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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

PBL Camp: Grades 9-12 (Week 1)

PBL Camp: Grades 9-12 (Week 1)

Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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How will you make the oil spill relevant to your students? This is our brainstorming thread. Any and all ideas and thoughts welcome!

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Linda Hoffman's picture
Linda Hoffman
8th grade multimedia teach from San Antonio, TX

[quote]I've been thinking about how to invite my students into their own inquiries this fall connected to the BP oil spill in the Gulf. I've also been wondering about how to bring gaming into the curriculum. I'm slowly realizing that these two streams of planning could come together.Gaming is about empathy, system, making connections, solving problems, and these themes keep coming up as we imagine teaching about the Gulf oil failure this fall. Some of the systems involved are ecological, estuarine, food-chain, weather patterns, economic, engineering... My list is off the top of my head. A lot could be added to it, and that's the point!I don't know how to build a game that would put the players into different roles, situations, and systems, but isn't it all there to explore?The thing is, I'm also impatient. I don't think we can wait for this to be developed over the next six months, tested, and then released a year from now.How could we build a game that is, perhaps, like Evoke or another of Jane McGonigal's games?Or perhaps, it's about getting students to participate in the research necessary in building such a game? That could happen right away.[/quote]

You could use KODU, it is free, and games created can be played on XBox. One portion of the game could deal with getting the cap(s) on (which ones worked and didn't), successfully drilling releaf wells, getting skimmings in the right place to soak up oil, etc.

Genn Pinnick's picture
Genn Pinnick
BioScience Teacher

Jason,
thank you for the feedback. I'm trying. The idea of gaming, specifically the Jane McGonigal-inspired gaming, was a significant idea. I checked her out on Ted Talks http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/799. Wow!!! I had no idea about her work. My sweetheart did WOW for several years and now this makes more sense of what he tried to explain an what I observed. I used to play D&D back in the day so I appreciated WOW, but with the explanation Jane McGonigal gives in her Ted Talk , I get it more deeply.

So how do you propose we develop a game around the gulf oil spill? The game, "World Without Oil" really presents some good ideas.

Jacki Scholle's picture
Jacki Scholle
High School Special Education Teacher from Fairbanks, Alaska

IT is important for the students I teach to understand the impact that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has had on the environment. We can connect the impact to what happened in Prince William Sound in 1989. It is still possible to find oil under rocks and deep in the sand on the beaches. Wildlife populations are still less than what they were before the spill. The impact on fishing and therefore the economies of the small towns (Valdez, Cordova) in the area is still felt. The spill changed and even ruined people's livelihoods and lifestyles. The Gulf oil spill is worse: more oil was spewed out, and its distribution was more widespread. We will see environmental, economic, and personal effects from this spill for many years to come. It is important that the students, who will be adult citizens soon, to be aware of, and proactive about, how great the impact of unnatural and avoidable disasters can be on our planet.

With that said, I would start by questioning the students about what they already know about both oil spills, develop a list of areas they have questions about, and start planning how they will proceed with their investigations to answer the questions they have. (KWL format possibly.)

Genn Pinnick's picture
Genn Pinnick
BioScience Teacher

Jackie,

I agree that the Exxon Valdez remains a benchmark of what can happen to an environment from an oil spill. It is he most logical and impactful starting point, especially with the use of videos, Google Earth, and environmental agencies' online documentation.

I like your ideas and the methodical approach you are laying out. Excellent.Starting by questioning students about what they already know makes sense to me and lays out a project map. Leaving open-ended areas that can be explored and added onto as student awareness increases would be important. I can see having a regular inquiry day, say every week or two, and encouraging students to re-explain/explore what they know about the spill.

Genn Pinnick's picture
Genn Pinnick
BioScience Teacher

Hi Jason, Paul, Linda, Jacki and all y'all.

You ideas are very interesting and I feel strongly along the same direction that each of you has suggested. I am especially drawn to the idea that our students should be the ones to design the game. I was thinking of revealing our purpose in stages, with first starting with what our students know. Then later on presenting to them the TED Talk from Jane McGonigal, and to challenge them to change the world through game. I also was thinking that it would be important for them to have real-world input, so each team having at least one scientist they correspond with, who specializes in the area they are investigating, would be good a criteria of outside oversight, such as occurs in well run agencies. I'm starting a mapping organizer that has extreme flexibility and collaboration capability. It is opens source and open collaboration. This is an invitation to those who have an interest to start to collaborate in organizing idea along these lines. I hope I am not jumping the gun, I just know that I can get a cross-eyed unless I set the ideas down, move them around, receive input and feedback. If I am creating a problem, it is unintentional and I will abandon this line of action if a problem arises from it. Otherwise, if you like this, please go to:

http://think.ajsands.com/#thought/agl0aGluay1hcHByDwsSB1Rob3VnaHQYodcKDA

FYI: My user name there is Genovefa, which is my real name. Genn was already taken. You will see this and I didn't want ti to throw you off. You're at the right place.

