Archive for January, 2010

CES, Week 23: Food, Fuel and Water 1: Agriculture

January 31, 2010

So, when we were winding down last Friday, some of you guys were getting depressed about all these people. I think it’s wise to be a bit depressed, but I also think we should be hopeful. Our species is remarkably resilient. As the next two to three decades unfold we will have to deal with remarkable challenges, but we’ll get through it. If leaders make good decisions, and people make intentional, intelligent choices we can potentially have a healthier planet than we have right now.
This week we’ll begin looking at three of our species’ biggest challenges. How can we feed 6.3 billion people?

Monday (2/1/10): Exploring The Demographic Transition/Introduction to Global Agriculture
Tuesday (2/2/10): Introduction to Global Agriculture (cont)
Wednesday (2/3/10): Pros and Cons of Hi throughput agriculture and agrodiversity
Thursday (2/4/10): Field trip to the gardens (weather permitting)
Friday (2/5/10): What if there isn’t enough food? And one solution…GMOs
Monday (2/8/10): The science behind Genetically Modified Food

CES: Demographic Data is on sharepoint

January 29, 2010

I uploaded 3 jpeg (image) files to sharepoint. Go to the CES Lab data folder in my shared documents folder, and you will see three files each entitled “snapshot” with some ridiculous number attached to the word “snapshot”. Those are the files they want.

Have a nice weekend.

CES, Week 22: Human Demographics Continued

January 24, 2010

We will finish our investigation of developed and developing countries. Remember the driving question: Is there a distinct boundary between developed and developing countries? The bell interrupted our investigation last week, but we’ll pick right up where we left off. Interesting to note the near complete inversion of TFR and IMR for Somalia, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. The numbers are beginning to tell us the story of development. One thing I will push you on this week: what are barriers to development? As the class unfolds, we’ll be looking at how all these people get their food, their fuel, and their water.

Monday (1/25/10): Compare Economic Data across nations
Tuesday (1/26/10): Compare economic engines across nations (compare exports, imports, and connections)
Wednesday (1/27/10): In-class writing assignment: working on follow up questions
Thursday (1/28/10): Exploring The Demographic Transition
Friday (1/29/10): Campus Recycling, finish in-class writing assignment

CES, Week 21: Human Demographics continued

January 19, 2010

We will continue our data mining on Wednesday and we will spend the rest of the week trying to answer the Big Question for this unit: What is the point at which a country becomes “developed”? On Thursday we’ll figure out how to organize all your data, and we’ll start out trans-national analysis. On Friday, the work will continue.

Wednesday (1/20/10): “Data Mining”. Last day of in-class research

Thursday (1/21/10): Whole-class activity: what metrics matter, and how shall we compare these countries?

Friday (1/22/10): Continue  trans-national  comparison (short day, focus Friday.)

CES, Week 20: Human Population Growth

January 10, 2010

Last week might have been the shortest school week in history. 1.5 days. It makes finding continuity withinthe curriculum difficult (espeically with me at the helm). Never the less, we’ll continue focusing on the impacts humans have had on the natural capital that sustains us. We will spend at least two days looking at the factors driving exponential human populaiton growth, and you will begin individual investigations of  devloped and developing nations.

Monday (1/11/10): Finish discussion on Human impacts on Biosphere. Assignment: Specific examples of human impacts on biosphere.

Tuesday (1/12/10): Human Population Growth I

Wednesday (1/13/10): Human Population Growth II

Thursday (1/14/10): Human Demographics Assignment. Each student will pull two countries (one developed and one developing) out of a hat. Batering may insue. Expectations for assignment will be discussed.

Friday (1/15/10): Begin brainstorming Human Demographics Assignment/Determine timeline for completion/Campus recycling

CES, week 19: Human Population Growth

January 5, 2010

Welcome back, kids. I hope you had a restful break, and I hope you retained some of that good knowledge on the ecology of biomes, ecosystems, communities, and populations. ‘Cause let me tell you something…it is completely neccessary for understanding human population growth, and for understanding how humans use the natural capital available on Earth.

This week will be a quick introduction of the fundamental principles of human population growth, and the basic idea of developed and developing countries. Maybe we’ll get into the sticky topic of “transitional countries”. I know you all will enjoy this unit, and I’m sure it we will have some rich discussions.

Next week you will dive in deeper to human demographics by investigating a developing and developed nation in the same region. This project is similar to your boime project, but it focuses more on how humans use the natural capital, not so much on the natural capital itself. I will tell you more about that project next week.

So, without further ado…welcome to the spring semester

Wednesday (1/6/09): An overview of human uses of natural resources

Thursday (1/7/09): An overview of human population growth (warning…this is a data-heavy presentation).

Friday (1/8/09): Wrap up human population growth and campus recycling

apes: ripped from the headlines

January 5, 2010

…or should I say, headlines ripped from apes? I was at the local Chevron station on Sunday morning, buying a Diet Coke, and I looked down at the Birmingham News and guess what I saw. The front page article, just belwo the fold was about Birmingham’s current mayoral race and focused on regional cooperatoin and economic development. Sound familiar? It gets better. The first paragraph of the article compared Birmingham’s failures at reginal development to successes in Chattanooga and Denver. We talked about and wrote about these very things in our final project.

Remember what I said at the end of the year. The work we did was meaningful. The ideas and solutions you guys generated are meaningful. Use them as you move on to your next phase of learning.

BTW…the entire article is available in the followig link.