Popplet is a free, easy-to-set-up-and-use-collaboratively online brainstorming, presentation, and productivity tool that allows users to organize ideas graphically. The main feature of Popplet is the “popples” - boxes that can contain a variety of media (text, images, YouTube videos, or drawings) and which can be connected to form relationships between things and ideas. Popplet is an effective learning tool because it can facilitate a collaborative, iterative, and relational way of communicating information and may be used in almost any disciplinary context.
lesson plan overview
First, we created four different popplets, uploading images from four broad categories that we believed students would be able to further distill and create more specific subcategories for (e.g. fish (see above), birds, fruits and vegetables, and video game systems).We then divided students into four groups and gave each group an iPad loaded with a different category and explained to them that they would use Popplet to create a taxonomy for their given category.
Develop a set of skills that can be used for making observations, organizing data, analyzing for patterns, and making predictions.
Collaborate with others to classify textual and visual information into meaningful categories.
Justify the creation of meaningful categories through negotiation with others.
- Four iPads or four computers, each one loaded with a different Popplet.
- The Popplet app needs to be downloaded on the iPad. If using the iPad, we recommend purchasing the full version for $4.99.
- NOTE: We decided not to include any accompanying text with the images because we wanted students to use their intuition and generate their own labels; providing text would go against our pedagogy of allowing students to collaboratively create meaning, as they would use the text instead of each other to make their categories.
STEP 4. Divide students into small groups and tell them that one person in the group will control Popplet at a time.
STEP 5. Students then use Popplet to create their taxonomy. In our case, we found that students spent the first 10-15 minutes in a heated discussion over what characteristics of the images they thought were important. We felt that this “productive struggle” was a valuable learning experience as students had to make their case, critically listen to the argument of others, and attempt to come to an agreement.
STEP 6. The teacher goes to each group and asks them what strategy they are employing to categorize the information presented to them.
Below is a video of two groups’ articulation of their strategy. First is the group categorizing the Popplet on birds.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Speaking and Listening
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutionsto a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3-PS2-2. Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
MS-ETS-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.MS-ETS-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
MS-ETS-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
1. Creativity and Innovation
Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processesIdentify trends and forecast possibilities
2. Communication and Collaboration
Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and mediaDevelop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures
3. Research and Information Fluency
Plan strategies to guide inquiry
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a projectCollect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions