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SciPod Studies

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Keywords: science vocabulary, podcasting
Subject(s): Special Needs, Life Science, Podcasting, Earth Science, Biology, English/Language Arts, Science, Chemistry, Physics
Grades K through 5
School: Springwood Elementary School, Tallahassee, FL
Planned By: Robin Downing
Original Author: Robin Downing, Tallahassee
The project involves students reading from their appropriate level science text, and recording the reading of the highlighted vocabulary as well as the definitions directly into the audio file using Podcasting software. The student then listens to his recording as he follows along with the book. After listening several times, the recording is traded with another student. After sharing, both students will then take a Multiple Choice Vocabulary test.
The audio portion of the podcast will be used in conjunction with United Streaming technology to allow the students to visually study the science concepts that are being investigated in that particular chapter. We have had great success with this audio idea in the past, however we were experiencing numerous difficulties with students recording over other work, or on the wrong side, cassettes unwinding, batteries dying, and the tapes and cassette recording devices malfunctioning. The podcasting will alleviate this problem with no tapes to mess with, separate files for each download, and a/c adapter cables, as well as the added component of video for those who need the visual cues for sensory integration.
* The objectives which will be met by completing this project include:
Language Arts Reading Standard One- The student uses the reading process effectively, and clarifies understanding by rereading, and self-correction during the reading and recording. Additionally, the student will be summarizing, and checking his comprehension by completing the multiple choice vocabulary tests.
Language Arts Reading Standard Two- The student constructs meaning from a wide range of texts, by reading the text to determine the main idea, supporting details and facts, and events in chronological order for their reporting and test taking.
Language Arts Listening, Viewing and Speaking Standards One and Three (listens and responds to oral presentations and uses speaking strategies effectively) will also be met during the recording and listening phase of the project.
Numerous and Various Science Standards will be addresses by this project, depending on whether the subject matter being studied was Nature, Energy, Force and Motion, Processes that Shape the Earth, Earth and Space, Processes of Life, Living Things, or the Nature of Science.
* The methods used will be tell/show/do, with lots of hands on practice and small group learning, as well as whole group instruction during the training phase.
* Implementation schedule: Implementation will begin right away, with the training phase. Training on how to record into an audio file with the podcasting software, as well as how to upload the video files from United Streaming and the details on how to operate and take care of the recordings will be held first and will take approximately two weeks (and repeated as necessary). Then actually recording and listening will commence. Students will begin taking practice vocabulary tests within two weeks of training on the podcasting project. The practice tests will be graded as pre-tests, and actual test grading will begin in 8 weeks. That gives plenty of time for getting the routine down and getting used to the new way of studying.
* One example of a classroom activity is a second grader reviewing the current chapter in his science book, then recording the vocabulary into the audio file on the computer. He would then listen to his recording, checking for accuracy, trade the track to another student (in the same grade level book) and they would both listen and read. After enjoying the recordings, the boys would take a multiple choice vocabulary test on the Science Chapter Words. They could also assist each other in locating subject appropriate and interesting video to upload and share with the class.
* Aside from meeting the Sunshine State Standards mentioned above, this project will address several goals of our school improvement plan, including all children having access to technology and receiving advanced training on new technology, in addition to the newly tested standards of our Science currriculum.
* This project demonstrates a best practice in that research has proven that the use of Audio in addition to visual (Video) is a successful practice to help learners with disabilities comprehend and retain new information. The project can be modified for use with non-readers and struggling readers by pairing students up, and scaffolding students with different reading levels.


* Each student will keep a running log of science vocabulary tests taken, and the student's accomplishments in Science will be recorded by the FCAT Science scores.
Since our school is primarily a Mac products school, the only PC's we have on campus is those we bring from home. Many of the available products require windows based PC.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This SciPod Studies project could be used with math vocabulary, as well as social studies or foreign languages.
Students could trade off making up questions, recording them, and quizzing eachother.
Materials: Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Digital Voice Recorders, Podcasting
Other Items: 1 Dell Desktop Computer running windows XP, $699.00 each, total of $699.00