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, November 20, 2014

App Maker Fired by Partner's Parents

App Maker Fired by Partner's Parents

(Photo via Complaint)

By Ellen Huet and Ryan Mac

1)  How much money should the partner receive?  What evidence would be most useful in helping decide the amount?  Should people this age be responsible for so much money?

2)  Who might have different perspectives on this issue?  Bill Gates?  Fraternity brothers?  The fired founder's parents?  

3)  How is this like Facebook's beginning story?  Apple?  McDonald's?    

4)  How would this be different 5 years ago?  10 years in the future?  What if they weren't fraternity brothers?

5)  To what extent should one's parents influence business decisions?  In what ways have social media apps replaced traditional media?  

Extension Activities

1)  Students report on the beginning stories of famous companies and draw connections between them.

2)  Students can create a policy for future tech startups on how to avoid these situations.

3)  Students can predict Yik Yak's success based on trends in social media apps.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The 2014 Word of the Year: Vape

Vape is the 2014 Word of the Year

Vape was chosen as the word of the year for 2014 in part because it provides a window "onto how we define ourselves," says Casper Grathwohl of the Oxford University Press. Here, women exhale vapor clouds during a competition at the Henley Vaporium in Manhattan.
Elizabeth Shafiroff/Reuters/Landov

By:  Bill Chappell

1)  What statistics do people use to support the claim that vaping is less harmful than cigarettes?  What evidence is the most salient for determining the harm of cigarettes?  In what ways have smoking habits changed over time?

2)  How might a child of smokers view this story differently than that of a non-smoker?  How might an employee of Philip Morris view this differently than a politician?  How might Barack Obama view this differently than his wife?

3)  What is a mathematical argument for more electronic cigarettes?  How is smoking like drinking soda?  Child abuse?

4)  What would happen if we banned all cigarettes?  All fast food?  What would happen if vapor cigarettes were given free to smokers?

5)  What are the larger implications of this issue?  Does the word of the year award have any significance in the larger society?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can outline the development of tobacco in America and predict it's future.

2)  Students can create a chart of addiction and advocate for policy action based on their findings.

3)  Students can  study the impact of the "Word of the Year" and rank the  most significant winners of the last 20 years.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Secret Service Blunders

Secret Service Blunders

A Belgian Malinois dog, part of the Secret Service's K-9 unit used for security at the White House, greets members of the Secret Service police on the North Lawn in this file photo.
 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


1)  What is an appropriate punishment for the security guards at fault?  Who else might be responsible?  How do you know?  Why does a president need so much protection?  Does President Obama deserve more than predecessor or successor?  Why or why not?

2)  How might the Secret Service have a different viewpoint than the Department of Homeland Security on the steps to prevent these types of incidents?  How do you think President Obama's family members feel about this incident?

3)  Has this ever happened before?  In other countries?  Who else deserves police protection?  Celebrities? Their children? Why might Alex form Target?  Who should pay?

4)  How could this story have been different?  What would happen if the Secret Service had a new oath?  What if a member of the Secret Service is not a supporter of the President's policies?

5)  What are the long term effects of this report?  Can anyone be protected all the time?  What would you give up for constant police protection?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can trace the development of the Secret Service as an organization and outline how methods of protection and responsibility have changed.

2)  Students can create a myths vs facts about the lives of the President's children and imagine how they might feel under constant protection.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

West Virginia Elects Nation's Youngest Lawmaker

West Virginia Elects Nation's Youngest Lawmaker 

West Virginia Republican State Delegate candidate Saira Blair campaigns at the Eastern Panhandle Business Association luncheon at The Purple Iris Restaurant in Martinsburg, Va., Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.
 (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
By:  Kris Maher

1)  What is an appropriate age for making laws?  What advantages (if any) did she have over her opponents? Disadvantages?

2)  Why might young people feel differently about this than older?  Who should feel more pressure to act now, teenagers or senior citizens?    

3)  To what degree can this situation be compared to the business world?  How is politics like sports?  Have 18 year-olds always had access to the job of law making?  

4)  What if she were 17?  21?  What if this was in your state?  What should happen if she quits college to become a full-time legislator?  What if she was a Democrat?  Libertarian?  Could this happen in other countries?  

5)  To which state other than her own is this most relevant?  What are the long-term impacts on her district?  The country?  

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can analyse the trends in age representation for their state's legislature over the last 20 years.

2)  Students can highlight instances of young lawmakers in the country/world and compare their similarities.

3)  Students can outline the key moments in American legislation that affected young people the most.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Elon Musk Explains the Hyperloop

Read Revealed: Elon Musk Explains the Hyperloop, the Solar-Powered High-Speed Future of Inter-City Transportation 

5 Habits Collaboration between Kyle Templeton and Seth Jaeger

Photograph by Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg

By: Ashlee Vance

5 Habits Collaboration between Kyle Templeton and Seth Jaeger
1. What makes you believe the hyperloop is a workable design? Why is Elon Musk a reliable source for determining the cost of building the hyperloop? Which teacher’s opinion of the hyperloop is most valuable to help you make a decision?

2. Who would be most likely to support the construction of the hyperloop? Who would be most likely to oppose it? How might this affect a person living in New York City? In Ozark? From 40 years in the future? What would Franklin Roosevelt have thought of this project? Ronald Reagan?

3. How is this connected to the topic of government? Which past inventor is Elon Musk most like? What might the economic impact be of constructing the hyperloop? What part of this deals with math? Physics? How is this like a bank teller drive through?

4. How would $8 per gallon gasoline change the feasibility of this project? What would happen if Springfield had a hyperloop that connected to Kansas City and/or St. Louis?

5. 5) To what extent would the hyperloop impact the environment? Would the hyperloop promote or discourage urban sprawl? Why? Would this project be a good use of tax dollars?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can compare/contrast major engineering projects (skyscrapers, canals) to the hyperloop and assess the impact of each.

2)  Students can compare Elon Musk to Tony Stark and rewrite a scene from Iron Man.

3)  Students can outline the math necessary to make the travel time feasible between various cities in the U.S. and beyond.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Facts About Billionaires

The “Typical” Billionaire Has $3.1 Billion and Other Fun Facts About the World’s Wealthy Elite

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

By:  Alison Griswold

1)  How do we know how many billionaires there are?  What evidence would help us determine why the average age of a billionaire has gone up?  How have historical trends of wealth changed in America?  How do you know?

2)  Who might have a more favorable opinion of billionaires:  a student in southwest Missouri or a student in New Delhi, India?  Who might have a less favorable opinion of billionaires:  An employee of Warren Buffet or your father?

3)  In what ways is being a billionaire like getting an A on a test? How is different?  How is wealth connected to philanthropy?  Is it only for the wealthy?  

4)  What would a list from 10 years ago look like?  1000? What would happen if there were no barriers to wealth accumulation (if there exist any at all)?  What would happen if wealth was capped at $999,999,999?

5)  How is this relevant to you?  How is it relevant to a stockholder in Berkshire Hathaway?

Extension Activities:

1)  Students can research the ways in which the richest person from each decade of the 20th century made their money and find commonalities and differences.

2)  Students can explore gender/racial/ethnic/generational issues of wealth accumulation and predict the next woman/African/Chinese/millenial billionaire.

3)  Students can create a list of ways to spend a billion dollars in a fixed amount of time effect the most change.