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High School/Exit Level (9-12)
Projects/Tasks

The early high school grade level tasks have two components:

  1. Phase I, Learning Experiences, is a suggested series of TEKS-based lessons and performances to be used in large groups, in small groups, and/or individually. Phase I allows students to work with advanced content and processes through a discipline-based research model. Phase I is developmental and formative.
  2. In Phase II, Independent Research, students utilize and extend their learning from Phase I to develop a product. The product provides students with opportunities to synthesize learning, apply knowledge to a novel situation, and provide an advanced, high-quality demonstration of the student’s knowledge and skills.

Each campus determines the best avenues for project participation. However, in order for students to have the necessary support to complete their projects, each campus is encouraged to complete the learning experiences and independent research as described in each of the project descriptions. Two or more students may collaborate in Phase I and/or Phase II. When there is collaboration, each student’s individual learning must be documented.

Teachers can adapt Phase II independent research projects as appropriate to align with the exit-level task specifications described below.

An exit level project consists of the long-term development of a question or idea that is significant to professionals in the student's specified field of study. Grounded in the content of the TEKS, the project allows students to develop an important content-area question or idea in depth, though it does not necessarily have to reflect broad content knowledge in the field. Additionally, the project will demonstrate the use of sophisticated and advanced research methods and the use of technology appropriate to the field of study. The project results in learning that is demonstrated through products or performances appropriate to and comparable in quality to those of a professional who works in the field of study. A project consists of a product, an abstract, a process record, and a presentation and question-and-answer session.

The product is the focus of the scoring process, and the format of the product must convey the knowledge and skills learned in the project. This culmination of the student's comprehensive study must exhibit mastery of content and process skills. The final product may be in one of the following formats:

  • A written product, such as a formal paper, website, or literary work
  • A performance, such as an exhibit or theatrical production

The project should include an abstract that summarizes the project and that includes these components:

  • The title of the project
  • The purpose or goals of the project
  • A description of the product
  • A brief description of the project’s relation to the TEKS

Along with the product, each student submits a process record that documents the student's learning. The process record may consist of, but is not limited to, an outline, a log, a journal, notes of mentor meetings, weekly progress reports, drafts of previous versions, and/or a bibliography. The process record enables a reviewer to follow the student’s learning throughout the project.

Each student project also includes a public presentation that consists of a brief explanation of the project and a question-and-answer session with the audience.

The project teacher or independent study teacher may have additional requirements.

Though page and time limits are not specified, the length of the product, abstract, process record, and public presentation should be sufficient and thorough enough to convey the information and student message without being superfluous.

7E Model

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is redesigning the TPSP tasks to reflect a 7E framework. Currently, approximately half of the TPSP tasks have been restructured to reflect a 7E instructional framework. These tasks have been included on this website for download via the link that appears just below the original TPSP task download button.

The 7E model is an extension of the original 5E model developed by a team of educators at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study to maximize student engagement in learning. The seven “Es” of the model are as follows:

  • Elicit—Access and ascertain prior knowledge and understanding
    • Teacher can frame “What do you think?” questions.
  • Engage—Generate enthusiasm and stimulate interest and thinking
    • Teacher can surprise students, get students thinking, or raise questions through compelling demonstrations or presentations.
  • Explore—Provide opportunities to observe, record data, design experiments, interpret results, organize findings
    • Teacher can frame questions, suggest approaches, provide feedback, and assess understanding.
  • Explain—Introduce models, laws, and theories
    • Teacher can guide students toward generalizations and provide terminology and questions that help students explain their explorations.
  • Elaborate—Provide opportunities to apply knowledge to new domains
    • Teacher can introduce new variables and pose new questions/scenarios in which students practice transfer of knowledge.
  • Evaluate—Provide formative and summative assessment opportunities, including self-reflection
    • Teacher can conduct ongoing assessment of student learning through all phases.
  • Extend—Provide additional challenges that allow students to apply knowledge
    • Teachers can provide new contexts for application of knowledge that allow students to go one step further.1

For those TPSP tasks adapted to the 7E format, Phase I Learning Experiences provide suggested activities aligned with Elicit, Engage, Explore, and Explain. Phase II Research Process provides suggested activities to Elaborate, Explain, Evaluate, and Extend. While 7E tasks will always begin with Elicit and Engage and end with Evaluate and Extend, the sequence of Explore, Explain, and Elaborate can vary, often with recurrences of Explore and Explain throughout the task.

