MindNode for Mac and Diagnostic Assessments

This is the start of our new unit on Over-Population and the World we live in.  Over the course of three periods of study, we started this unit by Tuning In to what the students already know.  This unit will have a strong tech and critical thinking focus; and I used the following tools over the course of today's lesson:

MindNode for Mac

SmartBoard Notebook Software

Internet Browsing for Videos and Visual Graphics

Class Wiki for On-Line Reflection Journal

This unit was kicked off with a little critical thinking and visualization.  I presented an image to the class; a hand dropping fish food into a bowl with a couple of fish in it.  The food was more than enough to sustain the fish for three days, and after three days, the hand would reappear and drop more food into the bowl.  I asked the students to imagine they were fish.  What would life be like?  How would they survive?

After a couple of minutes discussion, I added ten more fish to the bowl (on the Smartboard, use the infinite clone option and copy the image).  They continued to talk and I jotted down key words like hunger, fight, sharing, shortage.  After another couple of minutes, I added fifty more fish to the bowl, and again listened and copied down key words that they said.

Once we finished this, I explained that this was a metaphor for the overpopulation of the Earth.  I printed off the Smartboard image and gave it to them, and asked them to label everything they saw in the image.  What do the fish represent?  The Bowl?  The food?  The water?  The hand?

Each student had their own interpretation, but for the most part this is what transpired:

Fish = People
Bowl = City or Planet
Water = Water, fuel, space
Food = Available food to humans

Once we got the Hand however, we had some difference of opinions. What does the hand mean? Whose hand is it? Why does it only give one scoop of food when there are more fish? Over the course of the rest of the unit, I hope that we will have a clearer picture of what the Hand is.


Next, I showed them the video 7 Billion, from National Geographic (http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/specials/sitewide-redesign/ngm-7billion.html).  We watched only the first half, which puts that large number into perspective.  The second half is all about how the inequities of our world relate to issues like Hunger, Power, and other top-topic issues.  I decided to not show this because we need to come to these conclusions on our own, not have them fed to us by the good people at National Geographic.

After the video, we looked at a graph that shows the massive population increase:


Then, I asked them a simple question; what accounts for the massive increase in population?  We had a brief discussion about our Ancient Civilizations unit that we finished earlier in the year, and imagined how life was better now than it was back then.  What factors would lead to more people?

Finally, they opened the program Mindnode on their MacBooks (I am in a 1:1 classroom, and Mindnode is a great freeshare mind-map program) and created a mind-map that hiligthed the main issues.  After finishing, we shared our maps and had a class discussion about the decisions we made, and made a reflection on the process in our on-line journal.