Rich Tasks

Even with enrichment, extension, Blooms Taxonomy, Williams Model of Curriculum Differentiation et al, I find that gifted students just fly through the content of our HSIE and science units. I've had a lot of success this term using "Rich Tasks" to fully engage the students and to allow them to show me what they know. What is a "rich task" ? The definition is "A specific activity designed to allow students to demonstrate knowledge through a practical, real-world activity". The beauty of these tasks for gifted students is that they can take it in any direction and as far as they would like to go.

Last week, for example, we looked at the real problem of melting ice-caps in the Arctic and the effect of this on the habitat of Polar Bears. Under the assumption that zoos around the world would need to take more polar bears to reduce the chance of extinction, students designed, then made a model, of a suitable enclosure for polar bears at Taronga Park Zoo. They had to research the eating habits, habitat, movement, size, overheating problems and effects of boredom.

Some really creative solutions were demonstrated as they worked in small groups using boxes, paper cups, cardboard rolls, absorbent paper, glue, lots of blue and white paint and polystyrene, cotton wool and straws. The lucky polar bears will have waterfalls, diving pools, holes for a poor seal to be hidden in every day for dinner (!) constant supplies of live fish, air-conditioning, huge fans (all solar powered of course) and an ingenious feeding ball modelled on the one made for dogs.

And the best part? It was fun!!

Did you know?

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose - a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.
Mary W. Shelley, English Novelist (1797-1851)


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