The 5 Habits Framework

1) Evidence (How do I know what's true?)

2) Perspective (Who might think differently?)

3) Connections (What other areas of knowledge are connected?)

4) Supposition (How might it be different if..?)

5) Significance (Is this important?)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Theory of Funny-Sounding Words

Why is Snunkoople funny?

53735484-abdul-a-baby-common-wombat-is-one-of-the-marsupials-on
Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images

http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2015/12/14/why_is_the_nonsense_word_snunkoople_funnier_than_the_equally_made_up_word.html

1)  What numbers are used as evidence in this piece?  Which numbers would be most helpful to dispute the findings?

2)  Why might a Chinese student feel differently about this than a Canadian?  In what ways would the publisher of Dr. Seuss' books think about this study?

3)  How is this connected to social media?  The news?  Harry Potter?  

4)  What if you found out your favorite pop star changed their name according to this principle?

5)  How might this be significant to a political campaign?  What is a long-term consequence in this topic?  What are some basic assumptions about humor?  To what degree does this story change the way you view your name?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can poll their peers and acquaintances about common "hated" words and chart their results.  They can then think of replacements for the most egregious words to suggest for future use.

2)  Students can chart the history of the word cool and its synonyms then predict future synonyms 1,5, 20 years out.

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Language

Friday, December 18, 2015

Nicki Minaj to Perform in Angola

Should Celebrities Appear for Leaders Known for Oppression and Brutality?



Image result for nicki minaj angola Image result for nicki minaj angola

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/world/nicki-minaj-concert-in-angola-draws-human-rights-complaint.html?pagewanted=all

1)  What evidence would sway your opinion one way or the other?  Does the amount of money make a difference?

2)  In what capacities might Beyonce think about this differently than Nicki?  Your sibling and the daughter of Dos Santos?

3)  In what ways is this connected to sports?  To Martin Skrelli and Bernie Sanders?  Schindler's List?

4)  Would you change your mind if you found out people in the country with your religious beliefs were being persecuted?  Hair color?  About North Korea?  Germany in 1942?  Mongolia in 1210?  

5)  To what degree does this affect you?  What is the short term consequence?  What are the underlying assumptions about pop stars that affect this story?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can chart the responses of their classmates and teachers on the amount of money they would take to perform in a similar situation and analyze their results.

2)  Students can write a series of 5 tweets to Nicki Minaj supporting or protesting her decision and predict the outcome of a fictitious back-and-forth with an online opponent.      

AoK:  Ethics

WoK:  Reason

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Facebook to Introduce Features for Breakups

Facebook Will Erase Your Ex



http://www.dailydot.com/technology/facebook-break-up-features/

1)  What evidence does Facebook use to indicate the end of a relationship?  Which numbers would be most convincing that this is a valuable resource?  Whose opinion on this matter would give the most credence?    

2)  In what ways would a divorce lawyer and a marriage counselor differ in opinion?  Why might Mark Zuckerberg and an artist have different opinions?  Whose perspective is left out of this article?

3)  In what ways is this connected to health?  To what degree is this connected to geography?  How might we view connections between this update and Facebook's new logo redesign?    

4)  In what ways would this story be different if Facebook made you pay for this service?  How might this be different if it was paired with news that Facebook was acquiring an online dating website?  

5)  What assumptions does the article make about modern dating?  What are the short-term implications for psychology?  What are the long-term implications for Facebook's finances as a result of this issue?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can draw comparisons to this article and the Pope poem "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and design a Venn diagram showing contrasts and comparisons.  

2)  Students can write an advertisement for the new service.  

AoK:  Human Sciences
WoK:  Emotion, Ethics



Monday, November 16, 2015

Zebras Flee Philly Circus

Animals Run Through the Streets in One of America's Largest Cities


They are already sporting old-timey prisoner getup, police quipped.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/real-time/Zebras-escape-from-circus-roam-West-Philly-streets.html

1)  In what ways are tweets better evidence of current events than traditional media?  What is the relationship between truth and the number of followers a social media user has?

2)  In what ways might an animal rights activist view this positively?  A hunter?  Why might a police officer feel differently about this than a 9 year old?  

3)  In what ways is this connected sports?  How might this be connected to your daily commute to school?  In which class would this story be most appropriate to study?  

4)   How might this have been different if elephants had escaped?  Lions?  What might happen if circuses were banned?  

5)  What are some basic assumptions about circuses?  zoos?  Farms?  What might be the long-term consequences of this situation?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the claims made in the film "Blackfish" about the treatment of orcas and write a defense of animal-focused attractions.

2)  Students can write a new section of the driver's handbook to include appropriate actions when wild animals are running through the streets.

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Imagination

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cheating Confirmed Through Stats

Freakonomics Author Devises Algorithm to Catch Cheaters

Eyes on your own paper.
(AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency, Tran Le Lam)


1)  In what ways can the use of statistics provide evidence for action?  What are the limits of statistical knowledge?  

2)  Why might the students' parents feel differently than the professor?  The same?  Why might a Chinese student feel differently than an American?  

