Video Story Problem – How Much Shampoo?!

May 9, 2011 by

In my ever constant, and increasingly obscure, quest to pose real life curiosities and problems that I come across throughout the week, I’ve created a video story problem centered around those tiny little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotions that hotels offer their guests. I was staying at a hotel near the Detroit airport last week while producing some pilot video content for a new Michigan Department of Education grant, and I couldn’t help but wonder just how much shampoo a hotel must go through every year. It’s amazing what you can distract yourself with while sitting in an airport hotel with planes threatening to slam into your room every few minutes. The question started simply enough, but I decided to add a few extra layers as I became more curious….and yes, despite the bad acting I really was curious about all of the questions posed in this...

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E-Waste: Dumping on the Poor

Apr 14, 2010 by

Every April I like to do at least one environmental-themed lesson or activity with my students. I’m not a granola-eating hippie that’s out to save Mother Earth, and I’m not a right-wing climate-change denier that claims humans couldn’t possibly wreak such havoc on the planet. I like to take the middle road, and that’s where I like to guide my students as well. Rather than start with a position, I start with a problem. This month I’m sharing a short movie clip with my 5th graders about just one way that the world, and more specifically the U.S., disposes of their electronic waste; old computers, cell phones, digital cameras, etc. The problem I’m presenting to them is simple. Many thousands of pieces of technology are tossed out into the garbage each and every day. Some communities have recycling centers and programs for dealing with the toxic materials, plastics, and...

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Earth Day Should Be Everyday – SimCity, Eat Your Heart Out!

Apr 9, 2008 by

I’m a recovering hardcore gamer. In college, I would purchase at least 2 to 3 video games a month, play Mario Kart well past midnight (but then again, who didn’t in the late ’90s), and once stayed up all night with my roommate not because we were at the hottest party on campus, but because we were attempting to build a massive transportation empire that would drive our competitors into bankruptcy. These days, with a family, a 40 minute commute, and having purchased a house worthy of Tom Hank’s Money Pit, there’s little left to purchase games, and thus I’ve been limited in my choices. Which is why I spent a small part of my Spring Break today playing several games of the entirely free ElectroCity. It’s a fabulous city building simulation created for the educational outreach program of Genesis Energy, the largest producer of energy in New Zealand....

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Earth Day Should Be Everyday – Planet Green Game

Mar 26, 2008 by

Many blogs I follow usually provide resources for special days of the year the day before, or on the special date. Which is why I thought I’d run a small series of posts over the next week focused on Earth Day so there’s plenty of time (27 days as of this posting) to prepare how best to turn your students into ecologically minded citizens. Since ideas on how best to protect the environment can sometimes be a difficult debate both politically and personally, I’ll try to be as neutral as I can about the Planet Green Game that was created by Starbucks and Global Green USA. I played through a bit of it, and it’s a really addicting game, rewarding you with (or taking away) points based on how much carbon you put into the environment. As you start the game, it’s evident that decisions you make early on...

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