Curriculum Design Project

 

Curriculum Project • Course Proposal • Project Self-Assessment

Proposing a Project

Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

Overview and Background

The overarching course proposal is a full course intended for Middle School students that would extend over three semesters. Although students could exit after one semester, interested students could repeat the course for two more semesters. In each repeat, they would be expected to build their knowledge in an area of their interests by proposing and completing one or more projects.

A key unit in the course for the first semester students is the project proposal. After a basic introduction to various technologies, students will have to propose and complete one project. This unit will help them create a valid project proposal. The final result of this unit will be a proposal approved by the teacher, but that has had the benefit of revision by the student as well as several evaluations by peers. Although this unit is focused on the proposal, the ultimate assessment of the success of the proposal comes at the end of the actual project. The learning will be very obvious in students who repeat the course as they create proposals for more in-depth projects.

The main introduction to the unit is "The Million Dollar Question," that is, how do you get someone to give you a million dollars for your ideas?

Top • Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

Guiding Questions

  • How do you get someone to give you a million dollars for your idea?
  • Once you get the million dollars, what then?
  • How do you know when you start a project?
  • How do you know when your are finished?
  • How do you know if you learned anything?

Top • Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

Facets of Understanding

Explanation: Students will create a complete project proposal that incorporates the elements of a good project. In addition, through the process of peer reviews and teacher dialogue, they will explain why they have taken the paths they have chosen.

Interpretation: The ability of students to predict what would happen depending on the different choices they make for the course of their project as they prepare the proposal will illustrate their ability to see proposals as a sense-making idea.

Application: The final application will be the student ability to follow their proposal through to completion on a project.

Perspective: The student, through actions and reflection, will come to understand which parts are worth spending time on to revise and correct, which parts require only a quick look, and which parts require additional research. The last may also be thought of as the students coming to know what they don't know.

Empathy: Students will learn to look at their proposals through the eyes of somebody who does not know them. They will begin to understand how words written on paper can represent them for better or worse.

Self-Knowledge: Students will have all revisions of their proposals on file. Periodically, they will be asked to reflect on the differences between revisions and also to identify key learnings that they think the changes in the revisions show. 

Top • Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

Identify Desired Results

Overarching understandings:

  • Project plans are as much for others as for the people doing the project.
  • Planning well requires several iterations.
  • Project plans are useful.

Students' understanding as a result of this unit: Elements of planning projects and creating  proposals

  • Idea selection
  • Schedule development
  • Idea presentation

Essential Questions

  • How would you increase your knowledge if someone gave you a million dollars?
  • How do you get someone to give you a million dollars so you can increase your knowledge?

Top • Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

WHERE

 

Where are we headed

W

The ultimate goal is to take the project proposal and actually implement it. The essential questions will help the students realize that planning a project, which includes working with others in the plan, enhances the chance for going further than otherwise possible.

 

 

Hook the student

H

Sell the Million Dollar idea! What ideas do students have that somebody will pay them a million dollars for? What makes it a challenge? Would they sell a million dollar idea if they didn't believe in it and want to do it? What do they want to do in the course and how much do they believe in it? Can it be their own Million Dollar idea?

 

 

Engage the student

E

Students will be able to create their proposal either by themselves or with others for a project they choose. The main key, though, is that a student will be actually doing the project based on the proposal.

 

 

Reflect and rethink

R

Students will revise their proposals several times during the unit. In addition to their own evaluations, they will have an opportunity to do peer evaluations of other students' work as well as have their peers evaluate their ideas. Although the teacher will be providing input, the teacher's role is to help the students' improve each others' work.

 

 

Exhibit and evaluate

E

Final, approved, proposals will be available for anybody in the school to see. Evaluation and revision will be ongoing until the final is approved. The ultimate evaluation will depend on how well it is implemented.

 

Top • Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

Acceptable Evidence

Performance Tasks and Projects

  • Students peer review two other project proposals using the criteria provided.
  • Students create a project proposal with several drafts using feedback from peer reviewers and the teacher.