3)  Is statistics math or science?  How is this connected to social relationships?  
4)  In what ways would this story be reported differently if the researcher was not well-known?  How might this be different   

5)  What are some basic assumptions about cheating in general and in academics specifically?  In which subject would cheating be most beneficial for you?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can write a satirical story making cheating in sports analogous to academic cheating.   

2)  Students can develop their own statistical models for cheating in a classroom of their choice.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Half Off Appetizers for Jews and Arabs who Dine Together

Israeli Cafe Hopes to Bring Communities Together


All we are saying is give chickpeas a chance.
(Shutterstock)


http://qz.com/528454/an-israeli-cafe-is-giving-discounts-to-jews-and-arabs-who-eat-together/ 

1)  How could the cafe owner measure the success or failure of his endeavor?  How might we find out the true origins of hummus?  How might the owner find out if people are abusing the system?    

2)  Why might an American teenager feel differently about this than an Israeli teenager?  In what ways would this story be different if it happened 75 years ago?  Why might the yemenite (Arab Jew) feel differently about this than

3)  In what ways is this connected to environmentalism?  Sports?  Cheating on a test?

4)  What if the cafe owner had chosen pizza as the item?  Hot dogs?  In what ways would this story be different if it happened 75 years ago?  20 years from now?  

5)  What are the short-term consequences of this promotion?  To what degree can this affect official policy of the Israeli government?  What are the underlying assumptions about Israeli culture in this piece?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the Christmas football match during WWI and draw connections to this story.

2)  Students can identify foods that could bring conflicting groups together and compile an "international peace cookbook".


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Writing with The Evil Hand

Teacher Forces 4 Year Old to Change Hands When Writing


A child in Oklahoma was told to stop writing with his left hand, because it had associations with evil.
(Shutterstock)

http://www.newser.com/story/213266/teacher-makes-4-year-old-stop-writing-with-evil-hand.html

1)  What evidence might be most convincing that one hand is better than another?  To what degree can we judge the historical record on this subject?

2)  Why might a baseball player feel differently about this story than an author?  Why might Paul McCartney feel differently than Barack Obama?

3)  In what ways is this connected to art?  To what degree is this connected to recess?

4)  How might this have been different if it was pro-left-handedness?  The same?

5)  Is this significant to you?  What are the basic assumptions about "handedness"?  What are the long-term effects of this story on the child?    

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can create an "Opposite Hand Day" and journal their experiences.

2)  Students can chart the handedness of their classmates and compare it national characteristics.  They can then make predictions about the future.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Librarian Bans Book for a Cause

Banning Books in Support of Literature



1)  What makes a librarian "trained"?  What is the most convincing evidence that a book is inappropriate?   

2)  In what ways would a student view this differently than a teacher? Why might a German librarian feel differently than the author about this article?

3)  In what ways is this connected to studies of the internet?  In which course would this article be appropriate to read?    

4)  To what degree would this have changed if it was written by an administrator?   A Republican candidate for the Presidency?  Democratic?  How might the author have changed their methods to produce the desired results?  

5)  To what extent is this significant?   What are some assumptions about freedom of speech universally or in your society?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the most banned books of all time and predict what kind of book might make the list in the next 5 years.  

2)  Students can try this experiment in their school and blog about the observations.  

AoK:  English Language 

WoK:  Language  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Man's Job is to Take Selfies

Record-Breaking 1800 Selfies Taken in 1 Hour

Bhanu Prakash of Hyderabad, India.
 (Bhanu Prakash)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Hyderabad-boy-eyes-new-record-by-clicking-1800-selfies-in-one-hour/articleshow/48845060.cms

1)  What are the parameters of the competition?  Are they valid?  Is this something worth competing for?  What evidence is most compelling in training for this activity?

2)  Why might his parents feel differently than his former teachers?  His current or future partner/s?  The relatives of George Eastman?
  
3)  In what ways is this more connected to chemistry than to psychology?  To what degree is this connected to math?  

4)  How might the reporting of this story be different if it was about a teenage girl?  An American?

5)  What are the basic assumptions about people who take selfies?  What are the basic assumptions of those who share selfies about their followers/friends?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can chart the rate of posted selfies of their friends and compare them to those of celebrities'.

2)  Students can research the use of selfies within different social networks and predict future trends.

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Imagination


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

6 Humans Step Into One-Year Isolation Dome

Mars Isolation Experiment Begins

The 36-foot-wide, 20-foot-tall Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation dome.
(NASA)

http://phys.org/news/2015-08-year-mars-isolation.html


1)  What collected data could be the most useful for NASA?  In what ways could the experiment prove to be useless?  

2)  Why might a former astronaut think about this differently than a junior high school student?  In what ways might Buzz Aldrin and Chris Hadfield think similarly about this experiment?

3)  In which class would this topic be most appropriate?  In what ways is this experiment more about physical health than psychology?  

4)  What if the participants all spoke different languages?  Were related?  The length of time was shortened to 1 month?  Extended to 3 years?

