Marie Curie Math & Science Center

Utilizing NYS Standards in a Curricular Design for a College Level
Social Studies Methodology Class

Helene Robbins
Group #9

Commencement Content Standard # 2

MST-Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.

Benchmark Standards
Content Standards

MST -Information technology is used to retrieve, process, and communicate information and as a tool to enhance learning

  • Information technology can have positive and negative impacts on society, depending upon how it is used.

Social Studies- Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity. (From the National Council for the Social Studies)

  • The study of world history requires an understanding of world cultures and civilizations, including an analysis of important ideas, social and cultural values, beliefs, and traditions. This study also examines the human condition and the connections and interactions of people across time and space and the ways different people view the same event or issue from a variety of perspectives. (From the Learning Standards for Social Studies, The University of the State of New York)

Performance Standards

  • prepare multimedia presentations demonstrating a clear sense of audience and purpose
  • Telecommunicate a message to a distance location
  • access, select, collate, and analyze information obtained from a wide range of sources such as research data bases, foundations, organizations, national libraries and electronic communication networks, including the Internet
  • discuss how applications of information technology can address some major global problems and issues

Social Studies

  • explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns
  • give examples of how experiences may be interpreted differently by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference
  • describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture -compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions
  • give examples and describe the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across groups

Content Standards or Outcomes

At the end of this three week unit the students will...

1) contact and correspond (at least three times) with a pen pal from another country.

2) research through the Internet, various software programs and books the social, political, economic, cultural and geographical conditions of the pen pal’s country.

3)create and present to the class a Power Point slide show (of at least 20 slides) detailing the information collected and the similarities and difference of their culture and their pen pal’s.

4)write a two page reflection which identifies why different cultures throughout the world develop varying perspectives on contemporary issues.

Enabling Activities

Day 1

  • Introduce students to "Katrina", the teacher’s imaginary key pal from the island of Roarko, through a power point presentation. (Students will have had previous experience using Power Point.)
  • Invite students to create their own Key Pal Project.
  • Discuss various components that may be included in the slide presentation (geographical, cultural, social, historical, economic and political background of the key pal’s country; comparison of traditions, culture, education, social life of the key pal’s country and their own; itinerary of a trip to the country, including cost of airfare, hotels, food; etc).
  • What questions will you want to ask your pal?
  • In order to develop an understanding of varying perspectives on contemporary issues, what topics might you discuss
  • with your key pal?
  • How will you research the other components?
  • Discuss possible search engines. 

Day 2

  • Teacher will distribute handout of ten possible Key Pal Web Sites (see attached).
  • The students will access several of the web sites choosing at least three advertised "key pals" .
  • At the end of the lesson students will record the e-mail addresses of at least three "pals" and begin corresponding with the three individuals.
Day 3
  • Students will write to their three selected key pals.
    • Letters should include biographical information, goals of their projects, questions that they want to ask their key pal. If time allows, student may begin their research on the Internet using the search engines, or possible web sites ( see attached). (Additional lab hours will be required at this time)

Day 4

  • Students will retrieve letters from their key pals and send return letters.
  • Students will select one key pal to use as a subject for their project.
  • Students will continue collecting research about their key pal’s country and begin formulating their Power Point presentation. (Additional lab hours will be required.)

Day 5

  • Students will continue corresponding with their pen pals, researching their topic, and creating their presentations. (Additional lab hours will be necessary.)

Day 6

  • Students will present their Power Point Projects.
  • Students will write their two page reflections.

Performance Measures

Students performance will be evaluating according to the following criterion:

  • presentation of a power point project (grades will be based on the attached rubric)
  • active class participation including evidence of correspondences with key pals (grades will be based on attendance, teacher observation, and record of outside laboratory hours.)
  • completion of two page reflection which identifies why different cultures throughout the world develop varying perspectives on contemporary issues.

 Power Point Presentation Rubric

Unacceptable (F, D)
Slides presented demonstrating student’s ability to access information and create a simple 10-20 slide Power Point Presentation.

Acceptable (C, C+)
Twenty slides demonstrating that the student accessed, generated, processed and transferred information using appropriate technologies

Proficient (B, B+)
Twenty slides presented using "Acceptable criterion" plus

  • additional correspondence connections from key pal letters
  • using several background colors and simple graphics on slides
  • description of cultural similarities and differences

Exemplar (A, A+)
Twenty slides presented using "Proficient criterion" plus

  • extensive correspondence connections from key pal letters including a discussion on different perspectives on important contemporary issues
  • elaborate use of background colors, graphics, and sound on slides
  • itinerary of imaginary trip to visit key pal, including airfares, hotel accommodations, etc.
  • handout of resources used to access information, including web sites, books, etc.

Favorite Web Sites


St. Thomas Aquinas College, 125 Route 340, Sparkill NY 10976-1050