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PBL Camp: Grades 6-8 (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 for the middle school community. Any and all ideas and thoughts welcome!

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Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher from Tazewell, TN

Seeking Math Content

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I've big ideas how to use this PBL for my Math class.  However, I need some help finding specific Math content.  The idea that was given during the Webinar for helping students realize millions, billions, etc. was an excellent idea.  Any other ideas of how to make the topic specifically address Math?

Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher from Tazewell, TN

How will you make the oil spill relevant to your students?

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Living in an isolated and high-poverty area of East Tennessee is a factor preventing most of my students from ever visiting the coast.  This PBL will make the oil spill seem real.  Working toward a solution will hopefully plant the seeds of future Mathematicians to solve/prevent future oil spills.

6th Grade Social Studies and Language Arts TX

Using some of BP's cost

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Using some of BP's cost figures, you could have your students figure out how much is being spent in terms of something they can realte to i.e. video games, school lunches. Ex: If British Petroleum has spent 3.5 billion dollars for cleanup efforts so far, how many video games could they have purchased for that amount?  Have students find out how many gallons in a barrel. Then take it further with gallons in the Gulf, how many barrels would that be, etc...

Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher from Tazewell, TN

That is an awesome idea!  At

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That is an awesome idea!  At some point in the project, I want them to write their own word problems based on their research and/or my presentations...questions such as your suggestion will be perfect examples.  Thank you!

K-8 Computer Teacher from Southern California

Math Content Ideas

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In the 1st Oil Spill webcast from Teachers Teaching Teachers there is some discussion of math & the oil spill at about 20:50. Maybe do something with cleanup efforts and how long they would predict it would take based on estimates of how much can be cleaned up with existing equipment? Do some graphing of how much oil by day?

Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher from Tazewell, TN

Graphing is a great idea!  As

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Graphing is a great idea!  As a technology teacher, Vicky, is there a computer program that would interest the students (for graphing)?  I would love a good online (and free) program.  We have a Math lab at my school.

K-8 Computer Teacher from Southern California

Making it relevant to my students

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In some ways, I think I have it easier than other teachers in making this issue relevant. We're not in the south or on the gulf but my school is in Southern California and our students spend a lot of time at the beach.I envison starting off with questions on how many of my students spent time at the beach during the summer and I would guess it will be 100%. I would then show pictures of closed beaches in the gulf and hopefully a podcast or blog post or video from a student near their age and their thoughts on the closed beaches. Then, I would want my students to react to how it would make them feel if their beaches were closed due to an oil spill. Historically this did happen to some Southern California beaches in 1969 and we do sometimes have beach closures due to other pollutants. An oil spill is also a future possibility again if off-shore drilling is allowed to resume off our coast which is a current issue. A good question for them to answer might be What can you do to prevent this type of disaster from happening here?

K-8 Computer Teacher from Southern California

Graphing Programs

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Google Spreadsheets would be great because they could collaborate on a graph together or you could use Google Forms to ask for data that would then build the graph. You need google accounts (at least one for you) or Google Apps for Education for this.Or Create A Graph - no accounts needed on this one. I typically use Excel or Google Spreadsheets with my Middle School students.

Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher from Tazewell, TN

Who's Mess Is It?

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I love the question posed during the webinar.  The question made me think.  I will definitely use this question to kick off my project.

Teacher, curriculum and program developer, author, PBL facilitator, techie

Fuel Footprint

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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 some conclusions about consumer demand and 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).

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