Lauren Hodson | September 2016
3 Creative Ways to Introduce STEAM Challenges
There are so many endangered species in the world who need our help. We, as humans, can be helpful or hurtful to this cause. This can be a strong lesson in empathy for our students. Endangered Species Infographic PBL Lesson can be a good strategy.
In this Project Based Learning Lesson, I will outline how, as a school community, we can make a difference and bring awareness. I will also provide important tips and links to get you on your way!
Project: Endangered Species Infographic
Students will work in groups to create an Endangered Species Infographic using an online platform called Piktochart.
What is an infographic?
I explain it as being “Art for Your Brain!” Infographics are perfect tools for dispensing critical information and facts in a visual way without mounds of text.
While introducing the lesson, discuss and investigate a variety of infographics. Some are complex and some are very simple.
- what they are
- where they can be used
- how to use them
- how to make them effective
Introduce the topic of endangered species:
- What makes a species endangered?
Students select a specific animal to focus their infographic on. It should bring awareness to the public and provide ways in which people can help.
Infographics should be CLEAR, CREATIVE, and INFORMATIVE.
Inquiry or Driving Question:
“How can we, as 7th graders, bring awareness to our school about ways in which they can help reverse or minimize the critically endangered animal populations of the world?”
The solution should be student-designed. Allow students to direct their own learning. Students should genuinely care for the animal that they select to advocate for, so I would allow students to work in same-animal pairings when possible.
- Brainstorm what information they will need to put on their infographic in order to be an effective and informative tool.
- Discuss what resources would provide them with the best information they need and how to look at resources critically for authenticity. Providing information from reliable organizations could help them intelligently inform the public with science-based research from credible sources.
- Participate equally and report their findings periodically.
Things to Think About:
- What is the scientific name of the animal?
- What is their conservation level?
- Are they critically endangered?
- Why are they endangered?
- Fun Facts about the animal to draw interest.
- General information: Habitat, Eating Habits, Life Span, etc.
- Why do they matter and what makes them important?
- How can humans can help?
Reflection and Revision:
- Present their infographic to the class
- Document Revisions
- Coach and Facilitate
- Ask open-ended questions that promote self-reflection
In order to present their work to an authentic audience, it would be beneficial for students to communicate directly with someone who works in the field of conservation or animal rights.
Students present their infographics to the school and have the student body vote on an animal to symbolically adopt as a school community.
- Watch a quick Youtube video about animals: For education or entertainment
- Fun Fact: Begin class with an interesting animal fact
- Animal Groups: Start the class with a funny name for a group of specific animals. Ex. A Group of Otters is called a Romp.
Art Tips for Creating Clear Infographics
- Keep it simple:
- Just because you like all of the fonts, colors, and graphics, does not mean that they all belong on one infographic. It bogs down your message. Select a few and stick with them.
- Pick Fonts that are appropriate for your topic:
- Pick a different font for your headline, paragraphs, and facts.
- Paragraph fonts should be easy to read and clear.
- Keep the Color Theory in mind:
- Select a few colors that contrast with each other. This will allow your graphics, icons, and text to POP!
- Think about your topic. You would not make an infographic using warm desert colors featuring an underwater animal.
- A layout is Important for guiding the eyes and mind: Piktochart provides many useful tutorials and resources, but referencing layouts is very helpful to students. Find this and many other helpful tips HERE.
Some Helpful Links about PBL:
- For another helpful resource about Project Based Learning see Embedding the Arts in the PBL Process.
- For more information on Driving Questions to Guide Inquiry in The Arts, click HERE.
- Check out the Buck Institute for Education for more information and resources on Project Based Learning.