Is It Getting Hot in Here?

I explored the project titled “What Impacts Global Climate Change”, as while I do not teach science, I identified a potential connection to social studies as well.  This project is an excellent opportunity for interdisciplinary exploration.  While the majority of the project appears to be effective as is, I introduced the Maldives as a case study example of the potential consequences of rising sea levels.  Ideally, students would be able to connect with the issue of global warming and rising sea levels through either the plight of the Bengal Tigers or the threat to humans.  Most students should be able to make a connection to how their own lives would be impacted if water was encroaching on their living space.  I also added a brainstorm question at the beginning of the fourth activity that asks the students to suggest ways they and their families can reduce their carbon footprint.  After working through the remainder of activity four and activity five, students are asked the same question again.  Student responses in both instances are entered anonymously in an effort to encourage students to be open and honest, and to build a collective set of options for the class.  Additionally, students must submit their own response before being able to see their peers’ responses, so as to appeal to their actual personal thoughts, and not simply what they feel like everyone else is saying or expects.

Using this WISE project with my grade 8/9 class, I would begin with a graffiti style brainstorm in which students are presented with blank pages titled “global warming”, “greenhouse gas”, and “human impact” spread throughout the classroom.  Students have a certain amount of time at each station to add any of their initial ideas to the brainstorming sheets.  These initial brainstorms will help us organize what we already know, what we think we know, and what we want to find out.  Students will then begin to work through the WISE modules at their own pace.  This allows students to move more quickly or take more time as needed to further their personal understanding.  At the end of each class, students will be given a sticky note on which to write a question about the concepts that they still want to learn more about.  We will compile our ongoing questions on a class “I Wonder” board.  These questions can be basic knowledge questions or deeper conceptual connection questions.  We will take time as a class to revisit our questions on Wednesdays and Friday to see which questions students can provide answers or elaboration to and which questions require further inquiry.

The weaving of varied feedback opportunities throughout both the online activity sequence and the oral discussions should work towards what Hattie and Temperley identify as the purpose of feedback – the reduction of discrepancies between current understandings and performance and a desired goal.  The ongoing question board is one meaning of helping students to set goals and purpose for their inquiry.  Since the questions are student-generated, they should also be connected to the interests of the students themselves, hopefully encouraging them to embrace the inquiry process both inside and outside of the classroom.  As students work through their self-paced work, I am available to check in with students in sustained interactions to gauge their understanding and help address misconceptions.  SKI principles are addressed through students needing to be able to rationalize their choices and explain their thinking process, addressing prerequisite knowledge gaps in small group and one-on-one support sessions, encouraging students to share their learning with one another to approach the class-generated questions, and striving to support the personal learning interests of the students.  Ideally, I would like to follow up the WISE project with students applying their learning in the development of a personal action plan or community project to promote positive citizenship and real-life application of learning.


Hattie, H. & Timperly, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112.

Linn, M., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. (2003). Wise design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517-538

Williams, M. Linn, M.C. Ammon, P. & Gearhart, M. (2004). Learning to teach inquiry science in a technology-based environment: A case study. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 13(2), 189-206


  1. Hi Stephanie,
    I also checked out this project! Did you see the Solar Radiation and Solar Ovens (ID 19409) as well? It was an updated version (and slightly more focused on solar energy) of “What Impacts Global Climate Change” with a new interface and newer looking features. I like your idea of a “graffiti brainstorm”! I have used similar approaches before at the introduction of a new topic or to generate discussions, but I love your graffiti term – I bet it gets students interested right off the bat! Thanks for sharing,


    1. I usually have a lot of success with the graffiti activity. I have found that what works best with my students is using chart paper and giving them a variety of different markers. Some of them like to be able to write their ideas in different fonts or add doodles. I remind them that since we are going to refer back to the pages throughout the unit and I am going to put them up, they should make it something they want to look at.

  2. Dear Stephanie,

    You raise a great point that the WISE projects can be viewed from an interdisciplinary perspective and how you might build a bridge to your social studies class. The Graffiti Brainstorm and I Wonder Board are just two of several interesting activities that you have described that would enhance this TELE. In what ways might you use the strategies promoted by Hattie and Timperley (eg. feed up, feed forward, feed back) to support a SKI principle (eg. where students are asked, for example, to rationalize their choices) or an inquiry in your lesson?

    Thank you for your insights and your interdisciplinary connection,

    1. For the WISE activity itself, students would set a skill goal connected to self-regulation that they want to improve or strengthen throughout the project. This would include a determination of how they will know when they have reached their goal. I would provide them with a content goal derived from the curriculum and phrased as an “I can” statement. This will help to guide their basic explorations, while their personal extensions may stray from this goal.
      Students receive feedback through the embedded digital responses to their closed-ended answers. They can also receive feedback through sustained conversations with myself at their check-in points, and through conversation with peers arising from the wonder board.
      Their experience throughout the main component of the WISE project will inform the choices they make in their community project or personal action plan. Before students move on to this application and synthesis component, I can use the collected assessment data to identify if there are any skill or content gaps that need to be addressed in order to increase the likelihood of success. My own experiences in facilitating the project would also provide valuable pedagogical feedback regarding pace, additional supports, or changes in approach in future projects.

  3. I do love the idea of a Wonder Board, and having it interactive in that the students could post any answers they might find through their studies to the questions on the board. I think it would be a great ongoing project as students can add more questions to the board as they delve deeper into the projects. I have done graffiti style brainstorms before in a variety of subjects and always find that the students are very engaged in the activity. I generally leave them posted in the classroom so they can refer to the ideas they had at the beginning and to see if they address them throughout the unit.


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