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PBL Camp: Grades 9-12 (Week 1)

Betty Ray Director of Programming and Innovation @Edutopia

How will you make the oil spill relevant to your students? This is our brainstorming thread. Any and all ideas and thoughts welcome!

Comments (93)

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Chemistry and Science Teacher in Bangkok

Create awareness of the issues around the spill

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My students and I are literally on the other side of the world from the spill. I am not aware of what the Thai newspapers are reporting about the spill, but the English language papers are not covering much. I suppose one way to start would be for the students to do an assignment on the issues using the web, But assigning this without first "selling" the project - building the students enthusiasm – would result in a half-hearted student attempts.

I think I would try to collect TV clips of the spill. As a science and chemistry teacher, I would be focusing on the environmental impact. I would try to get TV clips that show the birds, fish, and animals covered with oil and that show the beaches. I would consider using footage from the Exxon Valdez spill.

I would also consider as a project focus something along the lines of what would need to be prepared if this happened off the coast of Thailand or in one of the rivers. Since much of the economy of Thailand is based on the ocean (fishing, fish-farming, tourism), students could estimate the impact of a spill based on how other incidents affected the economy (the tsunami of 2004 or the recent “terrorism” by a group counter to the current government - that was interesting to live through, at least one student at my school lost his home and one can still see bullet holes in the upscale shopping malls).

In general, an oil spill project would be a tougher “sell” than some of my other projects, such as designing the best bubble-blowing solution (that was an easy sell!).

Special Ed Teacher for students with emotional and behavioral disorders

I'm approaching this from a

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I'm approaching this from a social studies perspective and would try to engage students by using as many human stories as possible. Video, like DJ suggests would be helpful along with photo sites The Big Picture (www.boston.com/bigpicture). I would also connect the spill damage to local bodies of water. What would it mean if an oil spill took place on Lake Ontario?

English, East-West Sch of Int'l Studies & Tech Liaison, NYC Writing Project

Questions

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I'm thinking that I want to start with questions. After collecting what we already know about the spill in a class, I want to find out what questions the students have. I'm not sure the oil spill will come up if I allow an open 10 Self / 10 World Questions (as described by James A. Beane in Curriculum Integration - http://books.google.com/books?id=ZnaBQgAACAAJ&dq=inauthor%3A%22James%20A... . Still I'm thinking to start in this open way, see it it comes up -- or better yet, make clear that I will be asking questions too, and I will ask questions about the Gulf. In short, I think we need to start with students' questions.

Importance of the Gulf

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Maybe start with having the kids research the importance of the Gulf...have them find out how important the gulf is to us...% of food that comes from the Gulf, # of jobs, amount of money brought in through tourism in the Gulf, etc...Then have them research previous oil spills and how much damage the oil can cause on those important resources they found in the first project. Once they have an understanding of both projects have them tie it together and create a short video that explains the impact of the spill.And then asks for some sort of action for the viewer. (not sure what that could be)...

health/physical education teacher from Newark, NJ

health/physical education instructor

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relate spill with health effects

10th grade biology teacher in Lima, OH

This question is doubly

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This question is doubly challenging for me because I'm looking at my first year with a group of students that I've never met and a new town I've never been!  I know NW Ohio has been a petroleum producer in the past, but I'm not sure if my kids will have connections to that particular industry.  We can always talk about it in terms of seafood and other products from the Gulf, visiting the beach or cities in the area.

English Teacher-Alternative Ed High School

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This summer I am designing the curriculum for a Senior Capstone class for our graduating seniors.  Fortunately, that will allow me to take this in any direction-not just from an ELA perspective.  Eric is right...I think we can catch their attention with the human stories, whether you are in Lousiana or Bangkok, I think kids can relate, perhaps to other kids and the things that affect them. 

High School Language Arts, Cincinnati

Food, Glorious Food!

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Food (and by default, body image) is a common denominator for teens. We spend time learning about how to read food labels, recipes, advertisements (from grocery store ads to fast food commercials on television), and articles on food safety, nutritional value of food, the benefits of buying organic or locally grown foods, etc.  For a project, I would start with the questions:How have man-made disasters (one in particular being the oil spill) affected our food supply? Does this change the need/desire to buy from local grocers/farmers/dairies? WHO are our local farmers? What is feasible to produce on your own, especially if you lack land for a farm?I would love to use cross-curricular ideas to research such natural disasters (Social Studies) and then design (Geometry) an organic garden (Biology and Health); first on paper, and then (in a perfect world) in a corner of our courtyard actually plant a garden or build a simple green house.   

High School Visual Communication and Design teacher

I'm working from an art

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I'm working from an art perspective.  Initially thinking my 10th - 12th grade students would create Public Service Posters to exhibit around Campus educating viewers on various aspects of the oil spill.  Posters (illustrations) could range from edgy image juxtapositions to typographical facts to...?  Another thought is that they could go on to curate a virtual exhibit of art in response to the oil spill.   My personal inspiration for this comes from some images I saw on the Huffington Post a few weeks ago.

K-12 Teacher-Librarian on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

Social Studies perspective

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I'm teaching a new class called Social Studies Through Technology, and using Moodle as the class platform. I am thinking of the cultural impacts the spill has had. Also, we live on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where ships pass through on their way to and from Seattle; our harbor is a refueling spot. How can we connect our body of water and potential problems/disasters to the Gulf of Mexico? Too many ideas are running through my head right now!

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