Our next winning teaching idea comes from Joelle of McMinnville, OR. She is a Structure Learning Program Teacher to high school students. Her idea is using a visual comparison and thought provoking questions to help them understand that special needs are everywhere and how to advocate for themselves.
The Project: We Need a Bigger Tank?
Goldfish are able to live in all sizes of bodies of fresh water, but a small fish in a small tank will always remain small. A big fish in a small tank would not have enough resources to thrive. My thought is to have two fish tanks of different sizes and measure the growth of the fish throughout the year. The idea is to build awareness in students with disabilities about advocacy and inclusion and how important these things are to their education, self esteem and life after high school.
Students will be able to compare how being a student with special needs is similar to being a small fish in a big pond (resource room), or a big fish in a small pond (self-contained classroom). They will be able to write and imagine what their life would be like if they were given more opportunities in a bigger tank. Similarly, what would it be like if their big tank were a little smaller and they didn’t have to struggle for resources.
The materials needed would be two fish tanks of different sizes (example 10 gal tank and 20 gal tank), goldfish, food, tank equipment such as filters, air pumps, and cleaning supplies, tank lamps, tank decorations and measurement tools for fish growth.
This project depends on the district policy to allow fish tanks in the classroom and has to be cleared by the school board in certain situations; however, I feel that the information the students take away is well worth the effort.
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Brought to you by We Are Teachers partnership with PCI Education for the Teacher Grant Ask: http://www.weareteachers.com/teaching-ideas/grant/teaching-idea?app=17017&grantId=75