Final Project Options

Option 1 : ‘Citizenship’ taught through Design Thinking

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Essential Questions to Launch Inquiry:

  1. How do you become a US citizen?
  2. What responsibilities do you have as a US citizen?
  3. Why do people want to become US citizens?

I will be using the LAUNCH cycle by John Spencer to start the design thinking project blended with the project learning approach as I am formulating the essential questions.

  • L: Look, Listen, and Learn
  • A: Ask tons of questions
  • U: Understand the research
  • N: Navigate and find main ideas
  • C: Create a prototype
  • H: Highlight and fix

Objective of Unit

Students will be able to describe the process of becoming a US citizen i.e. the steps. In addition, students will know the duties and responsibilities of being a citizen.

Phases of Unit

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As the first phase of this project students receive two USCIS handouts on ‘Steps to Naturalization‘ and ‘Rights and Responsibilities of a Citizen’. During this phase they will also conduct interviews of parents/teachers/adults who have were born or became US citizens. They will draft questions, organize them coherently and then record their interviews by video or a podcast. They will learn video making and podcasting skills. This is part of gathering information. This will work on empathy for the topic. They will present their videos/podcasts in class as a presentation.

In the second phase, they will form a list of questions they have after the interviews. Each group will finalize the questions that they have and put them on a shared document (one person per group has access). When the questions are viewed in class a classroom discussion will decide which ones are being repeated or could be part of another question? (Class Discussion)

As part of the third phase, each group will choose 1-2 questions (teacher’s digression) and start their research.

As part of the fourth phase, all research is completed by the group and each group member is assigned a task that is communicated to the teacher and written down. All research is curated on Wakelet. Students learn how to use it.

As part of the fifth phase, students decide their end product to showcase what they have learnt. They will present to their class or an outside audience (digression of teacher) . They can make a digital product, a prototype, plan/run an event or conduct a service (raise money) etc.

As part of the sixth phase they will present to their peers and take feedback. They will fix their product accordingly while documenting the changes that they make.

ISTE Standards to be Targeted

This project will emphasize the following ISTE Learning Standard:


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As the project will be clearly divided into phases, I believe that formative assessment by checking in with groups, encouraging them to set their work deadlines to fulfill project deadlines (one for interviews, one for research, for formulating questions and then a final deadline for their end product) will be easier to monitor for the teacher. In addition, the ability to adjust their project after critique should be a formative grade as well.

Their content knowledge will get tested when they have to present and explain their interviews. There should be a rubric to include content knowledge of essential questions.

Difference from Earlier Teaching

This project utilizes my learning from collaboration, making effective presentations and deeper learning (design thinking). I also think that by allowing students to set their own group deadlines I am investing in students becoming co-mentors with their teacher. From the student mistakes and successes the teacher is bound to learn a lot more for her/his next project.

Possible Hurdles/Issues

I think that formative checks at each phase will be possible. It will be more problematic ensuring that everyone is doing quality work. However, I believe that once students find out that their interviews, questions and final product will be reviewed and asked questions about they will be willing to put in all their effort for quality work.

Students will have to be self motivated and will be pushed to explore skills they are not good at (reading, note taking, computer literacy) but they will end up learning more as they get to pick the final questions they want to research further.

Personal Biases/Attitudes to be Changed

I am glad that I am co-planning because as a lone teacher I would try to micromanage too much which would take away some decision making authority from the students.

What will Students Learn?

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They will hopefully learn better time and work management skills. I would like them to make a list of the work that needs to be done (looking at the assignment sheet), assign the work to group members and come up with group deadlines for completed work. At the end of the project they will turn in their schedule, whether they were able to honor it, and all completed work.

Option 2: Challenge Based Learning

Learning Objective

Students will be able to describe the process of becoming a US citizen i.e. the steps. In addition, students will know the duties and responsibilities of being a citizen. Last, students will analyze how, why and when US citizenship becomes difficult.

A challenge question such as “What can you do to make becoming a US citizen an easier process? is the essential question.

Supporting questions are:

  1. How do you become a US citizen?
  2. What responsibilities do you have as a US citizen?
  3. Why do people want to become US citizens?

What will the students do?

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Students are split in groups of 3’s. They will build collaborative skills as they conduct research. They will learn how to find credible sources online and distinguish ‘fake’ from ‘real’ news. They will learn to set work deadlines for the group. They will learn to delegate work. They will learn how to brainstorm, listen and talk to each other while accepting feedback.

As this would be an extensive unit I would like them to learn how to use Slack for work related purposes so their messages to each other are separate from other messages. They can curate their findings on Wakelet again. After deciding on what they want to do to take action, do a service, make a product digitally or a model.

ISTE Standards to be targeted

This unit would target the following ISTE student standards:

Challenges of this learning

I think that this is the kind of learning will truly test the traditional student vs. teacher relationship to make it more equal. Students will have a lot of autonomy after some guidance (maybe suggestions of different digital tools students can use). Dividing the work into stages and formative assessments will be a challenge to make sure that the knowledge content does not lag.

How does the lesson differ

This unit will differ from the ones that I have made before because it will have more structured formative checks by the teacher and self reflection by the students.

How it fits what I have learnt with COETAIL

I think that this project has the capability of capturing the best learning that I have done with COETAIL 11. It includes collaboration tools (Slack ), presentation tools (Wakelet) and other digital tools that the students may use depending on their end product. There will be a padlet feedback form for each group’s end product. In addition, there will be an individual padlet reflection form for each student.


At the stage of gathering information i.e. research to answer the supporting questions, I would like to give a cut up infographic of the different stages of citizenship and its descriptions and ask each group to put it together and then explain it. They can answer trivia questions about the duties and responsibilities of a US citizen (I will probably change this). Their summative assessment would be a presentation of their end product where they have to defend it.

Challenges I will Face

“Daily Ui Challenge” by Daniel Hjalmarson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

This unit gives a lot of autonomy to students to set their work deadlines, work delegation and freedom to plan any end product. Monitoring the work, making sure the learning objectives are fulfilled and students are productive to their best ability is going to be a challenge.

I would need to be well prepared for the unit with the formative assessments, a rubric for the final product and an assignment sheet that details the project for the students.

Challenges that Students will Face

“Daily Ui Challenge” by Daniel Hjalmarson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

This project will make students seek out information that is relevant to them. It will involve collaboration among students who are not the best communicators. However, Slack should help out a bit with that. The students who do everything at the last moment are at a severe disadvantage here as they can not complete an end product at the last minute. Last, any group disagreements will have to be worked out or mediated upon (teacher). They will also learn how to use Slack .

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