Carnegie Mellon University

What is a Brownfield? KWL Objective and Procedures


The student will be able to explain what they “Know” about brownfields; what they “Want to Know” about brownfields; and, following the activities and discussions, review and list what they have “Learned” about brownfields.


This KWL lesson is meant to allow the student to reflect on their own knowledge and to connect ideas. This metacognitive activity will allow each student to clearly see the relationships between what they already know and the new concepts that they acquire through a series of activities.

Teachers should use the information provided by the students to identify misconceptions or incomplete knowledge that the students have about brownfields. They can also adjust the level of the information that is provided to meet the needs of the students; i.e. if the students have an accurate basic understanding of the topic, then they can build from there. If they have no prior knowledge then they can begin with the fundamental introductory information.


The Know and Want to know sections of the activity are completed as an introduction to the brownfields lessons. After the completion of the brownfields introduction lessons students will reflect on and list new knowledge that they have Learned.

The student page [.pdf] should be distributed and completed individually by each student. While the page requests that students use complete sentences for their work, they should be encouraged to think and make some notes before beginning to write on the page. If they have no prior knowledge of the topic of brownfields, on the “Know” section they should define it using their “best guess.” The “Want to Know” section should include appropriate questions that will help them come to a more complete understanding of the topic.

After each child has completed the K and W sections of the chart, students can work in small groups to share what they have written. Following this exercise the teacher may want to create a class chart that summarizes what is known and what students would like to study. Papers should be collected by the teacher, and re-distributed at the conclusion of the brownfields activities, when students will review their notes and reflect on what they have learned before completing section 3.

Using the General Rubric that is provided in the general information section to score the work. Teachers may want to have students exchange papers and review them using the rubric that is provided. Using colored pencils, students can make notes about statements that they feel are incorrect and sign the page at the bottom. The teacher will check the pages to determine the final score for the paper. By allowing students to review another student’s work, the teacher has an extra measure of their understanding of the concepts; that which they have written on their own paper, and the notes that they have written on the paper that they reviewed.

In order to receive a rubric score of a 4 the student must have completed most of the given space for each response, and the Learned section must contain accurate information about the topic. In order to receive a rubric score of a 5 the student must complete all of the given space for a 4 and also have given answers in the space given for a 5. Teachers may adjust the scoring to include a specific number of facts, etc.