Course(s)/Subject(s): 8th Grade Physical Science

Grade Level(s): 8th Grade

Key Words: Science, Research, Physical Science, Minority Scientists, Women Scientists, Technology, Internet, ClarisWorks, Multimedia, Word Processing, Computer Technology, Multidisciplinary Project.

Developer(s) Name: Gwendolyn B. Minor

School: Joyce Kilmer Middle School

Attached Files: See Suggested Web Sites at the end of this lesson plan.

Approximate Time Frame: 5-7 Class Periods of 47 minutes in length or less (Note: length of time is flexible and will depend on how the major concept of this project is used).

Materials/Equipment Needed: Essential - Computer(s) & Internet Access. Optional - Video and Laser disc Player, Barcode Reader, VCR, CD-ROMs, Digital Camera, Scanner, HyperStudio or other Hypertext Program are all optional.

Description of Lesson (includes context):


One of the basic premises of Science for All Americans(American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1994); Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993) and the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) is that students should be aware of the fact that contributions to science and technology have been made bymen and women from different cultures and ethnic groups throughout history. However, the contributions of women and racial minorities have not always been recognized. Many concerns have been expressed and many issues have been addressed in reference to the facts that a small number of minorities and females choose careers in science and technology and are under represented in these fields.

This lesson is a collaborative multidisciplinary technology project designed to provide eighth grade physical students with opportunities to :

* Learn some detailed information about minorities and women who work in or have
made significant contributions to the scientific field of physical science. * Develop, enhance, and apply research; communication; and technology knowledge
and skills which they are expected to acquire and master by the end of eighth grade. * Explore the nature of various branches of physical science and possible careers in

Students are required to work in collaborative groups of four to research information on three minority or female physical scientists and design a 3-5 minute multimedia presentation which involves the use of at least one of a variety of technologies. The project has the flexibility to be used as a short term or long termproject. Although the project is designed for eighth grade

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science students, it may be used at other grade levels.


  1. What is the objective of this lesson?

FCPS POS Standards: 3 and 5.

FCPS POS Benchmarks: 8.3.2, 8.5.2, 8.5.3.

FCPS POS Indicators: 8.3.2,-1, 8.3.2-4, 8.3.2-5, 8.3.2-6, 8.3.2-7, 8.5.2-2, 8.5.2- 3, 8.5.2- 4, 8.5.3-2.

VA SOL(s) (including Computer/Technology): C/T8.1, C/T8.2, C/T8.3, C/T8.4.

Other: National Science Education Standards for Grades : Content Standards
A, E, F, and G (Grades 5-8); Assessment Standards A-D; Program Standards A
and B; and Teaching Standards A-E.


  1. What will we examine as evidence of students' knowledge and/or skill?

* Demonstration of mastery of various computer/technology knowledge and skills and
the completion of tasks associated with researching, gathering, and organizing
material for the final products.
* Quality word processing document which includes at least one graphic and contains
information from a variety of resources which includes at least one technological
* Quality oral presentation using a variety of formats which includes the use of at least
one technology.

Student performance and mastery of knowledge and skills are to be assessed using a variety of authentic assessment strategies; techniques; and tools, which include the use of rubrics and other performance-based assessments, as students perform various tasks associated with the preparation and presentation of materials.



  1. What exactly will the students and teacher do during the lesson?

Directions to students for proceeding with the lesson:

  1. At least three different resources, which include at least one technological resource,
    must be used to conduct the research study.
  2. Technological resources suggested for use in the research study include computer
    software; CD-ROM Software; Video and Laser Disc Programs; Telecommunications.
  3. Hypermedia and hypertext application software may also be used in addition to Data

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Retrieval Charts; Working Bibliography Sheets; KWL Charts; Computer Word Processing Software; Databases; and Spreadsheets to organize your information.

  1. All projects must consist of a brief profile of a total of three minority or female physical
    scientists and must include at least one female scientist.
  2. Profiles must include the ethnic background and other important and interesting
    biographical information as outlined on the profile worksheet.
  3. Profiles must also contain a brief description of the branch of physical science the
    scientist is associated with; description of the type of work the scientist is engaged in;
    and any major contributions made.
  4. Written presentations must be developed using a word processing and/or hypermedia or
    hypertext application software program and must contain at least one graphic.
  5. Oral presentations are limited to 3-5 minutes and must involve the use of at least one
    type of technology.
  6. All members of the group must participate in the oral presentation.

Directions to teacher/administrator using the lesson?

  1. Give students a project packet which consists of the purpose, specifications,
    requirements, method of assessment(s) of the project, list of scientists (optional) and
    suggested resources.
  2. Develop a slide show to discuss the highlights of the project and include graphics and
    other features which will serve as models for student presentations.
  3. Assign or have students assume roles within the group such as Project Manager,
    Graphic Artist, etc.
  4. Give students examples of minority and women scientists of today as well as those who
    have made contributions throughout the history of science and technology.
  5. Use various phases of the project to introduce or instruct students in the use of various
  6. Collaborate with the librarian or media specialist to ensure the success of the


  1. What options in presentation(s) and/or response(s) are suggested in order to provide the opportunity for all students to demonstrate achievement of the benchmark(s) and indicator(s)?

The following modifications may be made to allow flexibility of time or to
accommodate special student populations :
* Use of selected phases of the project to introduce or instruct students in the
use of various technological tools, devices, techniques, and software.
* Reduction in the required number of scientists to be researched.

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* Use as an individual rather than a group project.
* Use as an interdisciplinary project which involves collaboration between the science
instructor and instructors in other disciplines such as English, mathematics, social
studies, art, music.
* Use a scenario to generate student interest and motivation in the project. * Use a WebQuest to promote and enhance the use of the Internet and higher level

Suggested Websites

  1. Minorities in Science: Guide to Selected Resources
  2. Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics
  3. Women in Science and Technology
  4. 4000 Years of Women in Science