Connecting the real world to curriculum…some jump start ideas – Part One

So, I am going to make a conscious effort to write at least a couple of times a week.  If not for the fact that so many cools things seem to come across my desk, but for the sheer fact that if I get these cool ideas up in a post up at least I know where I can look that really cool idea, that I usually forget – so to that end – REAL WORLD CURRICULUM TIE-IN IDEAS PART 1 – begins for your reading pleasure!!!!

Internet info graphic.

I was forwarded this infographic by my father as he thought I would be interested in looking at the data.  Which I was.  Bt the second I saw it, my head started spinning with ideas for math class.

A day in the internet

So why this info graphic and why am in the process of writing a great math lesson around this info graphic.   in this one document is amazing.  The students could simply graph the data – which is not that difficult but a good graphing lesson nonetheless.  But what I really envision is that groups of students work to take apart the info graphic and create a graph in multiple formats on or two facts from the chart and then dive deeper into the significance of it.  Research the history and the trends and then graph that data.  Then with the facts in front of them in visual format a report on the implications.

For example if we send that many emails in one day, what would it look like if it were mail?  How much would it cost based on the cost of a stamp assuming all the mail were just in going to someone in the United States.  What if it were mailed a year ago? Three years ago?  How does that change the cost.  The possibilities are endless as much as they are amazing.

Debris from Japan Earthquake

Several articles have recently been circulating the web on the fact that all that debris from the Japan earthquake is slowly creeping towards the Pacific coast of the US.

Some of the articles that speak to this include;

Midway Atoll Expecting Japan Tsunami Debris Soon

Japan Tsunami Debris ‘to reach Hawaii in the next few days’

Japan Tsunami Debris Spreading Across the Atlantic

In addition to these articles (and these are only a few of them) there are also some great videos like this one;

When I first started reading about this phenomena my mind started racing.  The amount that the students could learn from this real life problem is just overwhelming.  The math component alone is outstanding.  Students tracking conditions, wind, weight, storms variables.  The ideas are endless.  20 – 30 million tons of debris around going to eventually hit the coast of the Pacific US.  The problem that we are facing as a nation is a real one and one that does not have a solution.  My mind thought about an art project that involved recycled garbage.  A Social Studies/English project that had the students creating a plan of action for the towns that would be effected and what the policy is if you find debris.  There truly is an amazing amount of learning through a real world problem – and one that the students have a foundation for because the earthquake is not that far removed from their memory and on the off-chance that it is – there is plenty of video out there to remind them.

With all that said – why am I posting this – well I am hoping that the those of you who stumble onto my blog will share your own thoughts on these two ideas and help me shape the projects, that when put together will be posted for everyone to use.  So thoughts anyone?  What real world connections to classroom projects do you envision with these two different topics?


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