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Famous Americans


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Keywords: famous american, citizen, social studies, biography
Subject(s): Technology, Social Studies, Civics, History
Grade 3
School: Margaret Brent Elementary School, Stafford, VA
Planned By: Amanda Tucker
Original Author: Amanda Tucker, Stafford
Overview
Throughout history, there have been numerous citizens that have made a positive impact on our world today. It is important for us to celebrate and honor their contributions. In this investigation, students will take a closer look into the life of an important American, highlighting their successes, achievements, and major contributions to our society. Students have several Americans to choose from, including past presidents, activists, and historical figures. Once the selection has been made, students will need to research and create a PowerPoint presentation based on the important American. Finally, students will share their presentation with the class.

Goals
1. Choose a famous American to research
2. Create research-based PowerPoint presentation
3. Present findings to the class

Directions
Students will have approximately four sessions to complete this project; each session lasting about one hour. During this time, students will have access to the computer lab and laptop computers to complete the assignment. By the end of the fourth session, students should be prepared to present their PowerPoint to the class.

Performance Objectives
1. The student will be allowed to review the list of famous Americans in order to select a famous American to investigate. Performance will be satisfactory if students submit their choices to the teacher by the end of the first session. Selections will be honored as long as each famous American is represented within the class.

Activities for Objective #1
The student will:
• Review famous American list (taken directly from Virginia's Standards of Learning for Social Studies in grades K-3)
• Select a famous American to investigate

2. The student will be allowed to reference books, their textbook and resource websites as well as a tutorial in order to create a research-based PowerPoint presentation. Performance will be satisfactory if students save their completed work to their personal flash drive by the end of the fourth session. In order to receive full credit, students must include information about the person’s life, their major accomplishments, and the time period in which they lived. Please see rubric for details.

Activities for Objective #2
The student will:
• Research information on selected American
• Summarize and organize the information
• Create a research-based PowerPoint presentation
• Save to student flash drive

3. The student will individually present their research-based PowerPoint presentation to the class. Performance will be satisfactory if the presentation includes a summary of what they learned about their selected American. The student must speak in a way that is logical and easy to understand by the teacher and the other students. The student will have access to a laptop and projector for the presentation. Please see rubric for details.

Activities for Objective #3
The student will:
• Present the PowerPoint presentation to classmates
• Summarize what they learned about their selected American


Instructional Materials
1. Internet access
2. PowerPoint or similar slide show software
3. Laptop or lab computer
4. Projector
5. Flash drives (one for each student)
6. Additional texts and resources for student research


Rubrics are well-suited for assessment of the student activities. Examples provided below...

The following rubric could be used to assess the student’s PowerPoint presentation:

4 - All required information is included. Additional detail, effects, and graphics are added.
3 - Most of the required information is included.
2 - Some of the required information is included.
1 - PowerPoint presentation is lacking significant information.

The following rubric could be used to evaluate the student’s oral presentation:

4 - Student is able to clearly explain the information in their presentation.
Student speaks clearly and is easy to understand throughout the entire presentation.
Student maintains consistent eye contact with audience.

3 - Student is somewhat able to explain information in their presentation.
Most of the time the student speaks clearly and is easy to understand.
Most of the time the student maintains eye contact with audience.

2 - Student is able to explain information in their presentation with a few errors.
Some of the time the student speaks clearly and is easy to understand.
Some of the time the student maintains eye contact with audience.

1 - Student has difficulty explaining the information in their presentation.
The student does not speak clearly and cannot be understood.
The student does not keep eye contact with audience.

Comments
Although presentations can be saved to a computer or share drive on a network, the use of USB/flash drives is more convenient so that each student has their own drive and continues to use it throughout the year. It is a great way for students to organize their work and an even better way for teachers to collect assignments.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Some other ideas:

Writing - Students could use the information they gathered in order to write a biography of their famous person.

Math/History - Students could create a time line of their famous person's life, specifically noting the dates involved and any significant moments in history that correspond with their achievements.

Geography - Students could investigate the impact geographic location had on their famous American. They can relate geography to their American's lifestyle, attitudes and beliefs.
Follow-Up
Students could extend this project to include images and video. These multimedia aspects could include the use of digital cameras to capture current day images or even video cameras to create movies about their famous Americans. This one lesson can spark many ideas for students to extend their knowledge with the use of technology.
Materials: Projectors, Mobile Labs, Projector Screens, Flash/USB Drives, Social Studies, Slideshow, Student Resources, Integrating Technology
Other Items: 24 USB/Flash drives, $20.00 each, total of $480.00