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Steal these ideas from Project ReimaginED!

By Chip Cash
June 2, 2015
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Earlier this spring, we asked the most innovative teachers we know to send us great lesson plans that align to the Common Core and ISTE Standards. The goal was to populate the Project ReimaginED website with rich, tech-infused lessons so that cutting-edge educators like you could learn from each other.

We even created a contest and dangled an ISTE 2015 registration as the grand prize. The result was fantastic. Now that the contest dust has settled, it is a good time to look at the treasures in the Project ReimaginED vault.

One project combines environmental protection, engineering, design, 3D manufacturing and — with a little adaptation — data collection, curve fitting and functions. Other lessons have students creating and programming objects; investigating static electricity through engineering; delving into geopolitical issues in the Middle East; and combining literature, biology, electricity, creative writing, hands-on manufacturing, research and presentation. Among the 30+ submissions (and counting!), there’s bound to be something you could find to energize your classroom and excite your students.

Here are five highlights:

Kindergarten Store. Students research, design, advertise, market, produce, stock and potentially sell items in a store. Rich in problem-based learning, Kindergarten Store promotes language arts, mathematics, social studies, statistics, persuasive writing, and research and presentation skills. Don’t have kindergarteners? No problem. You can adapt this project, submitted by Randi Lembke, for virtually any grade or skill level. The interdisciplinary aspect as well as the maker movement potential make this a desirable project for a number of different subject areas. This addresses many Common Core standards, among them English standards about punctuation, letters and spelling, and math standards about representing operations with objects and solving addition and subtraction problems. It also addresses the ISTE Standards for Students in the areas of Creativity and Innovation, as students will apply existing knowledge to create new ideas, interact with their peers employing a variety of digital media, and contribute to project teams. This is a very deep project!

Home on the Reef. This project, submitted by Christina Troxell and Melissa Follin, has fourth graders gather data to determine the best place to position oyster castles in local watersheds. Students create 3D designs and produce models that local conservation experts evaluate for actual use. Students use mathematical modeling to make sense of data, research issues affecting oyster populations, use oysters in farming and report on the plight of the oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Don’t live near the eastern shore? That’s fine. What’s great about this lesson is how easily you can adapt it to other species, environments and settings. This project addresses a long list of standards, both Common Core and ISTE. These include the ISTE Standards for Students in the categories of Creativity and Innovation, Research and Information Fluency, and Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making. They also address Next Generation Science Standards in the area of using evidence to construct explanations, Common Core English standards about reading informational text and writing research projects, as well as the math standards on creating and using line plots to represent data and solve problems.

Rise of the Frankenstuffies: The Industrial Revolution. High school students create a Frankenstein-like creature to investigate the Industrial Revolution. Students learn how biology, electricity and industry innovations drive change. This project, submitted by Petra Willemse and Bryan Hughes, integrates science, language arts and social studies, and possibly math. The assignment also covers literature, creative writing and presentation skills while challenging students to communicate research findings in nontraditional ways. Frankenstuffies addresses Common Core standards in English, namely reading literature. The ISTE Standards for students (Creativity and Innovation) and teachers (Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility) are also prominent in this charming project.


Are the Bedouins Invisible Citizens of Israel? Unleash your students on this thought-provoking contemporary question that combines social studies, research, presentation and deep analysis of current sources. What makes this project, submitted by Susan Sabella and Kristin Hayes-Leight, so interesting is not only the question it poses, but also how the process is rich with possibility. Students can investigate the question and then expand their intellectual reach to involve closer geopolitical inquiries and, in the process, involve data, modeling, statistics and problem solving for real-world issues in ways that can have a measurable impact. The authors cite many standards for this project, mostly in the arena of Common Core English standards related to reading, history and social studies, such as integrating and evaluating multiple sources of information, writing to develop claims and/or counterclaims, making strategic use of digital media, and speaking/listening standards to present information and findings. ISTE Standards for Students in Creativity and Innovation and Communication and Collaboration are addressed. Teachers meet standards too by facilitating and inspiring students to engage in real-world learning. As mentioned, with some population data, graphing and modeling, you can also involve math standards about representing data and solving problems related to data.

Go Local, Share Global: Inspiring Kids with History or Science. Students use technology to expand their understanding of their local environments and make it possible for others to follow in their footsteps. Imagine students creating a photo essay about local flora and fauna, historic buildings or even Revolutionary War battle sites. You can use this project, submitted by Louise Maine, in almost any environment because the research and technology skills (geotagging, Google Maps, wikis) are easily transferable. Feeling really adventurous? Have kids create iOS or Android apps that people can download to follow voice or text-annotated tours of local interest. This project addresses many ISTE Standards for Teachers, including Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity, Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments, and Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility. This project addresses the ISTE Standards for Students for Creativity and Innovation, Communication and Collaboration, and Research and Information Fluency. Because this project is heavy on writing and production, it also meets the Common Core English standards for reading and writing (for history and science). You can easily involve other standards in science, mathematics or history, depending on the subject matter your students use for their photo essay or app!

These lessons are just a glimpse of what’s available on Project ReimaginED. It’s worth your while to peruse the variety of projects, lessons and ideas that you can try out in your own classrooms.

Like what you see? Have questions or reactions? Join the free community to engage in conversations with peers. Better yet, why not share a lesson of your own? You can get feedback and guidance from experienced professionals within the community and make your own project that much better!

Congratulations to Christina Troxell and Melissa Follin from Kemps Landing/Old Donation School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who won first place for their submission Home on the Reef. They will present their lesson at ISTE 2015.