This is one of the lessons that I wrote inspired by Justin Riney and the Expedition Florida 500.
First, I used the projector to blow up Florida on the wall, and the students helped me place paper all over Florida and the surrounding water. We traced Florida and numbered all the papers. Then, students drew the numbers out of a hat to decide which one they would research- it was no surprise that most of the class wanted to research Palm Beach County because they live here, so we had to make it more fair. They researched in the computer lab, at home, and in libraries near by, with the goal of finding or creating symbols that could represent their area.
It was very open ended because they were encouraged to find facts and information that interested them. Some were very nature-centered while others were focusing on tourism, crime or hurricane occurrences. We had discussions about symbols and their presence in our everyday lives in this visual culture. We also talked about which symbols/logos were most successful and how they would make sure that their's was accessible for viewers. Some were really concerned with making really creative symbols that people had to think a little deeper about, while others wanted to make sure that all ages and people would know what it meant when they saw it.
It was fun to see how it progressed and a learning experience for myself included. The criteria was to use warm colors for the land and cool for the water (so that is had some consistency for the big picture), show evidence of research of your area, be able to explain what you discovered about your part of Florida through your symbols, good craftsmanship, and completion.Upon reflection: I would definitely use this picture as an example, because it is always hard to explain what is expected of students without a good visual, (I am a visual learner too, so I understand). I would also like for each student to make their own handout about the research they found for their area, and maybe include a couple relevant questions for a mini quiz on FL in the end of the unit. Doing this would help encourage them to become experts of their area.
I also think that this is a great project for the beginning of the semester rather than the end, because some students were able to encourage their parents to take them camping, or on day trips to their areas and it was nice to talk about their experiences if they were going or had already been. It was also fun to see how much they planned their trip, if their parents said yes to their chosen adventure. They really enjoyed hearing about Justin Riney's adventures and can't wait for Riney Ranch to lauch! I think that when young adults are excited to explore the world around them it is a very good thing!
"People protect what they love" - Jacques Cousteau