In the Midst of it

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”              ―Aristotle

To create that sweet spot in learning I just have to dive in, try new things and allow it to get a little messy. It seems to me that it is in this space, in the midst of it all is where the magic of learning truly happens.


  1. Instead of having students do individual research with their own documents they used a shared google slide deck to create a resource that included characteristics of each of the planets and moons in our solar system.  Students were to ask at least six of their own questions focused on the important variables to support life such as, atmospheric composition, gravitational force, average temperature, and distance from the sun.  
  2. The shared slide deck was used by all students in the class to find characteristics of the planet that would support their favorite pop culture character or a made up character living on that planet/moon. Evidence was required to support each claim.  
  3. There were a variety of choices for students to choose from to create their own characters or there were bios provided of popular pop culture characters to use as a reference.  Students also had the choice of creating a short story with their created characters in it.  
  4. The advanced portion of the assignment was anything that they believed to be above the proficient on the rubric and had to be turned in with a reflection that includes evidence supporting the claim of being above the proficient marking!  I also created a hyperdoc for students to use for finding resources, downloading templates as well as turning in and looking at their peers products!  


Students were super excited about the project and jumped right in.  One change for next year is to create a template slide for the required questions and a template slide for them to add several of their own so there is consistency in how the slides are presented for those students who struggle to find information.  

I believe that students might be able to complete the task quicker and use it more easily.  The resource that we created was not very useful because students had asked many different questions.  

Students really liked the “Pop” and action figure templates that I got out the resources presented in the, Play Like a Pirate book written by Quinn Rollins, which is a great read with lots of applications that you can use right away!  Students jumped right in creating characters in series with one another, such as the “Jupiter” and “Pluto” series of characters, and started planning stories around the characteristics as a way to extend their learning.


Some required questions next year need to be:  

  • What is the gravity on that planetary body?  
  • Does it have an atmosphere?  If so what is it made of?  
  • How far from the sun is the planetary body?  What is the average temperature of the planet?  
  • What is the rotational and orbital period of the planetary body?  (how long is one day and one year?  

I am also going to design a google slide deck by changing the master slide to have several choices that will help guide their thinking.  

  1. One slide will be the required questions for consistency
  2. Second slide will have a space for students to ask their own questions to extend the thinking.  

By focusing the research portion I hope that it will take less time to create the resource and actually create a resource that we can use as a class to think about our created/chosen characters!  

Into the midst of it I go!  

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Passionate, curious, science educator, learner, photographer, and outdoors woman! I love to learn new things and share great ideas! All the photos on this blog are my own. Copyrighted 2016 Deborah Holman.

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