5)  In what ways is this experiment significant?  What are the long term consequences on the participants?  What are the short term consequences for NASA?  What are the basic assumptions tested in this experiment?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the effects of extreme isolation on humans ("feral" children, solitary confinement, etc.) and write a story from the perspective of someone who is recruited by NASA because of their previous experience.

2)  Students can write a journal in the voice of a future astronaut from different points in time, considering time traveled and their eventual return.  

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Intuition

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tongue-Rolling Myth Totally 'Debunked'

Classic Genetic Myth is Wrong


Photo by Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/genetic-myth-textbooks-get-wrong/

1)  In what ways is wisdom 'conventional'?  To what degree should science textbooks be believed?  What confers expertise in genetics?    

2)  Why might an American child feel differently about this than their grandparent?  In what ways would a 7th grade science teacher think about this differently than a student?  

3)  How might this be connected to psychology?  Math?

4)  In what ways would this story be different if it was about another classic example (i.e. widow's peak, ear lobe)?  How would this story be different if it was about genetics more than certainty?    

5)  What are some under lying assumptions about science in this article?  About belief?  In what ways is this significant for educational institutions?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can create a list of debunked artifacts of conventional wisdom and compare them to those in a country of their choice.

2)  Students can create a Top Ten list of the most widely believed debunked conventional wisdom in an area of their choice (history, science, nutrition) and survey their classmates.  Students can then analyze the results and offer prescriptive advice on combating them when they are encountered again.

AoK:  Human Sciences
 WoK:  Reason

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tallest Mountain in North America Now Officially Denali

Obama Administration Changes Name of Mt. McKinley


This Aug. 19, 2011 file photo shows Mount McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska.
(AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/31/us/mount-mckinley-will-be-renamed-denali.html?_r=0

1)  What evidence is used in this article?  How do we know the Athabascans were indigenous to the area?          

2)  Whose perspectives are being represented in this issue?  Whose are left out?  Why might a teenager in Ohio feel differently about this than a teenager in Hawaii?

3)  To what degree does the President's political party affect the public's reaction to this issue?  Is this more of a religious issue or a political one?  

4)  What if a Republican president had changed the name?  What if the name was changed to someone living?  To what degree would this story be different if it was Mt. Everest?

5)  What are the short term consequences?  Long term?  What are the basic assumptions about ownership of land?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can develop different headlines for the story to evoke emotional responses from different readers.

2)  Students can research natural monuments and propose name changes for some with indigenous names and defend another.


AoK:  History

WoK:  Language

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Strict Dress Code Enforcement in Kentucky School

Kentucky Teen Sent Home for Showing Collarbone



(Facebook)


http://www.today.com/style/kentucky-student-violates-high-school-dress-code-exposed-collarbone-t39211

1)  When do clothes become a distraction?  In what ways could you prove that certain policies affect groups disproportionately?  How can we prove a concept like decency?  Who gets a say?  

2)  Why might the girl's grandmother feel differently about this issue than her grandfather?  Why might a teenager in 1940 feel differently about this than a current teenager?  A woman from Iran?

3)  How is this connected to geography?  In what ways is this connected to science?  Censorship of books?

4)  What if  a male had word the same outfit?  If she were brunette?  Heavier?

5)  To what extent does this affect you?  What are underlying assumptions about physical appearance?  What are the short term consequences of this issue?  Long?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can create objective measures of dress code which factor in mathemathical concepts such as percent of skin showing, length of shorts, width of sleeves, proportional measures, etc.

2)  Students can research the bikini or other fashion trends and how it is perceived through time.  They can then predict what their school's dress code policy will be in 25 years.

AoK:  Ethics

WoK:  reason, emotion


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Tooth Fairy Is Lowering Payments

Less Money Under Pillows for 2nd Year in a Row.


(CreativeNature R.Zwerver/Shutterstock)

http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2015/08/17/Survey-Tooth-Fairy-paying-less-for-second-year-in-row/5991439848364/

1)  In what ways is truth acquired about the economy?  What are the limits to economic surveys?  How could someone disprove the existence of the tooth fairy to a child who believes?  

2)  How might a 28 year old think about this differently than a 68 year old?  Why might a dentist view this differently than an economist?

3)  To what degree is this connected to history?  Science?

4)  What would happen if the number suddenly spiked next year to $6/tooth.  Lowered to $1?  What are alternate explanations for the reduced rate?

5)  What are some basic assumptions about giving money to children?  In what ways is it appropriate to allow children to believe in the tooth fairy?  Not appropriate?

Extension Activities:  

1)  Students can research the tooth fairy in various cultures and create a hybrid with the best features from five they researched.

2)  Students can identify multiple ways in which to gauge the health of an economy through holidays, superstitions, and conventional wisdom.

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Imagination


Friday, August 14, 2015

Restaurant Sued for "Throwed Rolls"

Lambert's Cafe Sued After Patron Injured

lamberts3550.jpg
Johnny Fugitt


1)  What evidence is used in this article to convince you of truth?  What is the role of evidence in the justice system?  What number would convince you that the defendant deserves the money?  That the restaurant deserves exoneration?

2)  In what ways might the injured woman's doctor feel differently about this report than a waiter at Lambert's?  The same?

