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Scenario #9: 8th Grade Science Teacher

My classroom is currently involved in a unity on organic farming. Students used the internet to research the benefits of organic farming and its impact on the environment. Then, we visited a local organic farm to see how food is grown organically. After our farm visit, students gathered and graphed data on pesticide levels of random fruits and vegetable at the local market. Finally, students worked in small groups and used video/audio equipment at our school to create public service announcements about buying organic based on their findings.

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Technology spectrum: While organic farming can be quite the hot-button issue, the things that please me about this scenario are the teacher's desire to tie in generic knowledge (gathered from the internet) with real-life experiences (gained from the visit to the farmer's market). After using scientific equipment -- we need to remember that "technology" doesn't refer only to the internet -- to gather and graph data, the students are encouraged to share their information with others.

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Learning spectrum: Creating public service announcements based on their own findings allows studenets to share their knowledge with others, certainly a higher-order thinking skill! I particularly appreciate the fact that, while this is a science class, the students are involved in communications and public service.

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Rigor/relevance: This is another strong assignment with applications to each student's everyday life -- we all eat food every day, after all.

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Recommendations: There seems to be a bias toward organic food and farming, but it's important for students to use critical thinking skills to see all sides of the issue. Encourage students to learn more from sites such as SmartPlanet.com (http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/science-scope/organic-food-isnt-actually-any-better-for-you-and-its-way-more-expensive/)

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