1For more information on the 7E model, see Eisencraft, A. (2003). Expanding the 5E model. The Science Teacher, 70(6), pp. 56–59. Retrieved from http://its-about-time.com/htmls/ap/eisenkrafttst.pdf

 

 

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In the Community: A Study of Culture

English Language Arts and Reading, Social Studies

High School English Language Arts and Reading Task: In the Community: A Study of Culture

In this task, students explore a community somewhere in the world. As a class, students become familiar with the culture, art, literature, leaders, and landmarks that are significant in that community. Then, independently or in groups, students will explore their local community and aspects of the local culture that are meaningful to them. As part of their study of the local community, they will host a classroom cultural event that showcases the culture of their community. Their final product will include developing a lasting contribution that will impact the community as a whole.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A contribution to the local community, such as conducting a service project or hosting an art show for local artists
  • Neighborhood website or newsletter
  • Documentary or awareness video about a local issue

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The Comedic Lens: Analyzing a Society Through Its Use of Comedy

English Language Arts and Reading, Social Studies

High School Englis Language Arts and Social Studies Task: The Comedic Lens: Analyzing a Society Through Its Use of Comedy

In this task, students will explore the use of comedy as a means of social commentary throughout history. Students learn about different types of comedy and its role and impact in other cultures and eras. They will choose an historic event/era and look at the ways comedy was used in society at that time and how comedy affected popular opinions and attitudes. The final product will be a comedic interpretation of an historic or current event.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A comedy about the historical era or event
  • A satire about a contemporary issue. The student chooses the format (e.g., comic strip, play, sitcom, standup routine, op-ed piece)
  • A comedy piece from the historical era or event, updated to make it relevant today

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We’ve Got a Problem

English Language Arts and Reading, Math

High School Interdisciplinary Task: We’ve Got a Problem

This task encourages students to develop a proposal for an actual collaborative project they can pursue. Students begin by developing a pre-proposal and identifying stakeholders and potential funding sources. Students then develop a real proposal and actually try to make the project a reality.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A proposal to present—the proposal should be similar to what would be given to a stakeholder group. It should include reasons the issue is important, changes that need to be made, and how these changes could be implemented

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What’s the Diagnosis? Historical and Physical Impacts of Disease

Science

High School Science Task: What’s the Diagnosis? Historical and Physical Impacts of Disease

In this task, students explore the physical and historical impacts of disease. Students begin by researching cells, bacteria, and viruses and the role of each in the body. They will then study different diseases (e.g., common cold, HIV/AIDS, bubonic plague) and their impacts on the body. Students will then choose one disease and track its history through time. They will determine the impact on the populations (including future populations) affected, as well as the impact on lifestyles of affected populations (including future populations) throughout the world.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A formal presentation as if students are experts on the disease they researched
  • Students will be given X amount of money in order to research the disease they have been studying. Discuss how they will spend the money and the details of their plans

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So You Have Issues—Now What? Policy Explorations

Social Studies*

High School Social Studies Task: So You Have Issues—Now What? Policy Explorations

In this task, students explore an issue of relevance within the local community, such as school board elections, water conservation, or public funding of campaigns. As a class, they explore the issue and make a recommendation to the proper governmental body. Then students—as a class or in groups—will choose a national, state, or local policy issue to investigate. Even though the issue they choose to investigate focuses on one level of government, they examine how it impacts others. They will consider pros and cons, as well as costs of various solutions. The exploration will culminate in a class debate.

Final Product Option(s):

  • Policy memo including a cost-benefit analysis and recommendations and/or solutions
  • Public relations campaign featuring the students’ proposed solution to the policy problem
  • A plan for implementing the student’s proposed policy, and what the policy would look like in practice
  • A legislative bill—students write the language for a bill that includes the realization of the students’ policy recommendations or solutions

* This task could easily be used in other areas depending on the policy students study (e.g., Internet usage in technology courses, bioethics in science courses).