3)  What connection is there between this story and attending an athletic event?  What is the connection to math/physics?

4)  What if the injury had been more serious?  What if you found out that this person has sued 10 other companies?  What if you found out Lambert's has paid in the past?  How might Miranda Lambert capitalize on this news story?      

5)  Why is this significant?  What are the long term consequences of this story?  Short term?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the layout of the building and develop a "Code of Best Practices in Throwed Rolls" for future hires at Lambert's including recommended height and angles of throws.

2)  Students can research frivolous lawsuits from the past and identify the impact to business.  They can then identify potential threats to a local business and provide suggestions for mitigation.  

AoK:  Human Sciences, Mathematics

WoK:  Intuition

Saturday, August 8, 2015

China Building Islands in Land Reclamation Projects

Kerry Urges Country to Settle Disputes Differently


China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, listens while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks before a bilateral meeting at the Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP)
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, listens while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks before a bilateral meeting at the Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Wednesday, Aug. 5,...   (Associated Press)

http://www.newser.com/article/61c1655f8bdc49c090495b9f3c7577c0/kerry-pushes-china-to-halt-south-china-sea-land-reclamation-projects-urges-dispute-resolution.html

1)  What is the most important number in this article?  Why?  What numbers are are left out?  How do we know who owns land?

2)  Why might a Japanese teenager think about this differently than a Puerto Rican?  Why might a captain of a ship think of this differently?

3)  In what ways is this connected to Twitter?  How is this connected to the Columbian Exchange? The Olympics?  The internet?  

4)  In what ways would this be different 100 years?  5 years from now?

5)  What is the significance of this?  What are the underlying assumptions about diplomacy?  In what ways does this affect me?  If it doesn't affect me, who might be affected?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can compare and contrast ways in which land has been added to coastlines or created (Battery Park, "The World" in Dubai, etc.) and develop sustainability plans for nations facing issues with rising sea levels or erosion.  .

2)  Students can research shipping lanes and rank the 10 most valuable (money, access, etc.) for getting specific products to their interests (Fashion, electronics, travel, etc.)

3)  Students can research the network of internet cables around the world and evaluate claims of ownership based on proximity to land.

AoK:  Natural Sciences

WoK:  Emotion


Friday, August 7, 2015

The Global Millionaire's Club is Booming

More People Around the World Become Wealthy

shutterstock_211339102
Photo by Shutterstock.
By Alison Griswold

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/10/21/global_millionaires_credit_suisse_wealth_report_finds_they_re_growing_faster.html

1)  How do we know what is true in this story?  In what ways is self-reported income and unreliable measure?  Reliable?  Should everyone have the chance to become a millionaire?  

2)  Why might a student in India think differently about this article than a worker in the U.S.?  In what ways would you think about this differently if your parents were wealthier?  Less wealthy?  Whose perspective is left out?

3)  In what ways is this connected to food?  To what degree is this connected to sports?

4)  How might this article be written differently if it was reported in Ukraine?  How might we increase wealth access to under-represented areas?    

5)  To what degree is the assumption that people should want to become a millionaire promoted in this article?  What are the short-term outcomes of this news?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can chart global wealth by country over time and make predictions for the future.

2)  Students can write a descriptive account of what they would do if they became a millionaire.

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Imagination

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Russia Claims Land in the Arctic

U.N. to Weigh In on Legal Access to Resources


In this Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007, photo, a titanium capsule with the Russian flag is seen seconds after it was planted by the Mir-1 mini submarine on the Arctic Ocean seabed under the North Pole.

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11782413/Russia-claims-resource-rich-swathe-of-Arctic-territory.html

1)  How do we know what is true in this story?  In what ways should we decide claims like this?  

2)  Why might a Russian teenager feel differently about this than an American?  The same?  Why might this be good for Europe?  Bad?

3)  How is this connected to art?  In what ways is this connected to the moon landing?

4)  To what degree would this be different if Greenland was not a territory of Denmark?  In what ways would this be different if Russia did not already have massive natural resource wealth?

5)  What are the basic assumptions in this article?  Can a new law be developed on this claim?  To whom is this story most significant?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research territorial claims around the world and develop a plan for one of their choice.

2)  Students can research the development of the Russian territory and it's time zones and offer advice to leaders on how to best reach places far from administrative centers.

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Reason,


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Can Eating Spicy Food Help Me Live Longer?

Chili Peppers Linked to Longevity

This Feb. 11, 2013 photo shows chili peppers.
 (AP Photo/Dean Fosdick)

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/spicy-food-linked-to-lower-risk-of-death/?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1

1)  How do I know what is true in science?  What evidence in the article is most useful to convince a family member to start eating more peppers?  How do we know about antioxidants?

2)  In what ways might a Mexican citizen feel differently about this than a Russian?  Why might a child feel differently than an adult?

3)  In what ways is this story connected to math?  Geography?  How might an internet company use this information?

4)  How might this be different if Texans were used instead of Chinese citizens for this study?  In what ways is this connected to religion or ethics?

