Tired of the same old biography research assignments? Use Concentric Circles to Focus on Change Makers
Why not have students focus their research on Change Makers or more specifically, young people who have changed the world? Sometimes it can be more challenging for students when they select a contemporary individual because of the varied types of research required and potential limit on available information. Despite these potential challenges, the ability to gather information from a variety of sources is not a new requirement and the experience for students is invaluable.
Concentric circles are great for helping students dig deeper in their research. Move beyond the expected or usual people in history that students often research and already know a lot about.
Often students don’t know who they wish to learn more about so they fall back on the usual topics. Foster a sense of wonder and desire to know more. Providing students with the opportunity to browse and develop interest in different people makes all the difference. Students might browse through a book such as, Little Dreamers Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison to get inspiration. You might also check out this website Brightly- 12 Inspiring Illustrated Biographies That Introduce Kids to Diverse Heroes, for inspiration or a launching off point for students. Have a mental list of potentially intriguing individuals at the ready so you can ask students- “Are you familiar with _____?” or “I was reading about _____ and found his story fascinating. Have you heard of him?”
This image shows one way concentric circles might be designed for student use. Consider how students might go from a concentric circle model of learning to creating a unique and creative product that demonstrates their learning.
So, have you heard of Sylvia Acevedo? She has a fascinating story!
Sylvia Acevedo- Resources: Website, NPR (National Public Radio) , Autobiography – A Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist