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Activities, discussion guides, tip sheets, assessments — these downloads can help you and your students make the most of Explore More. This section contains materials you can download and use in your classroom. Some of these are .html files and others are .pdf files.

A Note on Portable Document Format (PDF) Files
The .pdf files require Adobe Acrobat Reader. (Download a free copy of Acrobat Reader.) We have tried to minimize the size of the files, but .pdf files can take a few moments to download.

Explore More Guides to Critical Thinking

Video Resources

DVD Resources

Web Site Resources

Iowa Communications Network (ICN) Information

Student Projects

Explore More Web Site Lexile Measures


Explore More Guides to Critical Thinking
These Tip Sheets help students visualize their thinking and learning processes. Whether it’s investigating issues, making decisions, viewing media, or presenting an argument, students get bogged down with details and need help sorting out the process. The Tip Sheets should help them "see" their thinking and work through the steps of putting their thoughts together.

Reading Online

These tips for students help them prepare using basic "getting-ready-to-learn" strategies such as identifying their purpose for reading and previewing the Web site for key organizational features. The rest of the process is marked by examination, summarization, critical review, and usage of their new learning.

Viewing Media

These tips help students become savvy media consumers. The three stages of preparing, viewing, and reflecting prompt students to be purposeful, observant, active, and critical while using media.

Investigating an Issue

Help students investigate issues by discovering and defining the issue, writing an issue statement for investigation, delving deep into the issue and its related problems, and responding to the issue.

Making a Decision

These tips help students identify situations requiring a decision, examine previous related decisions, evaluate information and possible alternatives, consider motivations for alternatives, and make an informed decisions based on their experiences with the content.

Experimenting and Inquiring

Students interpret findings, reformulate new hypotheses, and present alternative explanations and conclusions.

Comparing and Contrasting

Students use mental processes that sort relevant and important relationships and qualitative and quantitative data.

Presenting an Argument

Students evaluate arguments, question claims, identify logical structures, and analyze the validity of arguments. Students will build a logical and reasonable case, construct logical and reasonable arguments, and then analyze those arguments and evidence for validity.

Solving a Problem

These tips take students through basic trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques such as alternative courses of action, prediction of likely consequences, selection of the most appropriate strategy, examination of complex real-world situations, and evaluating and recommending the feasibility of various solutions.

Video Resources
The Explore More feature videos give the big picture, increase awareness, and facilitate discussion with thought-provoking issues and expert interviews. Each 30-minute video introduces compelling issues, surveys stakeholders and experts in the field, and presents thoughtful questions to challenge students.

Video Discussion Guides

Genetic Engineering

The Future of Energy

Water Quality

Working Landscapes

Each of the Explore More videos has a companion viewing guide with pre-viewing and post-viewing questions, timecodes for easy accessibility, and key vocabulary words. These guides include pre-viewing and post-viewing discussion questions and related terms for both the Feature Video and the Viewpoint Extras.

Video Scripts

Genetic Engineering

The Future of Energy

Water Quality

Working Landscapes

Video scripts help students examine and evaluate perspectives and arguments. Download the video scripts for each of the four videos for the main feature (the first half hour). The Viewpoint Extras–the last fifteen minutes–aren't included.

Video Cover

Genetic Engineering

The Future of Energy

Water Quality

Working Landscapes

Lost your VHS cover for your Explore More video? Download a duplicate here. Each video jacket includes a program summary and a breakdown of timecodes and section titles for the Feature Video and the Viewpoint Extras.

DVD Resources
Critical thinking skills are at their best as students tackle the tough issues featured on the Explore More DVDs. Students explore and investigate timely issues with a DVDquest—a problem-based learning challenge. Students interact with the content, with experts, and with each other as they consider thought-provoking questions, explore compelling issues, review expert interviews, and solve complex problems.

Genetic Engineering DVDquest

Students are lobbyists representing citizens who want the government to create laws about genetic engineering and make recommendations for legislators to develop into policy.

The Future of Energy DVDquest

Appointed by the governor to head up an energy task force to advise the leadership of your state, your students research current and future energy issues and to create a plan to use the best combination of available energy resources.

Water Quality DVDquest

As concerned citizens living in an agricultural town along a mid-sized river used for recreational purposes, students create a community-wide plan for the city that would address stakeholders’ needs while solving water quality problems.

Working Landscapes DVDquest

Students inherit land in the heart of the Loess Hills of western Iowa and plan a healthy working that successfully balances social, ecological, and economic needs.

