Four Corners UFO Study
This lesson was developed as part of Montezuma County Adult Education Project-Based Learning Series, federally funded through Integrated Learning and Star Schools grants (www.integratelearning.org, www.starschools.gov).
The purpose of this study is to
provide students enrolled in Adult Education and GED programs an
alternative to standard workbook learning and rote/recall lessons, while
gaining academic skills that result in a meaningful, tangible outcome.
This lesson offers students the opportunity to research the
controversial subject of UFO’s in their own “neighborhood”,
critically assess a variety of evidence and reporting styles, use
creativity in composing a non-verbal message, and create a local UFO
oral history on video.
TO TOP ^
We have designed these activities
for the older or adult learner with basic to advanced reading skills.
Reading levels include basic (third to fifth grade) and more
advanced (high school) to develop reading ability, critical thinking
skills, and correct writing.
The main focus of the lesson is basic language arts, including more advanced critical thinking and expression. Computer technology, math, and videography are involved to a lesser extent.
In order to perform most of the activities, students need to have basic knowledge to:
Navigate web sites
Read and write at a third grade level or above
Perform basic arithmetic (learn to multiply fractions,
percentages, and whole integers)
Use basic computer graphics, visuals, or sound programs
Use a video camera
The following standards are taken
from Colorado State Department of Education and Adult Basic Education
Skills Assessment Standards.
Reading and Writing
read and understand a variety of materials.
read, select, and make use of relevant information from a variety of
media, reference, and technological sources.
write and speak using conventional grammar, usage, sentence structure,
punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
apply thinking skills to their reading, writing, speaking, listening,
understand the processes of scientific investigation and design,
conduct, communicate about, and evaluate such investigations.
Life science: Students know and understand the characteristics
and structure of living things, the processes of their life, and how
living things interact with each other and their environment.
know and understand interrelationships among science, technology, and
human activity and how they affect the world.
6. Students understand that science involves a particular way of knowing and understand common connections among scientific disciplines.
Mathematics GO TO TOP ^
use data collection and analysis, statistics, and probability in
problem-solving situations and
communicate the reasoning
used in solving these problems.
use a variety of tools and techniques to measure, apply the results in
problem-solving situations, and communicate the reasoning used in
solving these problems.
recognize and use visual arts as a form of communication.
know and apply visual arts materials, tools, techniques, and processes.
Adult Basic Education Skill Assessment Checklist
– Recognize and use the following parts of speech: nouns, pronouns,
conjunctions, adjectives and verbs.
– Interpret and follow basic signs and directories
– Write basic notes
1M10 – Interpret
basic charts (compare and contrast)
– Add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers
– Write a solution to a functional problem (follow a sequence,
2M13 - Interpret tables and charts
2M1 – Add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and decimals
2M2 – Determine Equivalent fractions, decimals, and percents
2M20 – Demonstrate ability to use a four-function calculator to do
basic functions and calculate decimals and percents
2M2 – Determine equivalent fractions, decimals, and percents
2R14 – Read a passage or
sample realia to determine fact and opinion
– Read a passage or sample realia and find the main idea and details
– Read a passage or sample of realia and summarize
– Recognize and use Standard English parts of a sentence: nouns,
pronouns, verbs, conjunctions, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions,
comparatives, superlatives, direct and indirect objects.
– Use appropriate punctuation and capitalization
– Write basic directions for a process or a task (sequence
– Describe a problem-solving strategy for a given situation
researching UFO sighting articles from their local area, selecting
statements and discussing the presence or absence of evidence and proof,
students will develop abilities in analytical reading, comprehension,
and expressing the fact and opinion writing style.
Students also apply technology in the creative production of a
non-English extraterrestrial message.
Creative problem-solving and teamwork is gained while developing
an oral history video as a group. Students
also understand the meaning of an equation and its contributing
TO TOP ^
(UFO Detective Activities)
lesson is divided into four activities. Each one could expand upon the
previous activity or stand alone. Each single activity could probably be
accomplished within one or two class periods.
If all activities are done, the project could take up to five or
more class periods (depending on the development of the oral history
Activity One - Background
Reading: Students read a
selection of accounts of local UFO sightings, selecting statements from
each account that depicts the validity of the event, and write an
opinion explaining why that statement is evidence for or against the
Activity Two - Phone from Home:
Students decide on an
overall meaning for a message they would like to convey to
are then produced using any graphic, sound or codes appropriate and
available on their computers, but not the English language.
Activity Three – Could This Be?: Students perform a simple mathematical exercise called the Drake Equation to assess the possibility of life in other galaxies. Students learn to multiply fractions, decimals, percents, and whole numbers to assess probability.
Activity Four – You Saw What???
This portion of the lesson
is optional, depending on the time and resources of the group.
may take the knowledge they have gained and use it to develop a brief
oral history video of local sightings.
Students and teachers put out the word that they are looking for
personal accounts to record. Resources
can include local veterinarians (animal mutilations), internet databases
(sightings), and personal accounts.
A public service announcement can also be used on local TV or
the information recorded, students replay and edit the video using
computer programs, adding music and special effects.
The finished product can be shown at a local library, museum, or
Group or Individual?:
This lesson involves of the use of both group and individual work.
Reading and writing assignments are to be done on an individual
messages may be done individually or as a group, depending on the
dynamics of the group.
make a successful video, the teacher may review the steps of video
production with the students first.
The group may outline jobs for each student to do (videographer,
interviewer, recorder, editor, public information person), and then
guide the students through their jobs to final production.
Teaching students non-English ways of expressing a major theme or meaning may be a challenge. If all students doing different projects is daunting, you may decide to choose one type of computer program to use, (have everyone make a sound message, or a digital photo or computer drawing)
Describe what's needed to implement this lesson. Some of the possibilities:
Computers with internet capability, word processing, graphics, and creative programs
Video camera (optional…if video is incorporated into the lesson)
Video editing program with music or special effects programs
One teacher can implement this project; additional help can be used during video development if desired. Field trips are optional, and may be taken to the site of the UFO events.
TO TOP ^Evaluation
Refer to the rubric at the end of the student lesson. You may want to modify the criteria to your classroom type or specific needs.
Almost everyone is curious about UFO’s, especially in their own region. Even most skeptics will turn an interested ear to the story. The abundance of UFO information and databases on the internet gives an ample amount of information for student discussion and exploration. While we may not come to definite conclusions as to the existence of aliens and UFO’s visiting us as an outcome of this lesson, our students will have the opportunity to develop academic skills and creativity while they explore this “infinite” subject!
TO TOP ^
Donna Chadwick, Aztec Public Library, Aztec, New Mexico
National UFO Reporting Center (www.nuforc.org)
www.discoveryschool.com (SETI references and Drake Equation)