Research-inspired Lesson Plans
Lesson plans, whether they represent a single class period or an entire unit, are a fundamental medium of both planning and communication for and among educators. While your lesson plan exists as a single, complete, and usable item to upload to STAR, we also hope that this is only the first draft of a document that is revised through practical experiences in the classroom and critical peer review. STAR is developing a system to support lesson-plan reviews with the ultimate goal of making high-quality, NGSS/CCSS aligned lesson plans available to the public online. STAR Lesson plans ARE shared among all STAR Fellows through the workshop wiki.
Because we wish to allow your peers to comment and edit lesson plans we need to capture your work in a specific format suitable for our database. The Microsoft Word template or Rich Text Format template (RTF, usable in any word processor) allows you to prepare your lesson plan in a way that is easy to cut and paste into our online submission form. We also ask that you upload a .pdf of your lesson plan so that you can preserve the original form of your lesson plan and include any images, rubrics, or worksheets you think are helpful. You must use these templates and this online submission process to deliver your lesson plan on or before the deadline (see Key Dates).
An important and required part of creating your STAR lesson plan is the clear connection to your research project. As a researcher you know and have done things that most teachers have not, specifically those related to science, math, and engineering practices. By writing a lesson plan based on your work, you not only increase the diversity of lesson plans online, but you also connect essential classroom practices and content to current real-world problems that scientists, mathematicians, and engineers are working on. As you tackled your research project and worked it into a lesson plan, you likely used valuable resources including papers, books, and websites. Please include these resources for background knowledge into the relevant sections of your lesson plan as seen in the Lesson Plan Example.
You will primarily work on your lesson plan within your workshop groups under the guidance of your Workshop Leader, though in some cases your Lab Site Coordinator or even Research Mentor may volunteer to be a resource for you. Your primary goal is to simply and clearly communicate a process which another educator can follow to develop his or her own lesson by leading them through 1) who the lesson is intended for, 2) what you intend to achieve in a lesson, 3) how to achieve it through a specific activity, and 4) how to evaluate the success of the lesson (for students and educator).
You can assume that your audience is a well educated university graduate working in the same grade level and field you are (e.g. middle school biology) and who is not an expert in your research project field. Keep it simple. You do not need to provide all of the background information for the teacher, but providing diagrams of key steps or equipment and reliable links is helpful and appreciated. You may not have time to try out your lesson plan during the busy summer. In that case, we recommend that you and a peer sit down and pretend to do every step in your lesson plan to identify materials you need to add to your list, steps that need clarification, consider equipment alternatives, or brainstorm new ideas for evaluation that can help improve your inquiry-based lesson.
Your Lesson Plan must have a clear connection to your research project. It may reflect a phenomenon you studied, a research technique, a process you did, or some other aspect of your work. The scope, however, is broad. It is vital that your lesson plan is an original piece of work, but do not hesitate to build upon existing resources. One important consideration when making your lesson plan is its practicality. For instance, a lesson plan involving magnifying glasses is practical for many schools, it is practical for fewer schools if compound microscopes are required unless low-cost (hacked) options are presented in your plan, a plan is impractical if it requires an electron microscope - though using online EM images might be practical.