Lesson One: Complex Considerations
Grade Level: 5th Grade
Time: 60 minutes
Essential Question: How can we be stewards of Wyoming’s agriculture to benefit current and future generations?
Objectives: Students will:
- Complete a decision table in order apply the definition of a steward.
- Practice making stewardship decisions.
Purpose: By the end of the lesson, students will know the definition of a steward and will recognize that stewardship decisions require the consideration of multiple criteria.
- Decision Table (one per each partner group and the teacher) – (Source 1)
- Half sheet of notebook paper – (one per student)
Suggested Teacher Preparation:
- Become familiar with the decision-making table (see example table for support)
Social Studies: SS5.1.1 (Explicit)
ELA: 5.L.6 (Practiced/Encountered)
- Culture – a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization
- Steward – an individual who manages areas or resources
- Stewardship – As Wyoming citizens, we are stewards entrusted with the responsible development, care, and use of our resources to benefit current and future generations.
- Place students in groups of 2. Say: “We will be spending the next two weeks learning about being a steward. This is the definition of a steward: an individual who manages areas or resources. A person does this by looking after or caring for someone or something. Turn and talk to your partners, telling them about a time that you acted as a steward or saw someone acting as a steward.” As students share examples, listen for particularly strong examples and a variety of ideas.
Teacher Note:As students work, listen for criteria that would fit under the category of economics, like the cost or amount of money raised. Culture category examples might include: amount of fun it is, the appropriateness for all the students, the number of students that can use it at the same time, etc. Other categories are benefits for future students and environment. It is critical that the categories of economics and culture emerge, since these will be used in the upcoming unit. If no students present criteria that fall within these categories, be prepared to introduce criteria that would fit.
- As a whole class, share some of the examples that you heard, emphasizing what the person did that made him/her a good steward.
- Say: “You are stewards of our school’s playground. It is an important part of our school that we want to take care of so that we and other students will be able to use it in the future. Let’s imagine that the school has been working very hard to raise money, so we can buy new playground equipment. You are going to use a Decision Table to decide which piece of equipment would be the best choice.”
- Pass out the Decision Table to students. Say: “We will now brainstorm four different types of playground equipment as options.” With the whole class, brainstorm and make a list on the board of different types of playground equipment that would improve the playground. Once the list is completed, have students choose 4 to put on their Decision Tables. Next, partners need to decide what criteria should be considered when making a decision about the equipment. Model this for students by projecting a copy of the Decision Table then complete a think-aloud (describe your thinking) to describe the “appropriate for the students at our school” criterion. Say: “Our school has kids who are in kindergarten who are pretty small, and we have 5th graders who are much bigger. There is already equipment designed for the smaller kids and some for the older kids, so I think it would be important for the new equipment to be equipment that all or most of the kids at our school could use. That is why the ‘Appropriate for the students at our school’ criterion is listed in the first row of our Decision Table.”
- Have students work in their partner groups to generate more criteria for choosing the playground equipment. Teacher may need to model another criteria or two if students are struggling. Criteria could include: cost, safety, available space for the equipment, etc. See more specific examples below:
- It will fit on our playground.
- It won’t interfere with other activities or equipment.
- Many kids can use it at the same time.
- It is fun.
- It will last for many years.
- We will be able to get it installed before the end of the school year.
- We raised enough money to buy it.
- It doesn’t cost too much to install.
- Once partner groups have listed their criteria, continue to work through the Decision Table. Say: “Now, rate each piece of equipment using your criteria. Equipment will be given points based on how well it meets each criterion. The points are as follows: 0-Does not meet the criterion at all, 1-Meets criterion slightly, 2-Meets criterion, 3-Strongly meets criterion.” After students assign values for each piece of equipment, say: “Add each column up, and write the total for each column in the bottom row. Circle the piece of equipment that receives the largest total. That is the playground equipment you have chosen as your final decision.” It doesn’t matter which playground equipment students choose; the emphasis of this lesson is to make clear that we use a variety of criteria when making stewardship decisions.
EvaluationIn this task, students will be engaged in the higher order thinking skill of evaluation.
- Bring the whole class together, and have groups share the different criteria they used to complete their Decision Table. As they share their criteria, ask: “What category could each criterion fall under and why? Environment, culture, current and future generations, or economics.”
- After all groups share, ask: “Are there any groups who decided which equipment to purchase based on just one criterion?” Students should respond no.
- Say: “We came up with many different criteria in order to make a good stewardship decision for our school. As we continue this unit, we are going to learn more about being good stewards. We will also learn how to utilize some of the criteria categories like culture and economics to make decisions about the responsible development, care, and use of our agricultural resources to benefit current and future generations.”
Assessment: Pass out the half sheets of notebook paper. Say: “Write a sentence that describes a steward. Your sentence must include the following words: decision, care, use, multiple.” Collect the sheets when students are finished. When reviewing the sentences, look for students to describe their responsibility to make decisions about the care and use of resources based on multiple criteria. If students are not able to provide sentences that indicate this level of understanding, revisit the complex decision making involved in making good stewardship decisions before moving on to the next lesson. Students are asked to share this sentence at the start of the next lesson.
- Senn, D., Marzano, R. J., Moore, C., & Sell, P. (2015). Engaging in cognitively complex tasks: classroom techniques to help students generate & test hypotheses across disciplines. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences.