for clues in order, they will be instructed (depending on the number of groups and the number of clues) to begin at specific clue number or told on what coordinate to start.
Students will collect clues, writing down clues and answers on worksheets provided.
Students will return to the area of the building with the artwork display and attempt to use clues to decide which illustration is being described.
Students will put their names and clue numbers on tag-board hanging below each illustration.
Students will have to verbally justify how they matched their clue and illustration. A discussion of each clue and illustration will occur before the answers are revealed.
Students will go to large group instruction area for closing assembly.
Differentiated Instruction: Students with special needs will use a GPS that has the coordinates pre-programmed. Clues will be read to the students and additional help will be given as needed.
GPS units will be collected as the students enter to make their guesses. After handing in their guesses students will gather in large group instruction to de-brief about the process and to find out if their guesses were correct. At this time the students will fill out a self-evaluation reflection regarding their process, their learning, and their interest in doing similar activities. Students will be told that grammar and spelling do count and will hand in the reflection as they dismiss.
Students will be evaluated based on their correct identification of the Picturing America illustration using the clues given.
Students will be evaluated on their ability to work in groups.
Students will be evaluated on their ability to use the technology responsibly and follow directions.
Students will be evaluated on their reflection piece.
Students will be evaluated on their ability to work in groups and successfully locating cache clues.
Student NETS Standards
1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:
a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:
Understand and use technology systems.
Select and use applications effectively and productively.
Teacher NETS Standards
1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Teachers:
a. Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness
b. Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources
c. Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning,
and creative processes
d. Model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments
2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS•S. Teachers:
a. Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity
b. Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources
3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society. Teachers:
a. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
b. Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation
c. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats
d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning
PA Science and Technology Standards
3.7.10 - A. Identify and safely use a variety of tools, basic machines, materials and techniques to solve problems and answer questions
PA Arts and Humanities
A. Know and use the critical process of the examination of works in the arts and humanities.
B. Analyze and interpret specific characteristics of works in the arts within each art form (e.g., pentatonic scales in Korean and Indonesian music).
C. Identify and classify styles, forms, types and genre within art forms (e.g., modern dance and the ethnic dance, a ballad and a patriotic song).
D. Evaluate works in the arts and humanities using a complex vocabulary of critical response.
E. Interpret and use various types of critical analysis in the arts and humanities.
F. Apply the process of criticism to identify characteristics among works in the arts.
G. Compare and contrast critical positions or opinions about selected works in the arts and humanities
PA Standards for History
B. Analyze and interpret historical sources.
C. Analyze the fundamentals of historical interpretation.
B. Identify and analyze primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in Pennsylvania history from 1787 to 1914.
PA Geography Standards
A. Explain geographic tools and their uses.
PA Library Standards
Category 1: Information Literacy
Skill 1.1 The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.
Skill 1.2 The student who is information literate evaluates information critically and competently.
Skill 1.3 The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.
Category 2: Independent Learning Skills
Skill 2.2 The student who is an independent learner is information literate and appreciates literature and other creative expressions of information.
Skill 2.3 The student who is an independent learner is information literate and strives for excellence in information seeking and knowledge generation.
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