5)  Is this important to you?  To whom might this story be most important?  What are the long term effects of people living 10 years longer than the average person lives now?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research average life span and develop math problems associated with its logarithmic growth over time and chart their findings in unique ways.  

2)  Students can research the ways in which people have tried to increase life span in the past both naturally and chemically and then create an ad for a past or future products.  

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Reason, Perception

Friday, July 31, 2015

Postal Worker Helps Out with Request for Junk Mail

Boy's Request for Reading Material Goes Viral


http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865633288/Sandy-mailmans-plea-for-books-gets-worldwide-response.html?pg=all


(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

1)  Did the postal worker do the right thing?  How do you know?  What are the most positive outcomes from this story?  Negative?  In what ways does the student now have a burden of responsibility?  Should he be graded or rewarded at school for reading these books?

2)  Why might the postal worker's colleagues feel differently about this than the boy's mother?  In what ways would an executive for Sony Playstation feel differently about this than someone who donated a book?  To what degree should anyone feel guilty for playing video games after reading this story?  

3)  To what extent is this connected to math?  The ice-bucket challenge of 2014?

4)  How might this story have been different if it occurred in your home town? Afghanistan?  

5)  Is this important to you?  What might be the long-term consequences?  Have you ever been given a book that you didn't want to read?  What was the outcome?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research famous individuals who claimed to have some form of  self-education (Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, etc.).  They can then write a predictive account of Mathew Flores' life in comparison or contrast.   

2)  Students can research the ways in which the internet has changed the way people donate to causes and predict the next big story/event that will cause an outpouring of money/concern.  

AoK:  Ethics, 

WoK:  Language

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fake iPhone Operation in China Shut Down

Factory Produced nearly $20 Million of Counterfeits

http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2015/07/27/chinese-firm-made-fake-iphones-worth-19-4-million-police-say/


Customer holds iPhone 6 in NYC Adrees Latif/Reuters

1)  What evidence cited in the article is most helpful in forming your opinion?  Should there be patents?  What evidence is needed to help you defend your position?  What are the limits to  borrowing/taking/stealing an idea from a corporation?        

2)  Why might a hip-hop artist think differently about this than an author?  In what  ways might an actor in a Shakespeare play think similarly as the owner of the factory?  How would you feel about this if you were Chinese?    

3)  To what degree is this connected to film?  Sports?  Math?  Is this connected to something I've seen before?    

4)  In what ways would this story be different if it was a factory in Norway?  If the factory was producing fake Beats headphones?    

5)  Is this story significant whether someone has an iPhone or not?  To whom might this be most significant?  What are the long-term consequences of intellectual property infringement?  

Extension Activities

1)  Students can research intellectual property rights and why China is often in the conversation and propose a policy that could benefit both sides.  

2)  Students can write a response to the statement "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" as it relates to this story.

3)  Students can research "patent trolls" and defend their position on Jim Logan and his company taking legal action against popular podcasters.  


AoK:  Ethics

WoK:  Imagination



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

American Dentist Hunts Famous Lion

Man pays $55k to Shoot Famous Zimbabwean Lion

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/11767119/Cecil-the-lions-killer-revealed-as-American-dentist.html
Cecil the lion.

1)  What evidence in the article is the most convincing?  Is there a difference between hunting with a bow and hunting with a gun in your opinion?  Which statistic or quote would most likely lead to you changing your mind on this topic?  What information is left out of the article?  

2)  In what ways would the hunter's children feel the same as a conservationist's children on this topic?  To what degree should the dentist's patients think about attending his practice after this story becomes public?  

3)  How is this connected to events in your hometown/state?  In what ways is this connected to owning a pet python?  Do the dentist's actions form a larger pattern of behavior?    

4)  In what ways would this story be different if the hunter was Chinese?  If Cecil was less-famous?  If the lion was killed on the territory of the park?  If it was a cow?  If lions are endangered?

5)  Is this important to you?  Could you do anything to promote or change the practice of tourism hunting?  Do you eat meat?  Why or why not?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can study the most hunted animals in their area and place them on a continuum of ethical acceptability.  

2)  Students can study the creation of wildlife preserves in their home country and those in sub-Saharan Africa to find similar and contrasting rules.

AoK:  Ethics
WoK:  Emotion

Monday, July 13, 2015

Facebook Logo Redesign

Facebook’s New Logo: Can You Spot the Difference?

The new logo.
(Facebook)
 Article by Deepa Seetharaman



1)  What evidence would convince you that this is a "huge change"?  What are the underlying assumptions of graphic artists?  

2)  Why might Mark Zuckerberg's employees feel differently than your cousin about this change?  Why might an investor feel differently than your classmate?

3)  In what ways is this connected to technology?  How is this connected to a geography?  Why might you study this in health class?

4)  What if this typeface is proven to be plagiarized?  How would this story be different if the creator was Mark Zuckerberg himself?  

5)  Is this important to you?  If not, to whom is it important?  Can someone ethically design a logo for a company that sells your data to other companies?  

Extended Activities:

1)  Students can research examples of re-branding through logo changes of an individual company or an industry and predict how a future logo would look in the future.

