| Project Planet
In Project Planet,
students first study maps and globes, and then internalize
what they have learned by creating their own globes
out of papier-mâché. The class plans
the project together. Students make a papier-mâché
mixture, measure and cut newspaper, blow up balloons,
and carefully cover them with dampened strips. When
the globes dry, a rubber band is placed around the
center to represent the equator and to help children
place the land bodies with accuracy. A digital camera
is used to photograph the students as they perform
each step. Next, students write directions instructing
others how to make a globe. They list and draw materials
needed; draft, edit, and rewrite their directions;
and transfer their work to the computer. In preparation
for creating a PowerPoint slide presentation, they
plan on paper an approximation of what their slide
show will look like, and make many design decisions.
The students also design a rubric in order to assess
whether they have done a good job of writing clear
directions and presenting a visually interesting
body of work. Finally, they share their PowerPoint
presentations, and their work is posted on the Internet,
where students, their families, and the world may
view their work.
The program is designed for students in grades three
through six. It takes six to eight weeks, depending
on the amount of time allotted each week. Students
meet in class daily and in the computer lab weekly.
This program can be adapted to suit an infinite
number of classroom settings. It addresses the needs
of all learners because the many different aspects
allow opportunities for success for each type of
learner, whether he/she is kinesthetic, visual,
Alexandra Atkin has been teaching for eleven years,
and for eight years at P.S. 8 in Washington Heights.
She has a National Board Certification (Early Childhood
Generalist) and a master’s degree in elementary
education with a dual certification in reading instruction.
This program requires skilled assistance for the
WHAT YOU NEED
To teach Project Planet, you need basic classroom
art materials, textbook references, maps/globes,
several computers in a lab setup, a digital camera,
a scanner, Microsoft PowerPoint software, and disks.
The students OWN this project! They become engrossed
in every step and care deeply about their final
projects and presentations. Along the way, they
practice working collaboratively, reading, writing,
measuring, planning, drawing, building, painting,
and speaking. Using computer technology to showcase
their work and make it come alive is incredibly
rewarding. Students take home their globes and share
what they have learned with their families.