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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


American Revolution Unit

by Nadine Uremovich
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 3.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 29, 2009 by Teacher Education
Overview: This site uses a wiki to present a comprehensive lesson plan for students in grade 5 - 8 on the events leading up to the American Revolution. This unit is designed to teach 5-8th grade students why Americans revolted. With a time line of fifteen days,multiple creative learning opportunities using technology have been created which are linked to state curriculum standards.Numerous assessment strategies are incorporated with a final unit assessment testing fill in the blank and multiple choice options.
Learning Goals: Students will understand issues and events that led to the American Revolution, and analyze how these events affect the move toward independence from Britain. Students will recognize the importance of individual action and character in shaping civic life.
Target Student Population: This lesson is designed for students in grades 5 - 8. If used in teacher education programs, this lesson would be appropriate for junior and senior year methods classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No pre-requisites required.
Type of Material: Lesson Plan
Recommended Uses: This site could be used by public school teachers to support social studies requirements. It could also be used in teacher education programs by analyzing strengths and weaknesses in the design and in the various activities in supporting learning. It seems useful for social studies methodology courses.
Technical Requirements: Site can be used with nothing more than a web browser and Internet access. If users desire to interact with others, they must request access to the wiki. Request link is available on the homepage.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: The lesson is engaging and uses a variety of hyperlinks to other resources, including some primary source documents and some audio-visual resources. The lesson is well designed and includes suggestions for differentiation. The unit is comprehensive with several interesting learning challenges.
Concerns: While there are some multimedia resources, the majority are text-based resources, including links to various Word documents. At times the content relies on standard stories, which are not always factual, or at least bold generalizations bordering on myths. This is particularly true with some of the links to movies by School House Rock. The assessment component requiring multiple choice and fill in the blank responses limits the learning when the unit strives to teach concepts rather than isolated facts.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: There are a wide array of learning activities associated with this lesson. They should appeal to students at different levels of ability and interests. Learning goals are clearly identified, measurable, and standards-based. Learning activities have suggested alterations to support both special needs learners and gifted learners. Suggested learning activities have appeal to a wide variety of learning styles and strengths. Suggested assessments are appropriate
Concerns: Materials and approach seem more suited for 5th or 6th grade and less likely to fully engage students at 8th grade level. One concern is the sequence of learning. Skills must be developed that build on previous knowledge. Both depth and breadth of concepts must be considered for students to be able to learn and produce learning objects.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The entire site is very easy to navigate. Hyperlinks in the text are easy to identify and use. In addition the sidebar provides quick and easy ways to move through the lesson linearly or moving about as desired. All materials presented are appropriate and appealing for the identified grade levels.
Concerns: Connecting concepts from Liberty to present day issues might be helpful.Discussions as well as blogs drawing parallels between the American Revolution and present day issues in the U.S. could make for interesting learning products.

Other Issues and Comments: Overall this will be an easy lesson to use and to engage students in thinking about causes and effects of the political and social elements leading up to the American Revolution. As with any Internet based unit, it is good to review regularly to identify broken links and materials no longer available.