Project URL: http://teachnet-lab.org/ps171/safety/New_Folder/index.htm
How it works:
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,
"Pedestrian injury is second only to cancer as the leading cause
of death in children between five and nine years of age. A study in
New Haven, Connecticut, however, reveals that many childhood
pedestrian injuries can be prevented.
The Science of Safety starts as a "simple" science unit
on force and motion as a way to help students understand velocity and
thus understand how to cross streets safely. It is transformed into
an amazing, wonderful, and relevant journey because of two things: the
enthusiasm of the students and the power of the Internet. As a teacher, you are
able to communicate directly via e-mail with professors of physics and chemistry, surgeons,
and directors of national programs. When the responses from these
experts pour in and are shared with your students, it is both exciting
and empowering. Everyone knows that there are safety concerns in the school community, but
students don't realize they can do something that will make a
difference. The students improve their academic skills, learn new programs on the computer,
make their neighborhood a little safer. Here is that rare chance to
bring the "real world" into the classroom.
Students understand the nature of scientific knowledge and inquiry, as
well as the general nature and uses of mathematics; use basic and
advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation; and
apply basic properties of the concepts of measurement. They also use the general skills and strategies of the writing process, and
gather and use information for research purposes.
A computer lab equipped with iMacs is used, along with a printer,
scanner, digital camera, and disposable cameras. The word
processing, spreadsheet, and painting features of AppleWorks are also
used; this project is easily replicable with a pc lab.
The Science of Safety was developed with a fifth grade class in a school with
homogeneous groupings. This very large "top" class (32 students) had a
large range of abilities. There were students who immediately became
engaged in this unit and others who became enthusiastic after a period
of time. Students need to use the Internet to gather
information. Basic skills in writing and math are a must.
There is something for everyone in this unit. The students are
fascinated with the material on the Internet because it is so
relevant, and they love the lesson on spreadsheets. One very
bright student who had often done only
satisfactory work became totally engaged. Her work on this unit was
not only thorough and thoughtful, but showed wonderful creativity.
About halfway through this unit, she said, "This stuff is REAL!"
There is a tremendous amount of information on childhood safety
available on the Internet. Provide sites for your students and
keep them focused.
About the teacher:
For the past ten years, Jill Williams has been developing a
program in her elementary school in New York City. She tries to
provide students with meaningful projects that address the
curriculum areas and
challenge their creativity. Her goal is to teach students
to use the Internet and other tools of technology, and to apply
these skills in exciting and interesting ways.