MIT 542 - "Penguins Past & Present"

Penguins Past & Present Website

“Penguins Past & Present” was generated within the context of MIT 542: Internship, as a requirement for the course. The project was supervised by Dr. Mahnaz Moallem and Dr. Steve Emslie. The project consisted of designing and developing a website and both second and fourth grade curriculum that taught local elementary school children about penguins.

This project was designed to serve as a way for local elementary schools to partner with professors and graduate students at UNCW to learn about penguins that live in Antarctica. The curriculums were designed and developed based on the feedback of Dr. Emslie and his graduate student Michael Polito. Also, I carefully researched both North Carolina Standard Course of Study goals and objectives, as well as National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) so that the curriculum would align with state and national goals and objectives. The two curriculums required me to sequence learner outcomes, outline instructional strategies, determine instructional resources, and specify the appropriate technology that needed to be utilized. The project consisted of creating a unit plan, rubrics (assessment items), and supplemental instructional materials for both second and fourth grade that could be easily accessible to teachers via a website designed and developed just for this research team at UNCW.  The website also provided Dr. Emslie and his graduate students with a way to interact with the students virtually. Dr. Emslie uses the site to post blogs and videos that explain the kinds of research he is completing in Antarctica. Students can then go online and read about his adventures and watch videos from the field.

Each unit was designed to teach either second or fourth graders the key terms and concepts, while integrating technology within a real world application. The project started with a development proposal that outlined the project. After working with Dr. Emslie and Dr. Moallem, the development proposal was accepted and the project began. Throughout the life of the project, Dr. Emslie input and feedback was utilized to ensure that the project was meeting the need. The goal of this project was to develop instructional materials that will be available on a website for local teachers. The instructional materials would then bridge the gap between the research completed at UNCW  and the NC state curriculum. The materials provide teachers with a way to teach students about the Antarctica research findings while still being aligned with NCSCOS requirements for reading, science, and technology.  The curriculum has been utilized by some of the teachers at Pine Valley Elementary School.

For this project, I acted independently as the Instructional Designer and Developer for both the website and the curriculums. I collaborated with Dr. Emslie and Mr. Polito to gain information about penguins and determine how they wanted the website to look.

The penguin unit plans were my first experience designing and developing curriculum instruction for second and fourth graders. This project taught me a lot about penguins and as a result, I was excited to create lesson plans that would relay the information in creative and interactive ways. If I were asked to complete this assignment again, I would like to develop a curriculum for each grade level. That way the entire school could benefit from the partnership and students can learn about penguins from real world researchers as well as their teachers.