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Instruction Manual for the GH Monoscope

School: Alice B. Beal Elementary

City/State: Springfield, MA

Grade(s): 4

Format(s): Instructional manual

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This instruction manual for a GH Monoscope was created by 4th grade students at the Alice B. Beal School in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the spring of 2006. Students created this manual as a way to introduce other students in the school to this new piece of equipment. The school had acquired a set of monoscopes (low-power microscopes) that could be brought into a classroom for science work. Although the equipment did come with instructions, the text was not written in student-friendly language.

Students wrote descriptions and created drawings to depict proper use of the monoscopes. To produce the manual, students learned how to use the equipment adeptly, which they did through instruction, reading, and repeated use.

The writing shows in-depth understanding of how the equipment works and uses student-friendly language to explain the technical aspects of the monoscope.

It is a good example of using students to created much-needed technical manuals to school equipment, in plain language, for school use.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Demonstrates a project format that can easily be used throughout a school with many other types of equipment, and would serve a genuine purpose in every school: every school has scientific and technology equipment, as well as office machines, that lack instruction manuals easily understood by children or adults
  • Nicely shows how an academic product can also be of service to a community
  • An example of students writing for an authentic audience and for a real purpose
  • An excellent example of the real-world skill of procedural and descriptive writing
  • Exemplifies meeting a state framework through the fulfillment of an authentic need
  • Technical drawings are of high quality – notice the details shown on page 4
  • Format shows a high level of understanding while retaining 4th grade qualities (see comment on page one about kneeling on your chair)

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can explain the main points in a historical, scientific, or technical text, using specific details in the text.
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and information clearly.
  • I use formal English when appropriate.
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