Web Site Resources
Explore More Mini WebQuests

Mini WebQuests are short Web-based activities used to acquaint students with the Explore More Web sites. These Mini WebQuests are much like scavenger hunts and prepare students to take on the other, larger WebQuests with greater confidence. Students must explore many different parts of the site to find the answers.

Explore More: Genetic Engineering Mini WebQuest

Students explore the uses, methods, and future possibilities of genetic engineering.

Explore More: The Future of Energy Mini WebQuest

Students explore various types of fuels, sources of energy, electricity generation, availability of energy, infrastructure, emissions, conservation, and more.

Explore More: Water Quality Mini WebQuest

Students explore water uses and pollutants, water treatment, hydrologic modification, and the hydrologic cycle.

Explore More: Working Landscapes Mini WebQuest

Students explore the basic components of a working landscape, economic development, urban sprawl, and the characteristics of the Loess Hills.

Explore More News WebQuests
Using the Explore More News WebQuests, students will narrow their focus and investigate a compelling issue of their choice. Calling upon stakeholders in engineering, research, natural resources, and policies, students survey the experts for informed opinions as they support their research and write their own investigative news articles of the issues of their time. By completing these WebQuests, students will create a feature article or a full news edition that determines the right energy mix for our future.

Explore More News (Short Term)

This short problem-solving exercise familiarizes students with the background and issues of the Explore More topics. Students play the role of a newspaper reporter for the Explore More News. They research an issue that interests them and write one of the following articles:

A general news article

A human interest article

An issue article

This WebQuest works for any of the four Explore More topics (Genetic Engineering, The Future of Energy, Working Landscapes, Water Quality). Plan on at least two class periods to complete this quest.

Explore More News WebQuest Assessment Rubric (Short Term)

This rubric for the short term WebQuest helps students get organized and record their progress. It includes a checklist to record progress and a rubric to evaluate work. Students will learn about an issue related to one of the Explore More Web sites and create one Explore More News newspaper article.

Explore More News WebQuest (Long Term)

This problem-solving exercise immerses students in the facts, issues, viewpoints, and opinions of the Explore More topics. Students play the role of newspaper reporter for the Explore More News. They research an issue that interests them and write five articles:

A general news article

A human interest article

An issue article

An editorial

A letter to the editor

This WebQuest works for any of the four Explore More topics (Genetic Engineering, The Future of Energy, Working Landscapes, Water Quality). Plan on at least four class periods to complete this quest.

Explore More News WebQuest Assessment Rubric (Long Term)

This rubric for the long term WebQuest helps students get organized and record their progress. It includes a checklist to record progress and a rubric to evaluate their work. Students will learn about an issue related to one of the Explore More Web sites and create an Explore More News newspaper section that contains five types of newspaper articles.

Iowa Communications Network (ICN) Information
If you are an Iowa educator, you probably have access to an Iowa Communications Network (ICN) video classroom. Even if it’s not your first time in an ICN classroom, these documents will help you feel comfortable with the controls. These "tricks of the trade" will help make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your students. The ICN classroom can be an excellent tool for presenting student projects.

Tips for Using the ICN

These "tricks of the trade" will help make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your students.

ICN Basics Handbook

This is a handbook of classroom basics of standard and optional equipment, how the equipment works (including the touchscreen, monitors, cameras, microphones, and fiber phone), copyright issues, and scheduling an ICN classroom.

Student Projects
Motivation, relevance and context, higher-order thinking, learning how to learn, and authenticity all describe problem-based learning. As students are faced with a problem to solve, they may also be faced with the challenge of how to communicate their answers in a coherent, effective presentation. These resources are specifically developed for student presentations.

Ten Preparation Steps for a Successful Group Presentation

This step-by-step guide helps students create engaging group presentations. The guide takes your students through the research, writing, production, presentation, and self-assessment process. The ten steps take students through the planning, writing, rehearsing, and presenting stages to help them be well prepared, know what they will say, and deliver their message in the most effective way possible

Student Production Assessment Framework

Used in tandem with the Ten Preparation Steps for a Successful Group Presentation, this framework gives students a clear idea of what is expected of them and how to assess their own skill level. The framework explains what is expected, what needs to be done to satisfy the expectations, and what are suggestions for improvement could satisfy the expectations. The skills evaluated within this framework are delivery, presentation aids, content, and sources.


Explore More Web Site Lexile Measures

Genetic Engineering

The Future of Energy

Water Quality

Working Landscapes

The Lexile Framework for Reading® is a tool that makes it possible to place readers and text on the same scale. The Lexile Framework gives teachers a "map" of reading materials that are well suited to their students at specific skill levels. These handouts list the Lexile measures for each main article on the Explore More Web sites.