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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)

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

[quote]My project this school year is for students to eat someplace other than the carryout. We will be teaming up with a elementary school that has already planted a garden. I want my students to understand, the impact of the oil spill on the environment, and eco-system, but why it is important to have a plant-based diet .[/quote]

My thoughts resonate with yours, marydent. I also feel like the curriculum I teach around the Gulf Failure should lead to deep changes in the ways students think about eating, growing food, riding bikes to school, and planning careers that address the environment. No matter what their major in college, environmental studies should be all students' minors.

Jane Krauss's picture
Jane Krauss
Teacher, curriculum and program developer, author, PBL facilitator, techie

[Sorry guys, Firefox doesn't support the quote function] In the middle school forum I suggested measuring our "fuel footprint." Here 'tis:

Riffing off Melinda's idea of "Whose Mess Is It?" I wonder if middle schoolers might track their fuel consumption for one week and draw conclusions about their role as consumers. They could track: Miles ridden in a car and associated fuel consumption, number of plastic bottles (and other petroleum-derived products) purchased, "fuel miles" their foods travel to get to them (Mexican tomatoes in winter for instance), and "fuel load," esp. comparing meat and plant-based proteins.

Karimah Grayson's picture

Because my students are in Broward County, which is on the Atlantic Ocean Coast of Florida, I will utilize Geography of the state as well as different weather and climate issues that may directly affect us. If the patterns change and the spill goes from the Gulf Coast, passing the Florida Keys and can end up on the beaches of Broward County. Additionally, introducing the five themes of Geography will allow the students to understand how changes in the environment are affected both by environment and human interaction.

Kathe Blue Hetter's picture
Kathe Blue Hetter
Science Curriculum Lead Teacher - Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michiga

I am teaching a Sustainable/Green Chemistry course and would like to make this into a project based on the question "How can the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry help prevent future disasters from occurring like in the Gulf?" Students would review the 12 principles then research current technology for collecting oil, what alternatives are out there, if oil leaks happen what methods of environmental chemistry can be used to clean up the mess. How can it be prevented in the future? I would want my students to get into basic organic chemistry, combustion, energy and what different methods are out there for other alternatives for energy consumption. When applying the 12 principles of Green chemistry if the technology is more costly and not as efficient then it most likely will not be used.

Tara Michels's picture

I think the spill would have many different connections to math.  We could examine the amount that is being spilled each day and examine possible solutions.  We could use systems of equations to examine those solutions.  We could also use math to examine the effect the on animals and the environment.

Ellen Feig's picture

Although I teach at a community college, I will join this thread since many of my students are at 11th to 12th grade level. I actually showed the students some video from CNN this week and then discussed the fact that our campus is near the Meadowlands in New Jersey; we went on to look at literature that is relevant including some recent environmental literature. I would also love to include the biology and environmental professors in the discussion.

Rita Chuhran's picture

Interesting ideas so far! As a government teacher I am thinking of using the gulf spill to illustrate some of the ideas of federalism, particularly as it relates to the drilling moratorium. There is definitely a difference of opinion between the country as a whole and gulf coast states as it relates to the moratorium. I have never been able to engage my students on the topic, but I am hoping that perhaps this will do it!

James Spagnoletti's picture

I am a history teacher.  For this project I am interested in the history of the environmental movement in this country.  I would like to link the outrage and public protests over the spill to the history of the burgeoning environmentalism of the 1960s. 

Michelle Sumner's picture

I am new to my district this year, so sort of in the same place as Jennifer above. I have no idea who my students are or their levels. In a Special Ed class this can be very challenging. I am teaching all subject matters, so I am looking forward to integrating some content across areas. In all honest, my main target of PBL Camp is to learn the process of PBL, the final project is just the icing on the cake. With my students my main focus this year is building community and accountability (to be active citizens not just bystanders, disability and all). With this thought in mind, I am attempting to make connections with lifeskills.

Michelle Sumner's picture

[quote]Eric Anderson - Thanks for the link to Boston Globe's The Big Picture website.  Amazing photos 2 mths after the spill. A must see for students and adults............Paul Allison - If possible, please explain more about the 10 Self/10 World questions.[/quote]

Curious did you add the bookmark to tag pbl_camp?

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