2)  Students can research typeface and fonts focusing on best practices and defend the much-aligned Comic-Sans on what they've learned.    

AOK:  The Arts 
WOK:  Intuition, Language


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Using Data to Predict Short-Term Demise

Can a test tell you when you will die?


(Shuuterstock)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/03/us-health-death-prediction-idUSKBN0OJ31A20150603

1)  In what ways is data collected through survey unreliable?  Why might this be immoral to give to children?  How can statistics and probability be used to distort the truth?

2)  Why might a CEO of a company view this differently than a priest?  Why might a 15 year old view this differently than an 80 year old?  Why might a British citizen view this differently than an American?  

3)  In what ways is this connected to fortune telling?  In what ways is this connected to mathematics?  Philosophy?
  
4)  How might one be affected if the results of this test give a life expectancy of less than a year?  What if this test was mandatory for hiring?

5)  What is the significance of this test?  How can this affect the economy?  Health care?

Extension Activities

1)  Students can research what questions are illegal to ask during job interviews and try to find some of the tricks future employers use to get the wanted info?

2)  Students can research determinism, libertariaism, and other issues associated with free will to provide an understanding of this test's philosophical implications.

AOK-Math, Ethics
WOK-Reason, 

Man Loses over $700k to Fortune Teller

Misfortune in New York


(Dave Sanders for The New York Times)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/nyregion/he-went-to-the-fortuneteller-now-his-fortune-is-gone.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0 

1)  How can we evaluate truth claims of psychics?  Is this a story of individual responsibility or a crimianl action?  At what point does this type of activity become illegal?  What is the difference between a psychic, medium, and a fortune teller?    

2)  In what ways might a hypnotist hired for parties feel differently about this than a psychologist?  Why might an author sympathize with the psychic in this case?  Why not?     

3)  In what ways is this connected to entertainment?  To what degree is this connected to horocopes?  Is this a religious issue?  

4)  What if the amount was less than $100?  What if the victim wants to continue his relationship with the fortune teller?  How can the headline of the story be written to seem more favorable to the fortune teller?     

5)  What are the consequences of this story?  Whose responsibility is it to prevent this from happening in the future? 

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the ways that scams have evolved in the age of the internet and show how they are linked to scams of the past.

2)  Students can research James Randi and the Randi institute's $1,000,000 contest to find legitimate evidence of the paranormal.  Students evaluate the rules of the contest to see if they are reasonable.

AOK-Human Sciences, Ethics

WOK-Reason, Intuition

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The President is on Twitter

President Obama Sends First Presidential Tweet

In a Thursday, May 14, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at Camp David in Maryland.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

http://www.newser.com/story/207029/the-president-has-arrived-on-twitter.html

1)  How do we know the President actually sent the tweet himself?  How can we tell if other accounts are fake?  What proof is required for authenticity?  

2)  Why might Sasha Obama feel differently about this than the White House Press Secretary?  The same?  To what extent might Biz Stone be more excited about this than Mark Zuckerburg?  

3)  In what ways is this connected to the first Presidential telephone call?  First train ride?  In what ways is this connected to the concept of democracy?

4)  To what extent would it change the perceptions of the President's political party?  What if a Republican had been the first President to adopt Twitter?  

5)  Why is is relevant that the President has a Twitter handle?  In what ways is this significant to the future of his fundraising abilities?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can trace Presidential firsts and create a timeline of these events and place them on a scale of importance

2)  Students can write a news story from the future where a future President marks a major milestone for a future technology (first ride in a driver-less car, first trip to the moon).

AoK:  Human Sciences

WoK:  Language

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Attention Spans Comparable to Goldfish

Canadians now have shorter attention span than goldfish thanks to portable devices: Microsoft study



This undated photo shows a common goldfish.
 (AP Photo/Peter Ponzio) 

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadians-now-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-portable-devices-microsoft-study

1)  What evidence is convincing in this article?  What might be the limits to surveying different populations?    

2)  Why might a Canadian view this differently than a Moldovan?  In what ways would a CEO and a worker have similar views on this issue?    

3)  How is this connected to the school day?  In what ways is this a science issue rather than a moral?
4)  In what ways would this study be different with a smaller sample size?  What if t was sponsored by Apple?  By the National Education Association?  By Wal Mart?  

5)  What is the significance of this study on new parents?  For future generations?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can create a time log of their online and mobile activities.  Students can analyze their collected data and develop a plan of action associated with their attention and multi-tasking goals.  

2)  Students can study the Stanford Marshmallow Test and identify the characteristics they feel are necessary for improvement in this area on a personal or societal level.


Friday, May 8, 2015

20 Year Old Elected to Parliament

UK Elects Youngest Lawmaker Since 1667 

Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency winner Mhairi Black of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Labour's Douglas Alexander react at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley, Scotland.
 (David Cheskin/PA via AP)



1)  What is an appropriate age for legislating?  Why?  What prevents a similar situation from happening in the US? What evidence do we have that makes the laws in our country?  How do we know the ages they prescribed are appropriate?  How reliable are the accounts of 1667's parliamentary sessions?  

