In this unit, the Internet and Microsoft Power
Point are used to integrate language arts and social studies.
Fifth grade students study the history of the United States and
the colonial period. They also develop research skills and write
research papers. At my school, the students traditionally write
a state report at the end of the school year. The activities in
this unit combine the state report and the study of the colonial
period and teach computer skills. Students select one of the
thirteen original colonies. They work in pairs and use the
Internet to research the colony and the modern day state the
colony has become. The participants produce a multimedia project
using Microsoft Power Point to present the information they
obtained. The first lesson has the students visiting some of the
sites they will be using and evaluating and comparing the sites
for ease of navigation, reliability, bias, readability and
content. In the second lesson, the activities include saving
graphics and photos from the Internet and citing an Internet
source. In the remaining lessons the students research using the
Internet and build their Power Point slides. Worksheets and
how-to handouts are included in the unit.
Students are evaluated on their participation in
classroom discussions, their completed worksheets, and their
Power Point presentations.
States History and Geography:
Students understand the political, religious, social, and
economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.
Establish a topic, important ideas, or events in sequences or
simple documents using electronic media and employing
organizational features (e.g., passwords, entry and pull-down
menus, word searches, the thesaurus, spell checks).
number of class periods for students to complete this project:
or Materials Used:
every pair of students with access to the Internet are required.
Microsoft Power Point is also needed to create the presentations
(though other programs can be used such as HyperStudio or KidPix).
If the team members work at separate computers or some work is
done at home, disks will be needed to save graphics, slides and
to combine slides into a show.
History, Colonial Period
The students in my class
are fifth graders and more than half are English language
learners. We have a new computer lab at school of 34 laptops (ibooks)
and a computer teacher for the first time this year. Most of the
students had never been on the Internet nor had they used Power
Point. At the beginning of the school year they learned word
processing using Microsoft Office, so the transition to Power
Point was fairly seamless. They also did Internet activities
during the course of the school year in preparation for this
One of this
unit's best features is that it combines required curriculum
(social studies, language arts and technology) into one project.
Students learn about the colonial period, modern era states, how
to do research on the Internet and how to create multimedia
projects. My class enjoyed using Power Point. In fact, it is so
motivating that many students learned quite advanced techniques
for their presentations. It was delightful to see students
discovering these techniques and then showing others.
Second Area: Language Arts
Starting Grade Level: Fourth
Ending Grade Level: High School
URL of project or unit:
Tips for the Teacher: The Internet
research is the most difficult for the students, especially for
English language learners. Be sure to model how to navigate the
sites and discuss what information is relevant. You may need to
help the teams divide the tasks when they are building their
Power Point presentations. I found that it is easier to have
both students work on one computer together while researching
and using Power Point so they can help each other.
McIntyre is a teacher at Aliso Elementary School in Carpinteria,
California. This year she is dividing her day between teaching
fifth grade and teaching computer technology to students in
grades K-5. She has taught in the Carpinteria Unified School
District for twenty-three years, eleven as a special education
teacher. Martha has been a Santa Barbara County CTAP Technology
Mentor for the last two years