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Case Study

Cassidy Shostak

Question: Why is researching and understanding an animal, its basic needs (food, habitat,
environmental conditions), and ways that humans can make better decisions to help the
animal survive important?

Student Profiles:
Patrick will struggle when researching and using the computer. Patrick is also ESL so he
struggles with English. He has a dog (that lives away) so will understand the basic needs of
an animal.

Gianna enjoys animals, nature, and also has two cats. She is interested in science and really
loved when her class raised a fish. She will understand the basic needs of an animal and
will know where to start. Gianna loves drawing so will be interested in decorating her
project; however, Gianna does not like asking questions.

Katie has no pets at home so may struggle with starting her research of an animals basic
needs which could lead to unreliable results (bias). Katie loves art so will be interested in
decorating her project. Katie also likes working in partners.

Abby has lots of pets at home (one cat, two fish, and two hamsters) so she will know where
to start her research in the basic needs of an animal. Abby likes art and the freedom to do
what she wants when drawing so she will enjoy decorating her project. She feels frustrated
when she cannot find the information on the computer and has to go to the library to find a
book so she might get easily frustrated when researching.

Ricky has a pet dog, likes drawing, likes sciences, knows how to search things, enjoyed a
project like this before and liked having a lot of time to do it. He is interested in technology
and using the computer so he will do well in researching.

-Ricky would need to be challenged in his researching skills. He enjoyed a research project
like this before and excels in technology. Ricky would excel in more detailed research.
-Katie has no pets at home so reviewing basic animal needs will be needed for Katie to
ensure that she understands.
-Abby and Patrick struggle with researching and technology. They would need more
practice and assistance when researching in the library and on the computer. Practicing
these skills and giving them step-by-step guidance would be beneficial. Also these students
are expected to have less detailed information then other students like Ricky.
-Patrick is also an ESL student so he will struggle with writing down his information and
reading from books and the computer. He would benefit from more one-on-one attention.
Also allowing Patrick to do an endangered animal from Guatemala may give him more
sensori-motors connections and engagement in the project may benefit him.
-Gianna will need no differentiation. She enjoys animals and understands the basic needs of
an animal. Gianna also enjoys art, in a particular art around animals and nature, so will be
interested in choosing and decorating her project. The formative assessment will help her
with researching skills and asking her peers and teachers questions in a less intimidating

-Students show growth towards mastering outcomes.
-Students will build on previous knowledge of investigation, the nature of things, and
animal care.
-Allowing students to communicate their knowledge and understanding.

Triangulation (Formative Assessment):

Observation of Process
Checklist of Student on researching
skills and understanding of animal
care and basic needs (reliability)

Collection of Products
Conversations Performance task of researching
Class discussions of basic (library and on the computer)
animal care, habitat loss, different animals basic needs,
and human strategies to safety, and survival.
protect animals (reducing

Changes to the Performance Task:

-Allowing the collection of products or formative assessment to be done in pairs will help
facilitate students like Katie, Abby, and Patrick who like to work in partners or struggle
with researching. This will give them a foundation of understanding how to research before
their summative assessment. During this performance task I would give the students an
opportunity to peer-assess and I would also give descriptive feedback in their researching
skills and information (ex. Not descriptive enough, need more detail, expand, etc.). This will
create a non-bias for students giving everyone a fair assessment.
-I would involve the students in creating the criteria. This allows students to understand
what is important in the project. When setting and using criteria, according to Anne Davies,
a teacher must facilitate a class to 1) brainstorming a list of ideas, 2) sort and group the
ideas, 3) make and post a T-chart, 4) use and revise as you learn more (56). This gives
students ownership to their learning and teachers can then understand the needs of the
class and a clear criterion will ensure reliability.
-I would brainstorm a list of different forms the project could take, expanding it more than
just a brochure and giving the students a choice. By allowing students choice in how to
present their information they will then be more engaged in their work then creating more
quality work (Davies 49). Examples like, brochures, posters, websites, presentations, a
storybook, comic strips (comic strips are something Ricky enjoys) etc.
-I would supply students with models of other projects to give them an idea of what is
expected. Giving students beginning with an end in mind to further students success and
create more quality work (Davies 25).
-Allowing the students to present their work to each other, online, to the school, or to other
schools around the world to give students responsibility of their work (Davies 61). Also a
required outcome is demonstrate awareness that different animals require different
habitats so allowing students to present to each other will communicate this
understanding. To assess this students could do an exit ticket after the presentations (for
summative assessment).
-I would give students a starting point online and in the library to prompt their research in
their formative assessment and their summative assessment. Giving them a tour of the
library to show them where they can find appropriate resources and kid friendly searching
sites to start their online research like:
-Sweet Search (http://www.sweetsearch.com)
-Kid Rex (http://www.kidrex.org)
-Google Safe Search (http://www.google.com)
-A required understanding is exemplifying examples of extinct animals so I would add a
section in the performance task that asks animals that have gone extinct in their region (if
that is Alberta or Guatemala). This change of the performance task ensures validity.
-Giving reasons why an animals habitat should be preserved is not an outcome so I would
take this out of the assignment. Students only need to demonstrate understanding of
environmental conditions that could threaten animal survival and ways to preserve habitat,
which, will also ensure validity.