2)  Why might her father feel differently than the Prime Minister of the UK?  Than a leader of Saudi Arabia?  How might her competitor feel similarly to her mother?  

3)  In what ways is this connected to human rights?  How is this related to Math? Sports? 

4)  What if this story was of a young man?  What if this paves a way for younger citizens to be elected?  How would this story be different if she studied biology?  

5)  What is the significance of this event?  What are the long term consequences?  On which issues will she most likely be effective?  To what degree will the future of Scotland be affected?     

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the youngest rulers of all time and rank their effectiveness or trace their rise to power.

2)  Students can write a fictional diary of a citizen living in country where there are age maximums for public service.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Modern Day Treasure Hunt goes Awry

$2 Million Treasure Hunt "Out of Control"


This undated photo provided by Forrest Fenn shows a chest purported to contain gold dust, hundreds of rare gold coins, gold nuggets, and other artifacts.


http://www.newser.com/story/206208/hunt-for-authors-treasure-chest-out-of-control.html

1)  Why should we believe that the clues are real?  The treasure itself?  Do you believe his reasoning for the contest?  Why? What questions of evidence in this article are not associated with the treasure itself?

2)  Why might his relatives feel differently than others about this contest?  To what degree should the New Mexico Tourist Board promote this contest?  Why might the director of a non-profit feel differently than a stock broker about this?

3)  How is this connected to gym class?  In what ways is this connected to "pirate treasure hunts"?  Is this more geography or math?

4)  What if someone else got injured in the search?  What if it's never found?

5)  What are the long-term effects of this story?  What should be done by the person who finds the treasure?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the value of the coins and create an itinerary to find the treasure and see if it is worth it?

2)  Students can compare this to famous searches for treasure (real or fiction) and rank which would have the highest value?


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Asking PBS to Ignore Slave-Owning Family Past

Ben Affleck Asked PBS to Not Televise Family Past


Was8359312
Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/04/19/ben_affleck_asked_pbs_to_ignore_slave_owning_family_past_in_finding_your.html

1)  How do historians get a sense of the past?  What is the most reliable evidence in genealogy?  To what degree should you trust a historian hired by PBS over one from the History Channel?  

2)  Why might Ben Affleck want to have his ancestors' activities hidden from the public?  Who might take offense if Ben Affleck has slave-owning relatives?  Why?   Why might someone be more likely to see his next movie because of his request?  Less likely?  Why might an employee at ancesty.com be excited at this news?          

3)  In what ways is genealogy connected to the Batman story?  How is this connected to science?  To the debate of whether to call the actions of Turks against Armenians 100 years "genocide" or not?    

4)  What might happen if the information was shown on TV?  What if celebrities are hesitant to go on these shows for fear of public response?

5)  To what degree are we responsible for the actions of our ancestors?  Can injustice be meaningfully forgiven many years after the fact?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students will research their own backgrounds and pick out their most admirable ancestor and the one they might be most likely to keep hidden.

2)  Students may create a fake family tree for a favorite fictional character and describe in biographical detail two ancestors that the fictional character would want to highlight.

3)  Students can research "pedigree collapse" and describe in mathematical terms why it's virtually impossible to not be related to a random celebrity (political, movie, sports, historical)


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Basketball Teams Competing to Lose

Tennessee Girls Teams Banned from Post Season



http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tennessee-girls-high-school-basketball-teams-banned-both-trying-throw-n312011

1)  What evidence is most credible in determining if these teams were trying to lose?  Is this cheating?  What information would help you determine this?  To what degree is the referee's judgment more important than a parent's?  Is a $1500 fine enough?  How do you know?  

2)  Why might a referee feel differently than a coach in this game?  Why might a 5th grader playing basketball feel differently than a senior on this team?  How might one view this differently if they hated sports?

3)  In what ways is this connected to taking a test in math class?  In what ways is this like a parent letting their child win at a board game?    

4)  What would happen if they competed to the best of their ability?  What would happen if they cancelled the tournament?  What is another strategy they could have used to avoid playing a more difficult team?

5)  What are the short term consequences of this game?  Long term? Have you ever been in a situation that required you to not perform your best?  Is this a bigger issue than just one basketball game?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research and present a list of sports cheating scandals and make an argument for this situation being on the spectrum of offenses.

2)  Students can create a variant of basketball that requires them to score the fewest points and create a mock training/instructional video for recruitment.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Exoskeleton Boots Put a Literal Spring in Your Step

Ratchet Boots Make Walking 7% Easier

(Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering)


1)  What are the main components of the prosthetic?  How do you know?  What is the best way to test the device for widespread use? What evidence would be most compelling in convincing your gym teacher that these should be used in class?   

2)  Why might an athlete view this differently than a military veteran?  In what ways might someone from the 1800's view this differently than someone from today?  

3)  To what degree is this related to history more than art?  How is this connected to religion? 

4)  Is there a reason these should be banned?  What would happen if we had similar devices for all limbs?  What might happen if they were only for children?  

5)  In what ways would you benefit from this device?  Who might benefit the most?  What are the long-term effects of this device on people and then society?    

