If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve heard me talk about the Megacity Project that all 9th grade students complete in their Human Geography course. This final cornerstone assessment engages students in an extended study analyzing how megacities are transforming the world. It’s hard to believe that this is our fourth year assigning this project! Each year we make small tweaks to improve the process; it’s a team effort between the four geography teachers, our librarian, and myself to refine and upgrade things each year!
In the Megacity Project, students research one megacity through the lens of the Human Geography course themes (population, culture, environmental challenges, economic development, agriculture, urban planning and political organization). Their final project is to document their research and findings in a Weebly website. In the past, students have had to write a process paper as part of the project. This year, though, we decided to have students use Sutori instead of turning in a written paper. The goal of the Sutori was:
- to track daily progress
- to explain how research was conducted
- to explain website design and choices for organizing/categorizing information
- to answer the essential question: How has a megacity transformed the site and situation of its area over time and how will this impact the lives of its inhabitants in the next 50 years?
We found that Sutori was an easy way for students to document their progress and track what they learned and did on a daily basis. This is an important component to a project of this scope. What we learned – and will do better in the future – is that students need detailed guidelines on what this documentation process should look like. It’s such an important skill for us to be teaching them. It will be helpful to have some of the student exemplars from this year to share with next year’s students to guide them from the start.
Finally, we chose to display model websites on a Google map — Megacity Project Showcase 2017. When you click on each “pin” on the map, you will see the student’s thesis statement displayed along with a link to their Weebly site.