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Capstone Theme

Project 1: Designing the Presentation (Leader Guide)

Theme Overview:
Throughout the year the students have completed numerous projects from NASA, 4-H, The Discovery Channel, PBS and many museums and national organizations. This Capstone Projects will allow them to revisit one of those activities of their choice in more depth. They will also have the opportunity to involve their parents in the activities through the Skillathon.

Students will develop a Skillathon station on one of the projects from the program. Students will function as Station Assistants at their Skillathon station to facilitate parent participation.

Throughout the program year the projects we have accomplished have come mainly from NASA, 4-H, the Discovery Channel and various museums. Our capstone project of the year will use a 4-H activity, the Skillathon, to allow the students to involve their parents in some of the activities from the year. Following is the information on Skillathons from the 4-H 101 Handbook. We will be modifying the Skillathon technique because of time limitations. In addition, our stations will be more informative than developmental: A Skillathon is a method of involving youth and their parents in challenging, non-competitive, learn-bydoing activities. This method of helping 4-Hers develop both personal and project skills is designed as a series of minilearning stations with an assistant at each station. The participants rotate from station to station attempting to perform the tasks they are given. The assistant allows all team members to test their knowledge and ability before giving them any hints. This technique is referred to in 4-H as learning by doing, but 4-Hers are supported by the assistant when they falter. What is the Responsibility of the Station Assistant? It is challenging and rewarding to assist at one of the skillathon stations. The extent to which the participants develop project skills and life skills depends largely on how successfully the station assistant works with them. It will be important that assistants: Become familiar with the topic and any available project materials, supplies and training aids related to the topic. Compile a list of questions to ask each team. Set up the station to include a stand up situation, task sign and necessary supplies. Allow the team members to discover for themselves how to accomplish the task rather than telling or showing them how. What are the Steps in Facilitating the Learning Situation for Each Team? 1. Divide the participants into teams of two to four members. 2. Set up the station and make supplies available to the teams. 3. Provide the participants with a realistic situation and task that will encourage a response. 4. Step back and allow the members time. 5. Respond to participants questions with questions so the answers are generated from the participants. 6. Listen carefully to the answers and presentations. 7. Accept the groups solutions. 8. Ask questions to help them build on what they presented. Ask questions that might lead members to a better or more correct solution. 9. Acknowledge and reinforce efforts with positive responses. 10. Review the process and highlight appropriate solutions. 11. When all teams have experienced all stations, review the experience and solicit ideas for conducting this activity at another meeting. 12. Following the Skillathon, ask the station assistants to review the major problems at their station and offer their solutions to each, take an inventory, and pack up all equipment and materials.

What are the Steps in Planning the Skillathon? 1. Decide on the stations wanted. Consider time and resources available. 2. Create a realistic situation and task for each station. 3. Decide on the equipment or supplies needed at each station. 4. Decide who will be in charge of each station. 5. Delegate responsibility for gathering supplies. 6. Ask someone to be in charge of dividing the group into teams of two to four. 7. Ask that same person to assign each team to a workstation, and explain the process of rotating from station to station every 10 minutes. Skillathon Guidelines Set up the situation Give a broad overview of what will happen. Provide further instruction in small segments, as the group progresses. Always keep the learning goal and objectives in mind. Facilitate the process Maintain a supportive atmosphere, be aware of learners feelings and reactions. Give everyone something to do at all times. Become involved whenever possible, but keep an eye on time. Let the group members assist with the process. Write directions for the group on an overhead or flip chart. Be sure all groups are on time and on task. Left on their own, one group will inevitably be completing an exercise while another group is still clarifying the task. Facilitate learning Turn whatever happens into a learning experience. Avoid discussions that are too deep or that lead the group too far off target. In the learning cycle make the steps clear and complete. Because of the learn-by-doing nature of 4-H projects, any single project or a combination of projects could be used to put together a successful skillathon. Normally, 6 to 10 stations make up a skillathon. However, fewer or more stations could be used depending upon the purpose and size of the group. When using combinations of projects, choose projects that have some relation to each other. Signs at each station plus the awarding of ribbons and certificates to all of the participants add to the fun. Things to Avoid Over Instructing Giving too much detail. Excessive telling (versus listening or sharing). Pressuring people to participate. Negotiating the Design Arguing over interpretations of what happened. Changing what will happen to meet the needs of one or a few of the group members. Playing Psychological Games Ridiculing individuals. Deceiving people. Interpreting an individuals behavior. Overloading Generating more data than can be discussed thoroughly. Repeating an activity until it works. Overanalyzing data. Ending Without Closure Leaving with unresolved tasks. Leaving applications to chance.

