PowerPoint is a software package used to create digital presentations. Middle school students can use PowerPoint in almost any discipline to present information creatively and electronically. PowerPoint projects in middle school should be clearly outlined for students. Teachers should provide specific goals and instructions for how slides should be laid out, what information should be covered and which PowerPoint features should be used. Using PowerPoint with your middle school students will help them gain technology skills they may need in the future.
Assign your students a country presentation project. Allow them to choose a country to study, and explain that they will each create a digital presentation to show the class. Create a project guide and list which PowerPoint features must be included. For example, require that one slide be about geography, one about food and language(s) and one about customs and traditions. Require that the presentation contain a certain number of slides. List several other features the students must try. For instance, tell them to research images of the country online and save the images to their desktops. Using the PowerPoint "Insert" button, click "Picture" and then "From File." Select preferred images previously saved and drop them into various slides to enhance the presentation.
Teaching and Solving Word Problems
Provide each of your middle school students with a multistep math word problem to present to the class. Tell them to create a PowerPoint presentation that is clearly organized using the Format Slide Layout feature. This feature will provide various ways to present the problem visually through charts, tables, text and pictures. Students can also use the Insert Tables Chart or Table features as well. They will learn the best way to break down information and how to organize a solution into steps for teaching. They will lead the class through the problem using the presentation and invite peers to participate. Tell them to try out the PowerPoint Slide Show Custom Animation tool, which will allow them to add new information in a visually artistic, systematic and step-by-step manner through actions like fading in, flying in or flashing on the screen.
Sharing Book Reports
Most middle school students are required to study a particular book or author at some point in an English class. Instead of having students write papers, assign them PowerPoint presentations. The presentation should include the title, author, publication information and possibly an image on the opening slide. The rest of the slides can discuss characters, plot, setting or other features of the book. If students are in various reading groups, each group could create a presentation on a different book. If they have use of built-in microphones, they can try out Slide Show Record Narration feature, which would allow them to record quotes from the book that may be more appealing to hear aloud than to read in text.
Learning About Animals
Students can use PowerPoint to teach the class about particular animals in science class. Study animals, their habitats and life cycles and then invite students to choose a preferred animal to present. This type of presentation should include many graphics and photographs. Students should conduct research in the library about the animal's appearance, behaviors, adaptations, diet and population numbers. They should use the Format Slide Design tool to create an interesting background for the presentation, inserting photographs and text boxes on each slide that help explain the material they are presenting.
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