June 6th, 2008 | Published in Google Docs
Following her last post describing her use of forms in the classroom, Garnet Gratton is back, this time with a simple, creative lesson-plan for you teachers, involving current events, Mars and Docs' forms, among other things.
It's the end of the school year and your students, who show no signs of recovering from spring fever, are doing the antsy-dance in their seats. Suddenly, the universe drops an antidote in your lap, in the form of a ready-made lesson plan: Phoenix Mars Lander.
While tailor-made for science or astronomy classes, the successful landing of the spacecraft on May 26 packs a wallop of timely relevance for any subject. English or journalism teachers, for example, can have your students write a journalistic piece, highlighting the objectives and timeline of the mission. Here's a rough outline:
- Start with the Phoenix Mars Lander section of the JPL site. NASA has more here.
- Have your students form small groups to compile information onto a Docs presentation, embedding images and videos, and linking to the interactive exercises.
A great way to get your students engaged it to have them to have them write up reports covering the mission's progress, from beginning to end. By having each group set up Google alert, set to search for the words Phoenix Mars Lander, a wealth of topical information will be at their fingertips.
- When complete, the students can publish their projects, and send you the link through a very simple Google docs form, something like this:
What's the benefit of garnering submissions via form?
For one, it makes grading extremely easy, you'll have all the links to all the projects in one place.
Secondly, when you publish the spreadsheet that's receiving the form's submissions, it becomes a website and the links are active. Voila! You can click right down the column to assess their projects.
And, finally, when it's time to present, have the published spreadsheet up on the monitor. Each group can easily click on their link to start the slideshow, share with the rest of class, and keep things moving along...which, with Summer nearly here, is a good thing.
To learn more on creating forms, see the instructional article in our Help Center.
If you're a teacher who's excited to get started using Docs, but isn't sure where to start (or, if you know a teacher who fits this profile), check out our quick start teachers' guide, Using Google Docs in the classroom.