I would love to invite all of our team there if their conception has a similar fit.

Talk to you guys tomorrow.

Genn

Mike Reilly's picture

I really like Genn's point about the student's designing the game, it may be completely different than anything teacher's conceive. I think Jane's stuff is great, but it did take her team a couple of years to make it.

I have posted in the Collaborator's thread, and I think I'm going to start a "Water Wars" theme. While this could become a game (I actually teach Game Development), I think I'm going with more of a local, authentic water plan concept, and maybe a regional water debate/forum/resolution. Imagine if kids could solve our local water crisis. I'll be following you!

Jason's picture
Jason
9-12 At-Risk Social Studies Teacher

[quote]I really like Genn's point about the student's designing the game, it may be completely different than anything teacher's conceive. I think Jane's stuff is great, but it did take her team a couple of years to make it.

I have posted in the Collaborator's thread, and I think I'm going to start a "Water Wars" theme. While this could become a game (I actually teach Game Development), I think I'm going with more of a local, authentic water plan concept, and maybe a regional water debate/forum/resolution. Imagine if kids could solve our local water crisis. I'll be following you![/quote]

The water debate will definitely be perplexing. How do we allocate and distribute the most essential resource in the world?

For staff in the Gulf Region, this debate takes on a special meaning. How do the states around the Gulf ensure the safety and sustainability of the coastal regions? How do they protect their inland rivers from contamination. Excellent insight.

Mike Reilly's picture

[quote][quote]I really like Genn's point about the student's designing the game, it may be completely different than anything teacher's conceive. I think Jane's stuff is great, but it did take her team a couple of years to make it. I have posted in the Collaborator's thread, and I think I'm going to start a "Water Wars" theme. While this could become a game (I actually teach Game Development), I think I'm going with more of a local, authentic water plan concept, and maybe a regional water debate/forum/resolution. Imagine if kids could solve our local water crisis. I'll be following you![/quote]The water debate will definitely be perplexing. How do we allocate and distribute the most essential resource in the world?

For staff in the Gulf Region, this debate takes on a special meaning. How do the states around the Gulf ensure the safety and sustainability of the coastal regions? How do they protect their inland rivers from contamination. Excellent insight.[/quote]

It could be interesting vertically and horizontally. K-3 could look at how to save water, non-scary stuff, but our 9-12 could look at legal issues, theoretical math of water issues. Just do a Google Search for "water wars", and it's a huge issue. Tying it to reading/writing, I was thinking about Grapes of Wrath, but I also think students writing a Dan Brown -like story or series of stories tying facts into a fictional story could be cool.

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

I'm thinking that I would like to take a trip out to Fire Island with my students in September. They should see what the natural features and ecosystems are really about, and how we depend on these areas for our survival. I want them to learn about beaches, coasts/shorelines, sand dunes, wetlands, marshes and swamps. All of this as part of our study of the Gulf oil spill.

"Beaches / Coasts / Shorelines Sand Dunes
Wetlands, Marshes and Swamps" Fire Island National Seashore - Natural Features & Ecosystems (U.S. National Park Service)

Genn Pinnick's picture
Genn Pinnick
BioScience Teacher

[quote]I really like Genn's point about the student's designing the game, it may be completely different than anything teacher's conceive. I think Jane's stuff is great, but it did take her team a couple of years to make it.

I have posted in the Collaborator's thread, and I think I'm going to start a "Water Wars" theme. While this could become a game (I actually teach Game Development), I think I'm going with more of a local, authentic water plan concept, and maybe a regional water debate/forum/resolution. Imagine if kids could solve our local water crisis. I'll be following you![/quote]

Hi Mike

Thanks for the kudos. Actually, Jason came up with the idea that students create their own design.I just endorsed it and am going to pursue for projects for my classroom...when I finally get one; no job right now. For the West Coast of the US, actually anywhere now, water is the currency of economics. So, you're onto a hot topic. It's very interesting that you area a game designer. With this background, how would you start, regardless of the topic, in designing a game?

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