Y7 Travel Agents – generating autonomy in planning and peer assessment

Towards the end of the last term in year 7, and with the objective of applying the skills learned throughout the year, geography students planned a trip to Brazil in groups of twos and threes.

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Year 7 students presenting their travel plans for a trip to Brazil

Following a brilliant idea that originated with the head of the geography department, a fun project was developed where students were given the task of carrying out, to the utmost detail, the planning stages of a two week trip to Brazil, from flights to hotels to tours or activities and even restaurant meals. The initial instructions were few and clear:

– 2 weeks from the 1st of April,

– a generous budget of USD 7500 per head,

– a minimum of four “destinations” or “experiences”, including a major city, a cultural activity, a beach element and a natural history element.

– all projects were to be presented on the last day of class, in a five minute session where the travel package would be offered up to and assessed by all other students, using the following criteria: fun factor, good use of time and money, completeness and variety, “Brazilness” and overall presentation.

Trip research and planning was carried out with the tablets as well as peer assessment: live google forms were generated for each group where each of the categories above was marked out of ten and responses submitted at the end of each five minute presentation.

The results were fantastic: some groups handed out leaflets with package details as they presented, and the range of ideas, destinations and activities was astounding. Some groups even started a Travel Agency to do this: SAI Tourism is an example of the presentations, and SAI Tourism peer assessment form shows the form to be completed by the rest of the group in order to produce the response summary for the group to be able to access the feedback (for this particular example, see SAI Tourism feedback).

Evidence of their skills in geography became apparent, as the use of maps to determine driving distances and/or where to get flights to for realistic travel times and plans was crucial. Looking up climate graphs of destinations was useful to determine appropriate activities and plans, and the constant use of currency conversions into and out of local currency proved challenging but also a rewarding learning experience. Internet research and realistic budgeting were coupled with the use of ICT resources and finally, keeping the students engaged in their learning into the very last minute of their last day at school for once was possible, and a positive experience!

As a final evaluation, this type of project could be coupled with other subjects to produce more fantastic work, such as restaurant or hotel reviews and travel blogs for English, currency conversion exercises or budget modeling for Mathematics, virtual museum or historic site tours for History, and a plethora of other fun activities throughout.



Categories: Professional Development Contest 2014

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