Introducing Capstone Lessons

iCEV is launching a brand-new content type: capstone lessons. These lessons are designed to be utilized at the end of CTE courses to allow students to synthesize the learning objectives of an entire course. Within each Capstone lesson, you will find scaffolded support for teachers and students to conduct course-relevant project-based learning. These lessons are perfect for encouraging students to find real-world applications for their CTE knowledge.

Why Use Capstone Lessons?

Capstone lessons lead students through long-form, student-facilitated projects related to their course content. For example, the Experimental Design Capstone (found in the Scientific Research & Design course on both the agricultural and STEM site) walks students through the process of designing an experiment from conducting background research to designing their procedures to collecting and presenting their data. The materials included with the lesson provide enough structure to keep students and teachers on track with their learning objectives as they progress through the project, but still allow enough flexibility for students to select projects meaningful to them, their school or their community.

How to Use Capstone Lessons

Capstone lessons are designed with the flexibility to adjust for classroom resources, student capabilities, and time. Before starting the capstone lesson, the Teacher Lesson Plan and Teacher Instruction Sheet outline the lesson, identify possible project directions and explain the key components.

When ready to implement the lesson, start with a captivating hook such as a demonstration, video or thought-provoking question related to the course topic for students to consider to serve as the theme for the capstone lesson. This is essential, as the more intrigued students are by the theme, the more invested they will be in working on the prolonged project. For example, in the Experimental Design capstone, the teacher could have students perform a disease transmission stimulation with water, baking soda and phenol red. This would prompt students to question how disease transmission occurs and leads them to develop experiments to determine how the disease is transmitted through their community. The materials provided in the capstone lesson allow students to select a specific focus for their own project based on the lesson theme. For example, some students may choose to identify pathogens present on campus, while others may choose to run an experiment to decide which method is the best for hand washing.

With students ready to embark on their capstone journey, provide them with the Student Checklist which outlines the major tasks for students to complete. This document also has space for the teachers and students to identify major deadlines for each step of the capstone lesson. It may also be beneficial at this point to have students review the Capstone Rubric at this point, so they are familiar with the expected outcomes from the lesson. This document provides guidelines for how the student will be graded throughout the lesson.

Now that students are familiar with the project, the teacher will provide students with an interactive Student Notebook. This notebook is closely aligned to the course’s learning objects and provides prompts to guide students through the development of their capstone project. The prompts include a variety of formats including short answers, note-taking, drawings and more. As students progress through the notebook, they will be directed to complete the Status Update Activities. These activities serve as an opportunity for students to reflect on their progress and allow the teacher a chance to meet with each student or group to check on their progress and provide valuable feedback during critical points of the project.

As students work on their capstone project, they may encounter a topic or skill they are not familiar with. In these cases, students can refer to the Capstone’s Resource Library. This is a collection of videos and presentations highlighting skills related to the capstone lesson. Students will use the library to support their work on their projects or to troubleshoot common difficulties. For example, the Engineering Design Capstone includes videos on preparing files in TinkerCad for 3D printing and how to troubleshoot a 3D printer so students utilizing a 3D printer for prototype or product development have support as they work independently on their project.

Once students have completed their capstone project, they are ready to share their product with their school and community. Using the Poster Template provided, students can design a poster to share their project chronology and outcomes.

Consider hosting a school-wide capstone conference for other students, teachers, administrators, parents and community members to view the students’ work. Partner with your school’s culinary department to provide light refreshments as the visitors walk around to view posters and ask students questions.

iCEV’s capstone lessons provide a comprehensive and engaging way for teachers to implement project-based learning linked to the classroom curriculum. For today’s students, capstone lessons offer immense value in preparing students for their future careers or furthering their education. To learn more about iCEV’s new capstone lessons visit https://www.icevonline.com/stem for more information.   

 

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