Day 16: Interconnected World Problems

February 16, 2010 at 5:39 PM Leave a comment

PowerPoint feedback from kids:

Most much prefer powerpoints to written reports, liked that they got to choose their own topics. They seemed not to mind writing down the memorable thing from each, and giving a little feedback. They really liked getting feedback from their peers after their presentation. (How cool…). They did not seem bored or restless during each other’s presentations, although I threatened 7th period with taking a point off from their grade if they talked during someone else’s talk.

But the proof of the pudding is what they actually remembered from other presentations. When S said that she prints on both sides of paper after H.’s talk, H. looked so proud. As they shared cool statistics, facts and images that had stuck with them, they honored each other’s work.

Kids remembered animal pics of Kit Foxes, Pygmy Hippos and poor chickens in a factory farm, starving children and kids with leukemia. L. pointed out how happy a woman in Haiti was just to get fresh water and we can don’t even think about getting a drink from the drinking fountain.

Statistics that were put in terms we can identify with were best – 10 Orindas worth of people died in Haiti, two children die every minute from malaria, etc.

Most earned much better scores than last year – I guess some of the tweaks worked and we are a little clearer where we are going. We were a bit generous but the point is to encourage as well as hold them accountable.

Setting up  TAP Act. 10 “A Better Cause and Effect Web Based on PowerPoint Research”:

I showed how to make a cause and effect diagram with a problem that no one had picked – depression with one class, neglected pets in others. Really worth taking the time to do that to clear up the cause-effect confusion. And then they were anxious to do it for their topic.

Had them sit with others with similar topics so they could share expertise. Cues are on the worksheet. “Habitat and animal endangerment” was the biggest and put two tables together. “Resources, oil, water, energy”, “Pollution”, “Infectious disease, sanitation and child mortality”, “Diseases of the West” and “Animal Welfare/Industrial food” were the categories we used.

Overheard comments:

“Everything’s connected to everything!”

“Water pollution kills fish which means less food. But water pollution happens because we need more food so there’s fertilizer and pesticide run off. Which poisons fish…” Another guy in the same class figuring out the bad news of vicious circles.

Figuring out connections between different world problems.

I counted kids off by table number so I’d distribute the world problems all around the class and each table would have several different problems. Each table had a large sheet of paper in the center. They each wrote their TAP problem in a corner.

Defined a ‘root cause’ as being one that had no arrows going to it, it only caused other problems and asked why that’s the pay dirt we are going for here.

Asked them to find any causes and effects that appeared in more than one of their cause and effect diagrams. Stuff like ‘death’, ‘pollution’, ‘global warming’, ‘overfishing’ and ‘oil spills’ came up. Varied in each class. They used those commonalities to try to link together topics with greater or lesser success depending if they had say, anorexia at the same table with crocodile extinction 🙂

Then I asked them to drop in “over-population” and see which causes and effect that would effect. Same with “need for energy” and finally “lack of education”. We’ll be following up tomorrow. I’m very interested to see if they have picked up how amazingly powerful this concept mapping technique is. They seemed really engaged today. It’s fun to make those diagrams. Really!

Excited also to have found some other people online interested in project based learning. If you didn’t see the comment last blog, check out edutopia’s web site and go to the project based learning group. It does look like TAP is unusual because it works in an ordinary class room within an ordinary curriculum and traditional school day. You don’t have to have the whole school buy in, or have an alternative charter school curriculum. Let’s get projects out there to many more class rooms, it’s do-able, and it’s just so much more interesting for me than teaching mitosis yet again.

Happy back to work after President’s day!

Sue

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Entry filed under: TAP Curriculum.

13. PowerPoints Day 2 17. Poverty, Population and Education at the root?

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