7.3 to 9.6 Billion
This is a culminating project for my 6th grade.
I write the number 7.3 billion up in a conspicous place on a white board about 3 weeks before I am ready to introduce the project. The students will notice and ask about the number. The only thing that I say is that it is a number and ask them to think what it may represent.
1 week before the I am ready to introduce the project, I draw an arrow after the 7.3 billion and then write 9.6 billion and leave it there.
Students are paired up into groups of 4-6 and given 5 minutes to discuss what they think the numbers represent. One of the members of each group will scribe the ideas onto the digital bulletin board, Padlet.
We then come together as a class and the teacher confirms or introduces the fact that 7.3 billion represents the population of planet Earth as of today and that 9.6 billion represents the projected population in by the year 2050.
The students are then informed that there are several issues that are directly related to population and that their beloved teacher will be retired and old enough to not be able to do anything to help solve any of the problems. However, their generation will have to deal with them.
4 Project Introduction
Start off this part of the lesson by showing the "Moonshot Thinking" video by Google: https://youtu.be/0uaquGZKx_0
Discuss how Google has a division called Project X thats sole purpose is to come up with their own moonshot ideas on how to solve societal problems. Project Loons, Google Glass, the driverless cars, etc.
From here, the students are informed that they will be using their list of problems to create their own moonshot thinking about how to solve problems.
They are then instructed to use the mindmapping feature in their LucidCharts account to list problems that they discovered and begin coming up with crazy ideas on how to solve them. After an initial list of ideas, they are then to share these idease with two other classmates. The moonshot ideas can be added to their mindmap, but they are instructed to not delete anything as this is an excercise in brainstorming.
5 Developing their moonshot idea
Start off the next day's lesson with the following video about Project Loon: https://youtu.be/m96tYpEk1Ao
On the day after the Project Loon video we open the class with driverless car test drive video: https://youtu.be/CqSDWoAhvLU
Students are continuiing to look at their list of problems and refine and/or add to their mindmap.
There are then given their assignment. They are to choose one of their moonshot ideas and present it to the class using any method that they deem will get their idea across. They can create a slideshow presentation, create a PSA using iPads, create a play, a collage, poster, write a book, etc. The only instructions here are that the problem must be clearly stated and their solution must be audacious and they have 4-5 class periods to create and prepare to present. The method in which they choose to present does not matter.
As a computer teacher, I am looking at the skills that they use to gather information, analyze, create, and present. Nothing more, nothing less.
The "Moonshot Thinking" ideas are then compiled for each class and posted on the classroom Moonshot board. Post-its are available for other students to add to these ideas and students are encouraged to continue to think about ways in which they continue to solve problems.