Reflection: Diverse Entry Points CAPSTONE: Feeding 9 billion through sustainable farm design (1 of 3) - Section 2: EMPATHY: From Farm to Fork


Wikipedia is the devil, and twitter is its spawn.  That is the kind of reaction I have gotten to the idea of using either resource as a legitimate research portal in my classroom.  Is either resource a high-level peer-reviewed scientific journal?  Of course not.  But to hold the perspective that these resources do not have a place in a secondary STEM classroom is misguided.

First, and most importantly, both platforms embody an ethos inherent to this course.  Citizens are scientists!  They are also designers and technologists and mathematicians and designers.  These abilities are not so specialized that they are inaccessible to the "common" person. User-generated data, students' observations, amateurs' arguments can be, and, I would argue, often are, embodiments of content that supports conceptual understanding and skills development.  In asking students to use Twitter for research I am acting on these beliefs.  Twitter has amazing crowdsourced resources.  There are photo essays, great links, embedded videos, and insightful tweets (and yes 140 characters are enough to be meaningful).  Why would an educator not use this resource?  If you find the right hashtag you have potentially unlocked the greatest resource you will ever find!

A second important point is that using Twitter is social research.  There is a joy in the search; students connect with each other and people they have never met.  They realize very quickly that classroom content is not just something the teacher "wants us to learn." A vast community of interested, passionate, and fun people that think classroom content is valuable.  Twitter, in other words, makes obvious the realness of content in the actual lives of actual people.  This kind of social media research will often spark students' joy, interest, and passion in a way that annotating a research article will not.  If we want our students to be makers and doers, we have an obligation to acknowledge that there is a whole world of makers and doers.  Twitter is a platform that exposes students to this world while helping them learn content and making learning fun.

  Twitter research? Are you kidding me!?
  Diverse Entry Points: Twitter research? Are you kidding me!?
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CAPSTONE: Feeding 9 billion through sustainable farm design (1 of 3)

Unit 5: Food (biosphere and geosphere)
Lesson 22 of 24

Objective: By the end of the first part of the Food CAPSTONE experience, student will be able to 1) identify broad human needs that are unmet by the current global food system and 2) define specific problems that, if solved, would meet the food needs of the growing global human population.

Big Idea: The human population will approach 9 billion by 2050, but our current food system was not designed to sustainably feed so many. How might we apply our understanding of agricultural methods to feed 9 billion people in an environmentally sustainable manner?

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graphic feeding 9
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