Quarterly Portfolio Project

Earth / Physical Science Portfolio Project

Explanation: Each quarter the student will compile a portfolio of work done outside class. This portfolio should represent a minimum of seven hours of work done out of class. The student will be asked to meet with me on a one-on-one basis to discuss their portfolio and their class grade. The portfolio should consist of three parts…

Part One: The Quarter Project

Each quarter the student is given a quarter project that will be due with their portfolio. In the first quarter the project will be for the students to create their own experiment, documenting their work and results to show me in their portfolio. Each student should create and experiment that answers a question. Such as, which carpet cleaner removes stains the best? Or which paper towel absorbs more water? Students may tackle tougher problems, as well, such as, does sleep-learning really work? Or do horoscopes in the newspaper really work? I try to get students to use a favorite hobby or pastime if appropriate or perhaps debug an urban legend like does coke dissolve bologna? What I do not want is a science demonstration like fitting a hard-boiled egg into a juice bottle with a match. These are often presented in books as “experiments” but we already know how they will turn out. We want the student to find the answer to a question. That’s this quarter, next quarter the project will change, it will be completely different.

Part Two: Class and Text Notes

Students are required to keep a notebook for this class. The notebook should consist of a three-ring binder with three sections or three loose-leaf folders. The first section should contain the student’s class notes. There should be an entry for each day, even if it is just the date. The second section should hold the reading notes taken from the text. In the first grading period, at least two chapters must be done in the PRP method learned in class. The last section should include all of the passed back work the student received from the class, as well as any handouts. None of the time spent compiling the notebook will count toward the minimum seven hours of effort the student is supposed to have logged, as the notebook is assumed to have been kept up as we went.

Part Three: Independent Research

This last part of the portfolio is the area where the student has the most control. If the student has not spent seven hours of time on the project (few if any should require that much effort) or would simply like to add time to the portfolio with an eye toward improving their grade, they can do independent research. This means that the student can do any number of things to demonstrate individual learning. Some examples are…

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Copyright C. D. Boch 2007, all rights reserved. Contact the author at chris.boch@northroyaltonsd.org