TAP Day 3 – What is TAP? – Poster session of ’09 projects + skeptics contd.

January 6, 2010 at 7:11 PM 1 comment

There is a buzz on campus about the project, from students last year and between periods and our two sets of classes. It’s a lot more fun getting this up and running the second time out.

Finished the slide show. I wouldn’t recommend showing this much PowerPoint in general though – too teacher-centered. Linked slides to their experiences, and to places they would or would not like to move. We don’t recommend Bangladesh, a place in the cross-hairs of climate change catastrophe. Greenland and Antarctica look set for future real estate booms. Many have see the snow pack get less reliable in the Sierras for skiing, and lots had been snorkeling over coral reefs and seen signs of reef degradation. This is a well traveled lot.

There was genuine shock when they looked at the map of the world with the climactic zones for 2099, as they figured out that the whole US is likely to become uninhabitable desert. That was the graphic that did it for me – galvanized me into developing the Take Action Project.

And then… the relief of immediately starting to figure out what to do about it, to get started on the project. Looking very science-y with clipboards on their hips, they toured the posters from last year and were excited to see friends in some of the photos. “Why did they do a bake sale for “Global Warming”?  “What’s saving marshmallows got to do with… oh, marshes.” “Why’s going vegetarian going to help the world?”

But their biggest preoccupation was of course “How many people can we work with? Who? In any class?” Because let’s face it, that makes or breaks any project for me too. Until they can get settled in their groups, they’ll have a hard time concentrating.

Karen and I have taken the inconvenient decision to let them partner with students in any 7th grade class – it makes it hard for them to do research in class together and they can’t work on their posters in school, but it makes the projects so much more fun for them. We limit the groups to no more than two – more than that and it’s just about impossible for more than two families to co-ordinate their schedules so students can take action and do their posters. This is supposed to be a good experience for families as well as for students.

My bright and convinced climate skeptic brought in the article that disproved human emissions have anything to do with climate change. I was genuinely nonplussed because it just looked so science-y. Have I been duped by the IPCC?

“Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” by Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (2007) 12, 79-90. Looked up the authors, the institute and the journal it was published in. You might be interested to do that yourself before I blow the cover…

A great example that I will share with NEXT year’s students when we do the short unit on information literacy. But not this year, poor guy, he’s going to be surprised enough when he does this Google search, without any breath of public humiliation.


Entry filed under: Biodiversity and Ecology, Data Analysis, TAP Curriculum. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

TAP Day 2: How’s everyone feeling about the future of the world? TAP Day 4: Inspiration from the United Nations Millennium Development Goals

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Karen Snelson  |  January 7, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Today the kids looked at posters made by last year’s students that showcased their work on TAP. It worked much better than explaining in the abstract what the project looked like.

    One TAP project, “Save the Leatherback Turtle”, had a cause and effect web for the endangerment of the turtle. I was reading it to kids for an example of how they could work on just one of the causes: Poaching of turtle eggs. When I said the action was to stop the poaching of eggs, one student gasped and exclaimed “But I like poached eggs!!!”.

    Anyway, I could feel the kids getting excited and boasting about how they could do even better than last year’s kids.. I have to say, though, that they seemed more interested in who they could work with and what would be a fun activity, than in reseaching the problem.
    So, getting them to focus on the problem and it’s causes before deciding the solution will be the first step.
    Karen, 7th grade Life Science.



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