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?)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Asking PBS to Ignore Slave-Owning Family Past

Ben Affleck Asked PBS to Not Televise Family Past

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

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 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

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.