Prompts

  • Did helping other students and peer-reviewing their proposals help you with your own proposal? Why or why not?
  • What parts of your project do you think will be difficult to achieve and why? What other options did you look at and why were they less acceptable than your current option?
  • Re-read your first draft and final draft. How did revising your project proposal several times improve your understanding of your project and your proposal?
  • Now that your proposal is finished, what is the main thing you would do differently if you had the proposal to start fresh and why?

Other Evidence

  • All drafts of the proposal.
  • Student peer review comments on the proposal.
  • Each students peer review comments to other students.

Student Self-assessment

  • At the beginning and end of the unit: Explain what you understand a project proposal to be.
  • Use the peer review criteria on your own proposal.
  • What more do you think you need to learn to be able to convince somebody to give you a million dollars?
  • At the end of the project, which is long after then end of the proposal: How did your proposal help you and how did it make it difficult for you?

Top • Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

Learning Experiences

Students will need to know:

  • The main parts of a project proposal.
  • What happens when a project is not planned.

Students will need to be able to:

  • Do a proper peer review of a proposal.
  • Break a project into tasks.
  • Determine what a completed project looks like.

Teaching and Learning Experiences

  1. Divide the students into groups and have them create marble roller coasters. First, do it without a plan. Then, have them plan a much larger one and do it.
  2. Present brainstorming as an aid to generating ideas quickly.
  3. Present the essential questions of the "Million Dollar Idea" and, as a class, brainstorm and discuss possible Million Dollar Ideas.
  4. Have students come up with what they would learn if somebody gave them a million dollars.
  5. Have the students list their top three ideas for the project they would like to do with them tied as closely as possible to what they would like to learn if given a Million Dollars.
  6. Introduce task breakdown by having students individually create a task breakdown for a common everyday task, then have another student try to follow the instructions.
  7. Have the students work in pairs to break down their top three ideas into at least six separate steps, then select the one that appears most "feasible."
  8. Present the main parts of a project proposal and help them see how their previous activities form some of the outline for the proposal.
  9. Have students write their first draft of the proposal.
  10. Introduce students to peer review concepts and rubrics. Give them several sample projects to peer review in pairs.
  11. Give students feedback on sample peer reviews by comparing their responses to exemplar responses.
  12. Students peer review each others projects.
  13. Drafts revised based on peer reviews and teacher feedback.
  14. Students do another round of peer reviews.
  15. Drafts are revised again for the final product.
  16. Students do final self-assessment of the proposal.
  17. Project begins.

Top • Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

Design Standards

Use the following design standards to evaluate this unit. Explanations for each level are available by hovering over the radio buttons, but version 5.5 or higher browsers are required for this feature to work, with Internet Explorer providing more usefulness.

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Identify Desired Results

To what extent are the targeted understandings 3 2 1
  • Big ideas (as opposed to basic facts and skills) in need of uncoverage?
  • Specific enough to aid teaching and assessing?
  • Framed by provocative essential and unit questions?
       
Determine Acceptable Evidence      
To what extent does the assessment evidence provide      
  • A valid and reliable measure of the targeted understandings?
  • Sufficient information to support inferences about each student's understandings?
  • Opportunities for students to exhibit their understanding through authentic performance tasks?
       
Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction      
To what extent will      
  • W Students know where they're going and why (in terms of unit goals, performance requirements, and evaluative criteria?)
  • H Students be engaged in digging into the big ideas of the unit (through inquiry, research, problem solving, and experimentation?)
  • E Students receive explicit instruction on the knowledge and skills needed to equip them for the required performances?
  • R Students have opportunities to rehearse, revise, and refine their work based on feedback?
  • E Students self-assess and set goals prior to the conclusion of the unit?
       

Form from Understanding by Design, Wiggins, Grant and J. McTighe, 1998, p. 187
Explanations from The Understanding by Design Handbook, McTighe, Jay and G. Wiggins, 1999, pp. 250-262
Both published by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Virginia.

Revision D, Form removed

Design Standards last maintained 08/23/2003

Top • Overview • Guiding Questions • Facets of Understanding • Desired Results • WHERE • Acceptable Evidence • Learning Experiences • Design Standards

Curriculum Project • Course Proposal • Project Self-Assessment

Format follows Understanding by Design, Wiggins, Grant and J. McTighe, 1998,
Alexandria, Virginia, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Last maintained 08/23/2003

   

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