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Candidate Z in ’2016

Technology

High School Social Studies and Technology Task: Candidate Z in ’2016

In this task, the student assumes the role of webmaster for a political candidate. Students should prototype a website design, using Photoshop or some other image manipulation program, and then carry out that design using HTML and CSS. The student will determine the content of the page. For instance, there could be biographical information, policy positions, a web forum, or a blog. There should be a page where users can “donate” money to the campaign fund, which will require interaction with a database and manipulation of data. There should be a page where users can sign up for a mailing list, which could also involve a back-end database.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A website—while the specific pages and functionalities of the site are up to the student’s discretion, the student should aspire to create an interactive, dynamic website with an attractive look and feel as opposed to a static website that merely echoes the candidate’s stump speech

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Traffic Jam

Mathematics

High School Mathematics Task: Traffic Jam

In this task, students will explore how leading researchers are using mathematics to understand the roots of complex problems such as “phantom traffic jams”—traffic congestion that suddenly appears on a roadway with no apparent cause (i.e., no observable accident, stalled vehicle, or other obstacle in a lane such as construction). Students investigate the connections between mathematics, science, and real-world problems in engineering and urban planning. At the conclusion of the task, students research a location in the community known for traffic congestion. Students identify the possible variables in the system and present their research findings using accurate mathematical vocabulary.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A multimedia presentation detailing the problem intersection, data gathered and analyzed and the student's suggestions for improving traffic flow in the area

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Super Food

Science

High School Science Task: Super Food

In this task, students explore the concept of nutrition at both a micro and macro level—from understanding the process of metabolism in eukaryotic cells to examining the twin global issues of hunger and obesity. Students survey the financial ramifications of these issues and the role of nutritional education in impacting people’s choices and behaviors. Additionally, students gain awareness of how related global challenges such as climate change and the vanishing diversity of crops negatively impact the future food supply.

Final Product Option(s):

  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Multimedia presentations
  • A recipe and marketing materials for a new nutritional supplement
  • Policy briefs
  • Business and programming plans for non-profit organizations
  • Technical papers presenting the findings of a controlled experiment

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Contemporary Issues: Effects of Genocide

Interdisciplinary

High School Interdisciplinary Task: Contemporary Issues: Effects of Genocide

In this task, students explore the current-day implications of genocide. As a class, students will become familiar with the historical events, leaders, and cultures affected. Then, independently, students will extend their studies by conducting interest-based research that is meaningful to them. They will determine the contemporary issues and implications as related to genocide. Furthermore, emphasis will be given to the importance of studying how historical events have a bearing on the present as well as the future.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A formal presentation as if they are an expert on the issue

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Bullying Awareness

Interdisciplinary

High School Interdisciplinary Task: Contemporary Issues: Effects of Genocide

In this task, students explore the impact bullying has on the victim, the bystander, the bully, and society. As a class, students become familiar with what constitutes bullying, the regularity with which it takes place, and why we should be concerned. Then, independently, students extend their studies by conducting interest-based research examining an aspect of bullying and what can be done to thwart this issue.

Final Product Option(s):

  • An original Public Service Announcement (PSA)

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Financing the Future

Interdisciplinary

High School Interdisciplinary Task: Financing the Future

In this task, students will track their income and spending and prepare financial documents including tax and interest calculations. They will research long-term income projections associated with education levels and career fields and develop college saving and financing plans based on an assessment of their college and career interests. Student learning culminates in the development of a college funding portfolio and action plan.

Final Product Option(s):

  • An inventory results identifying career goals and target colleges
  • An analysis of personal spending habits and current financial resources
  • A college cost analysis
  • A college funding portfolio
  • An action plan

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Pursuit of Passion

Grade 9—Grade 12

High School English Language Arts and Reading Task: Pursuit of Passion

This task allows students to explore the relationship between their personal interests and future opportunities. By connecting the two, students will gain well-rounded perspectives that help guide them toward professional or academic future goals.

Final Product Option(s):

  • An original product that includes the student’s point of view, voice, reflection, and examination of the relationship between topic and the real world

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