Saturday, November 6, 2010

MERLOT Material Evaluation

The resource I chose to evaluate is a lesson plan on plate tectonics.  The URL is .

This is a great differentiated plan that allows the teacher to get a quick snapshot of students' levels at the beginning of the lesson, group the kids, and then put them into different groups with different activities according to their level.  The following is my eval using the MERLOT criteria:

Quality of Content
1. The software does present valid concepts, models, and skills.  I would easily be able to recreate this in my own classroom.
2. The software does present educationally significant concepts, models and skills.  It accurately addresses state standards and benchmarks, and also presents an easy assessment model for the teacher to ensure competency.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool:

1. This lesson plan could easily be used at all stages in the learning process.
Explanation/Demonstration: A model of the plate boundaries is to be presented by the teacher on the white board.
Practice: Whole group plate activity using the graham crackers, pudding and fruit roll ups.
Applying: Students are placed in differentiated groups according to their skill level and apply the concepts in a new activity.

2. Learning Objectives:Students identify and are able to describe the three primary types of plate boundaries and landforms associated with each: divergent boundaries, convergent boundaries, and transform boundaries. A different type of plate movement occurs along each type of boundary.

3. The target learners are middle school students at all skill levels.

4. Yes, the interactive and media rich presentation of material improves faculty and students abilities to teach and learn.  A video demo of each plate boundary is shown to students and is referenced in the plan.

5. The use of software can be readily integrated.  Really, just a projector needs to be used.

6. The lesson plan could be used in a variety of ways to achieve teaching and learning.  This is shown by all the differentiated instruction.

7. The teaching and learning goals are easy to identify.

8. NA

Ease of Use
1. The text and formatting is easy to use.
2. The user does not get trapped in the material.
3. The material is easily laid out so that the user does not get lost in the material.
4. There is a model for student assessment that would easily be able to provide feedback to the students.
5. The lesson is flexible.
6. The learning material does require documentation of student progress, but this easily can be done using the student 'exit slips' described in the lesson.
7. Students LOVE using food, so yes, the material is presented in a way that students could easily complete it and be (8) attracted to it.

I WILL be using this lesson this year!  How fun!