Extension Activities:

1)  Students create a chart of the most beneficial "wearable tech" (glasses, shoes, watches,  Google Glass, etc.)  and rank them according to intrusiveness.  

2)  Students can write a day in the life of a teenager who lives in a world that has adopted mandatory use of these devices.  



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Parents in India Helping Students Cheat

Astounding Images Show Indians Climbing Walls of School to Help Students Cheat screen_shot_20150320_at_9.50.12_am

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/03/20/india_school_cheating_wall_climbing_photos_videos.html

By Ben Mathis-Lilley

1)  How do we know these parents are cheating?  What evidence could convince you that this was not cheating?  What is cheating?  Is it always wrong?  How do you know?  Could you believe this was an attempt to promote collaboration?    

2)  Why might Americans and Indians view this incident differently?  Why might a gifted Why might a student from a low-economic family view this differently than one from a wealthy family?  A gifted student versus a student in mainstream classes?  

3)  How is this connected to history?  How is this connected to ethics?  In what ways is this connected to lying about academic credentials?

4)  What if this was in Ohio?  What if this one test determined their economic futures?  What if this was a way of showing support?

5)  What are the long term consequences of this incident?  What are the long term consequences for cheating in your school?  On your sports team?  Should there be harsher penalties for cheating in school?

Extension Activities:

1)  Student create a hierarchy of cheating using scenarios and then distribute their survey to other classes, friends, and family and then analyze the results.

2)  Students can research famous cases of academic cheating (plagiarism, Atlanta standardized test case, cheating on military officers' tests) contrast the incidents, and try to solve one of the issues for future students.




Cervantes' Tomb Discovered

The Remains of Spain's "Prince of Letters" Found

Initials M.C and other parts of the box found at the convent in January 2015

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31852032

1)  What evidence is cited in the article?  What evidence would be most convincing to scientists?  His fans?  Who should pay for the exhumation?

2)  Would a scientist, author, historian, or mathematician most likely find this more interesting?    Why might a Spanish student view this differently than their British counterpart?  Why might some find this disrespectful?  Why might a Mexican student view this differently than a Canadian?  

3)  How is this connected to TV show depicting modern forensic crime scene investigations?  How is this connected to dinosaurs?  How is this connected to literature?

4)  How would this be different if it was Shakespeare?  A Chinese author?  What if Cervantes' body was never found?  What if the body was damaged even further during exhumation?

5)  Why is it important to find the bodies of historically significant individuals?  What are the long term consequences of this discovery?

Extension Activities:
1)  Students can research and identify the most important authors from a variety of languages and countries and present their "Cervantes of their country".

2)  Students can track the similarities and differences of famous grave-site discoveries and mysteries.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

3 Men Get Bionic Hands

Advances in Prosthetics

Milorad Marinkovic shows his bionic arm as he poses for a photograph at his home in Vienna earlier this week.
 (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27024-men-have-hands-amputated-and-replaced-with-bionic-ones.html#.VO-QIi7CDIU

1)  How do we know what is true in science?  Is there evidence that this is a promising treatment for many amputees?  What percentage of a body can be replaced before questions of humanity arise?

2)  Why might a person in thee military view this differently than someone who is related to a person born with no arms?  Can I look at it from the recipient's viewpoint?  How is my own experience limited in this story?  How is it related?

3)  How is this connected to sports?  To the military?  Video Games?

4)  How would history change if famous amputees had bionic prostheses?  What if our government banned these prostheses?  What if the government diverted massive funding to researchers studying this?  

5)  Why is this significant?  Is there something more important I should be considering?  If this doesn't affect my life, whose will it impact?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can outline the development of prosthetics and predict future trends and their social impact.

2)  Students can consider "The Ship of Theseus" and draw connections to prostheitcs and ideas in transhumanism.



Friday, February 20, 2015

What Happens When You Stop Checking Your Phone? (Video)

Creativity Happens When You Stop Checking Your Phone

Image result for mobile phone


http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/385434/creative-ideas-happen-when-you-stop-checking-your-phone/

-The Atlantic

1)  How many times is "too many times" to check your phone in a day?  How do you know?  What other relevant numbers would help us understand this issue?  Is boredom good?  How could you prove boredom and creativity are correlated?

2)  Why might parents feel differently about this than students?  Why might Nigerians feel differently about this than Canadians?  Whose perspective is most relevant in instituting a school-wide policy on mobile phone use?

3)  How is this connected to science?  How is this connected to math?  In what ways is this issue similar to the rise in popularity of printed materials?  How is it different?  Are doodling and checking Instagram related?

4)  What would happen if your school instituted a policy of "no mobile phones" in your school?  What if parents were held legally responsible for their  child's boredom levels?  What would happen if a "pro-boredom" campaign was instituted at your school?

5)  In what ways is this relevant in your life?  Do you think about your own phone use?  Do others comment on your phone use?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students monitor, chart and present their mobile phone use.  They develop plans for increasing or decreasing their current use as they see fit.

2)  Students write "alarmist" articles about older technologies where where they warn users of the potential effects of over-use (i.e. microwave, automobile, internet)