Sunday, July 22, 2007

Don’t Take Him for Granite

Sometimes the best way to discourage plagiarism among your students is to come up with an assignment that forces them to take information and present it in a whole new way.

In this project, developed by a team of top educators at the Discovery National Institute, students compare and contrast three similar, but different people, places or things. The three things appear as bachelors on a dating show. The bachelorette asks questions of the bachelors and they must answer in character using the information they compiled while researching their person, place or thing.

It will work with just about anything. Imagine a lovely young lady asking questions of Columbus, Magellan, and Cortez. Or what about Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon? With a little creativity you could even give personality to inanimate objects - like rocks.

Here’s a fun example of what such a project might look like for a science class. In it we compare the properties of metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks.

At the end of the project students need to fill in a graphic organizer. This one is just a basic Inspiration template that has been modified slightly.

Graphic Organizer Link (Requires Inspiration Software)

Finally, students are asked to synthesize what they have learned using the writing prompt. Their task is to write a letter to the lovely bachelorette encouraging her to choose one of three rocks, using their research to support their choice.

Writing Prompt Link

Who are these ‘top educators’ you speak of?
What did you do on your summer vacation? Well, if anyone asks I'll say I got to go on a cruise with 50 of the most amazing and talented educators this country has to offer. This National Institute was sponsored by the Discovery Channel. I can honestly say I’ve never worked so hard and had so much fun at the same time. For more info about the DNI Bahamas Cruise, check out Joe Brennan’s blog.

This Dating Game project was a collaborative effort that combined the creative talents of five teachers from four different states. (We’re all listed in the end credits of the video.)


Martha said...

I've heard about the video and can't wait to see it. But the link isn't working. Help!

Dennis Grice said...

Martha, the links should be working now. Sorry for the confusion.

Martha said...

Thanks Dennis, that is great. I am looking forward to DNI California, y'all set the mark pretty high.

Diane said...

What a gem of a video!
I knew you'd do something fantastic. All I can say is "Ah, Magoo, you've done it again!"
I was grinning from ear to ear watching the clip. Great teamwork!

Jenn said...

I can't wait to try out the Dating Game idea with middle school social studies curriculum. Imagine the Olympic Commitee choosing from the different countries ... or a trading company choosing an explorer... or a time traveler choosing which century to visit. The possibilities are endless and the end project, which cries out for collaboration, would be a lot of fun for all. Thanks for the great idea Dennis!

Dennis Grice said...

I just realized that the end credits neglected to cite the Unitedstreaming video clips. Here's the citation:

Geologist's Notebook: Three Rocks. United Learning
(2003). Retrieved July 18, 2007, from

Amy's Space said...


I have been wanting to see this video again, and also share it with the teachers I work with. Thank you so much for posting it! I was thinking that it would be wonderful to use for introducing some start of year rules and procedures to a class...for example, in science...the Bunsen burner could interview a pair of safety glasses, gloves and a test tube to see what each of them has to say about lab procedures...


eplybon said...

Can I get a copy of the video? My district blocks blogs and I'm afraid I won't be able to show it from your blog at some staff development I'm doing this week!

Karen Bosch said...

This is such a great idea! Love it! So easy to adapt to many topics.