Backwards design, inquiry learning, and Pokemon: Scenario

Before we jump in to the actual lesson planning part, let’s set up a scenario.

Let’s imagine that I’m an elementary school media specialist in the state of North Carolina. Animals are a key part of the 4th grade science curriculum in North Carolina. At my imaginary elementary school, a fourth grade teacher has approached me. She’s interested in inquiry learning and wants to incorporate popular culture into her class; she’s noticed that her students seem especially interested in Pokemon. Some of them have even been sneaking their Pokewalkers into school hoping to rack up more steps to help them in the most recent Pokemon releases, HeartGold and SoulSilver.

She knows that Pokemon look a lot like animals and she thinks she can somehow put that to use in her animal unit plan, so she turns to Google. A search for “Pokemon lesson plan” brings up JP’s post a little down the first page of results. She’s also familiar with the Thinkfinity project (let’s just assume it’s because I’m an awesome librarian and make sure my colleagues know about these resources). She performs a search there for “animals” and limits it to lessons for grades 3-5. She finds Animal Adaptations, which addresses adaptations and habitats – exactly what she wants to address in her unit.

Armed with these two lesson plans, she comes to me looking for any additional resources which might support her students’ research. I indicate to her that I’m very interested in games in education and ask her if she would mind if we collaborated more fully on this unit plan and offer to assist with the assessment of the final product as well. As you might imagine, she is thrilled to have an offer of help with that part of things. I give her a quick overview of the backwards design process, much like I gave in my previous post, and we set up a meeting to work through the backwards design template and create a unit plan with JP’s post and the Thinkfinity plan as inspiration.

Next time: Desired Results.

Earlier posts in this series:

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