Man Made Structures - Language Arts

Man made structures is the main research project that 7th graders complete.

Parent letter that goes home to start the unit:

List of possible Man Made Structures to choose from:

Step 1 - Choose a topic - Through Google Earth students were able to take a tour of some popular man made structures of the world and look at them up close before they chose their topic.

(Research #1: Generate a topic, assigned or personal interest, and open-ended questions for research and develop a plan for gathering information.)

Step 2 - Business letters - Students wrote business letters to their man made structure and requesting information. Any place we couldn't find an address for we sent to the country's Embassy. Once letters were finished, they were mailed.

(WA: #3 - Write business letters that are formatted to convey ideas, state problems, make requests, or give compliments.)

Step 3 - Research - Through both books and websites, students research to find out what they can on their chosen structure. Since we have been doing this project for a few years, our library has built up a very useful collections of books on this topic. See the webliography for a list of helpful websites.

(Research: #2 - Identify appropriate sources and gather relevant information from multiple sources (e.g., school library catalogs, online databases, electronic resources, and Internet-based resources.)

Step 4 - Outline - Once students have enough information collected they create an outline. Using the program Inspiration students organize their information and create an outline.

(WP: #5 - Use organization strategies (e.g., rough outlines, diagrams, maps, webs, and Venn diagrams) to plan writing.)

(Research #4: Select an appropriate structure for organizing information in a systematic way (e.g., notes, outlines, charts, tables and graphic organizers.)

Steps 5 and 6 - Rough Draft and Final Copies - Students use their notes to create their rough drafts, and then final papers. Bibliographies are also completed through

(WA: #4 - Write informational essarys or reports, including research, that present a literal understanding of the topic, include specific facts, details and examples from multiple sources, and create an organizing structure appropriate to the purpose, audience, and context.)

(Research: #7 - Use an appropriate form of documentation, with teacher assistance, to acknowledge sources (e.g., bibliography, works cited).)

Step 7 - Presentation - Students use the information they have gathered to create a presentation to give to the class. Along with their presentation, they also create a 3D model of their structure to show to the class.

(Research: #8 - Use a variety of communication techniques, including oral, visual, written or multimedia reports, to present information that supports a clear position with organized and relevant evidence about the topic or research question.)

Other activities:

Postcards - Students create postcards from the man made structure they chose and write a friendly letter pretending they have been at their structure. They explain what they have seen and done at their structure. Through this process I have learned that not many students even know what a postcard is or have gotten one before.

Portfolios - As another summative assessment, students create a portfolio of all of the information they have learned. That way they have another way to share what they have learned. Students take a file folder and fold the sides into the middle to create a small trifold board.

On the left side students list 10 interesting facts about their structure.

In the middle students put a picture of themself with their structure using Artweaver to edit. At the middle bottom they create a timeline to show important dates in the making of their structure.

On the right students include a map of their structure. Below the map they created a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting their structure to another one of their choice.

Students used Artweaver to edit pictures so it looked like they were actually at their structure!