Subject Samplers tap into the need to interest and connect students to the chosen topic. Specifically, Samplers work as a means of motivating students to explore a topic further. Subject Sampler learners are presented with a smaller number of intriguing websites organized around a main topic. Students are asked to respond to the web-based activities from a personal perspective. Rather than uncover hard knowledge (as they do in a Treasure Hunt/Scavenger Hunt), students are asked about their perspectives on topics, comparisons to experiences they have had, interpretations of artworks or data, etc. Thus, more important than the right answer is that students are invited to interpret the topic. Use a Subject Sampler when you want students to feel connected, when you want them to offer personal opinions, when you want higher order thinking such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
Example My China
Infrequently used, these activities focus on reflective thinking and writing. This is a creative mental pondering of a topic the reveals the mind at work. The reflector opens with some occasion that the student is asked to ponder then react to. The web provides the different perspectives that will perturb the learner and force them to look at the prompt in a new way. These are not frequently used but are wonderful higher order thinking activities.
Example The Otherness of the Past
Another higher order thinking activity this web activity is used when a concept is being taught that cannot be confined to one simple definition. An example might be the concept of justice. There are many different definitions depending on point of view. The web is full of pages that discuss the concept. Another example might be the concepts embraced in a piece of literature, for example, Hamlet by Shakespeare. By viewing many examples of an Impressionist painting a student could derive the critical attributes of Impressionism. The ThinkQuest challenge is an example of a concept builder.
Example No Fear o’ Eras
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