Capstone Skillathon Handout Skillathon Planning Sheet Presentation tri-fold board Materials to make signs on presentation board Materials for the Skillathon Station

Discussion: 1. Attention Getter: What is a scientist? 2. Ask their students to share their answers. 3. Explain that a scientist is: a. in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. b. in a more restricted sense an individual who uses the scientific method. c. may be an expert in one or more areas of science. 4. Tell the students that we have been scientists throughout the program and we are going to do an activity that will allow our parents to participate in our investigations: a Skillathon. 5. Distribute the Skillathon handouts 6. Have the students take turns reading the handout. 7. Discuss the Skillathon Planning Sheet in reference to the handout the students just read. Hands On Activity: 1. Design the Skillathon Station 2. Prepare the Presentation Board 3. Create the Skillathon activity materials Procedure: (4-6 grade will need a lot of help on each of these activities, 7-8 can be challenged to arrive at their own solutions after minimal direction) 1. Divide the students into their Skillathon teams. 2. Have the students complete their Skillathon Planning Sheet. a. The students will need a lot guidance on this step b. The activity cannot last more than 10 minutes c. The Presentation Board will have the majority of instructions 3. Have the students complete their Presentation Board planning sheet. 4. Have the students create their Skillathon activity materials. 5. Have the students complete their Presentation Board 6. Have the students practice being Station Assistants and facilitating their station activity. Closing Activity: 1. Ask the students to discuss their activities.

Capstone Theme
Project 1: The Skillathon (Student Handout)

Capstone Skillathon
A scientist is defined as a person who studies a topic in an orderly way to learn about it. Throughout this year we have been scientists and examined many topics. This capstone activity will give us an opportunity to let our parents and other adults share in our learning by participating in a Skillathon. A Skillathon is an event in which there are several stations that participants can visit. The participants are in groups and every 10 minutes the groups change stations. At a station, the group reads the background information and may get an introduction from the Station Assistants. Then the group follows the instructions on the Presentation Board to accomplish the activity. At the end of the activity there are questions for the group to answer. The Station Assistants are very important to making a Skillathon a success. They design the activity so that it can be finished in time and is interesting and fun. They make sure the materials are ready for each group. The hardest job is to make sure the group knows what to do without giving too much help. Then they ask the questions and comment on the answers. Today we are going to start designing our Skillathon stations using the following steps: 1. Giving a title to our station.

2. Coming up with a situation for our station. This is just like a purpose, but is more real life. For example, instead of saying we will learn how to use a tape measure, the situation would be You are building a shelf and need to know how much wood to get to fit in the space on your wall. 3. Deciding on the actual things the group will do. In the tape measure example they might be: a. Pick which tool to use to measure the space (pick the tape measure) b. Use the tape measure to measure the space c. Measure the pieces of wood available select the one that matches the dimension we need 4. Designing our Presentation Board so that it has the information the group will need and is attractive: a. The title b. The situation or problem c. Any background information explaining the subject the group may need d. The steps/instructions i. Decide what you have to do to make the shelf (measure the space) ii. Pick the correct tool to measure the space (the tape measure) iii. Use the tool correctly (measure with the tape measure) iv. Find the correct shelf (measure the available shelves) e. The questions you want to ask the group to make sure they understand/learned what you want them to learn i. What are important things to think about if you are going to build something? (the space you have) ii. What are good tools to measure long distances? (yardstick, tape measure) iii. What is important to remember when using a measuring tool? (read the numbers carefully, measure twice) 5. Design our station table so that the materials are organized for the group and they have space to work on the table or floor This activity is going to take four sessions to complete. Today you will decide on your title and situation and will design your Board (the steps.) At the next session you will build your activity. Then you will set up your table and practice your activity. Remember to make it fun for your groups!

Grade (circle): 6 7 8 _____________ Skillathon Planning Sheet Team Members:

6. Title of Skillathon Station: _____________________________________________________________ 7. Situation (topic of Skillathon Station): ____________________________________________________________ 8. What do you want the participants to learn/do at your station (list the specific thing(s) they will do. There should be some type of challenge for the participants: (Remember the participants will only have between 5 and 10 minutes at each station) a. __________________________________________________________ b. __________________________________________________________ c. __________________________________________________________ d. __________________________________________________________ e. __________________________________________________________ 9. Presentation Board Planning (your board will have background information and instructions for the steps the participants must take.) Here is an example of a template you can follow to complete your design on the next page:

Backgrou nd Informatio n What the participan ts are going to do 8-1/2 x 11

Title Situation/Scenario

Step 4 4 x 20

Step 2

Step 2 Question s 8-1/2 x 20

Step 2

Step 3


Background color: _______________________

b. Number of blocks: 8-1/2 x 11 _______, 4 x 20 _______, 8-1/2 x 20 ________

c. Block color: ___________________________________________________________ 10. Design your station table layout:

Tabl e


Presentation Board Layout




32.5 NOTE: A sheet of computer paper is 8.5 x 11