Students, in small groups, put together their information about an aspect of the major topic such as the Spanish Empire in a cumulative PowerPoint activity.
Each team gets to create two thought-provoking questions about the topic. These questions are not factual questions such as “When did it happen?”, “Who was the leader?” or “Where did it take place?” The questions are essential questions such as “How is Spain’s decline similar or different to the decline of other Empires?”, “How does Spain’s rule still have an impact on the modern world?” or”How does Spain’s rule compare to the USA’s role in the world today?” After the teacher Oks the questions, the teams post their questions so all the teams can read them. Then each team gets to select a question. A team gets first choice on one of its own question but a team may reject its own questions and then those questions are available for others. All of the question focus on slightly different aspects of the main topic.
Each team prepares its PowerPoint report. They are to include at least four historical detailed examples to prove their answer. They include at least one map, one other visual, and maybe a chart. The teams know they will receive points on how well they prove their viewpoint according to a provided rubric. In addition, they know that after each presentation, any other team can offer additional supportive evidence or contradictory evidence and that team will receive an extra point for each additional valid evidence. The teams realize that if they want to prevent any other team from getting points from their presentation that they have to have an abundance of information. They may even include a contradictory viewpoint and disprove it. Their team grade is their own presentation plus the additional points they gain from other’s presentations. Each presentation has a five minute limit.
During the presentations, the teams listen very closely to each other. They are seeking to find ways to agree or disagree with the presenters. They know that after the presentation their team will be given a minute to prepare any additional or contradictory evidence in a factual and persuasive manner. If they are successful in their challenge, the teacher will say “Point” and will add a point to their team’s cumulative score.
So how do your students engage in higher level thinking and in collaborative and competitive teams through PowerPoint?
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007