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PBL Camp: Grades 6-8 (Week 1)

PBL Camp: Grades 6-8 (Week 1)

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

Having a physical realization also makes a big impression. Many kindergarten classes do a "100" activity for learning to count to 100 and collect 100 things. Your students could do the same maybe as an extention of the project. For example collect gallon milk cartons to represent the gallons per day, which would have a physical impact - have the students label each carton with 1 million, take a picture of the milk cartons and make copies for each day of the spill. Put these up in the hall to students can see how much oil has been spilt.

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

I will have my broadcast students ponder whether objective reporting exist. Objective reporting use to be the backbone of journalism, but due to the competition for viewers news organizations are labeled in based on the political leanings of their audience. And in order to keep that audience an organization will do what it needs to. Ratings equal money. Therefore, my students will explore initiating change, point of view, and broadcast decision making. In the end they will create a news story of their own for broadcast on our campus station.

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

Re: the quote: I will have my broadcast students ponder whether objective reporting

I think I'd frame it differently. I'd guide students to develop and justify an operational definition of objectivity then sample many news reports and rate their objectivity.

Peter Farran's picture
Peter Farran
Middle School Technology Coordinator Marymount International School Paris

I too was inspired by the question Who's Mess? and really liked Jane's idea of creating fuel or oil footprints for individuals and even communities. It would be interesting to survey student answers to this question before and after the project as a way of demonstrating learning. Another question could be; How can we avoid incidents like these? As a Technologist I'm very interested in students ideas for making these incidents a thing of the past.

Jen's picture
7th grade teacher

I was thinking of having my 7th graders do a letter writing campaign after researching the topic. They could write to elected officials with their viewpoints, to BP with their concerns, or simply write letters to the editor informing others of their views. I think it would be great to have my students educate others in their community as to the impact this has everywhere, not just the Gulf Coast.

Melinda Turner's picture
Melinda Turner
Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher from Tazewell, TN

To take the student survey a bit further, we could have the students conduct a survey with maybe the student body regarding their respective oil footprint; and/or each student could pick another teacher/staff person in the school to interview.  Results could then be compared by graphing the information.

shayles's picture
Technology Coordinator and Teacher 2-6

Last year our 6th graders did a webquest with team wiki's as the culminating project. I really liked the wiki process and would like to incorporate that into this project.  Rather than team membership being within school, would be great to collaborate with other school/s and have teams cross physical boundaries.  Love all the math ideas.  In response to Whose Mess Is This - students could explore corporate, governmental, and public levels of responsibility. Should exploration and use of technologies to meet our demands for energy be practiced without worst case scenario resoloutions tested and in place?  How/who creates such policies, what would they be, and who implements and oversees.

Kelly Kroon's picture
Kelly Kroon
Middle School social studies in Reedsburg, WI

Being here in Wisconsin, the oil spill tends to be more of a vague happening somewhere in the US for my students.  Two years ago, we had a horrific flood here that touched the lives of all of my students in one way or another.  Linking those events will help my students understand what the residents of the Gulf Coast are going through. 

Since my students are just a few years from getting their drivers licenses, another way to "hook" my students is to link the loss of oil with how much gasoline could have been produced and what affect that may have on gas prices.  How many hours would they have to work at a part-time job to pay for the extra gasoline costs?

caryn purcell's picture
caryn purcell
7th & 8th grade teacher from Connecticut

It's easy to come up with how to integrate the Oil Spill into my 7th grade teaching, especially since we study environmental issues in the wiinter and an estuary(Long island Sound) in the spring.  But I'd really like to do something in 8th grade.  The course is physical science, so I guess the obvious tie-in topics to me are density and chemistry.  I'd like to do a project but I am short on ideas right now.  Thanks for all of the comments so far -- it helps get the thinking started! 

Joanne Fuchs's picture

I teach 7th grade ancient history and we discuss the importance of natural resources to the development of civilizations. It would definately fit in.

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