Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The end of Zombie Apocalypse.... or is it?

I'm tying up loose ends, teaching this zombi apocalypse unit and I have to say... it was fun. The game of keeping up points along with intentional studies petered out.  Next year, I should hold a culminating event, a zombie prom or a zombie run but sometimes life get's in the way.  Right now students are invested in their performances in Shrek, The Musical, deer hunting season and the upcoming November holiday.
My quick assessment of success in teaching this unit: Students have developed a habit of paying attention to news events.  The impact of disaster became very real for some of our students following news events and the typhoon in the Philippines.  The idea of disaster preparedness was no longer focused on killing zombies but saving lives.  Two of my students fulfilled the unit requirement to bring attention to a global issue by putting up flyers about the typhoon.  These students also overheard both teachers and students in a meteorology course referring to the flyer, excited that different courses had shared studies.  Preparing for a zombie apocalypse is quite similar to surviving a typhoon. Access to 2 gallons of drinking water a day, food, shelter from exposure to elements become crucial to survival.   While I hoped rural Vermont students would learn more about the world, the study of population growth and a lesson in trend extrapolation really encouraged many students to want to flee to Vermont or other remote havens in the US. Students mapped their routes out of cities on a hall map.  My favorite escape plan was that of the community that relocated to Area 51.

Students enjoyed juxtaposing imagery and studies of facts with their fictitious survival plans.  Here is an excerpt from a student who is usually quiet and removed from collaborative studies.

China was built about 5,000 years ago for rich philosophers and Artists, now days its has a population of 1 billion people, held the 2008 Olympics, people's life expectancy is 72, and has aG DP per capita of $4,700. Which the Reason  why I would not stay there is the more people, the more zombies.
Day 1 - The First EncountersEvery one has died, but I don't care, because they were all worthless and weak, they only complain because scared, I think, and they didn't speak friggin' English. So I killed them, and some reason they transformed into a creature, which the cop who was arresting who's got attack by, and he yell "Jiangshi!!! Jiangshi!!!!!  我被攻击的一个灵俑" (I'm being attack by a zombie) people started running, as I said "Hey stinky" right to the zombie, then a guard to a near by palace through be a Ninja sword, and I sliced his cranium in half, and did the same to the 12 other zombies/Jiangshi. The people above clapped and cheer quietly, and I said "we need to find a cure, bring me to all your hospital, I need all you vaccines. I will find the cure" I then stated "not many of you will live, I'm afraid, but I will find a cure" people cheer quietly!!
Day II - We're All Screwed, well you are....After I visited every hospital, I got a crap load of illnesses, I learned from books and movies like World War Z, if you're mentally Ill, you're gonna live, so Injected by self with mental illnesses. Now a sick freak. Which is cool because Zombies  can't detect me. You all suckers!!!  Then I started building a zombie proof tour bus type thing, it had 45 beds, made of steel, solar Powered so it did not need gas, bullet proof one way windows, so the we could see outside but not in, I has a top bunker with weapons, it has a lower bunker of hiding, if a zombie somehow got in, the tires had 10ft razor sharp blades coming out each side, the tires were steel as well. It has a TV, Oven, Microwave, Fridge, two bathrooms, wifi, wall outlets and solar powered so I Always have electricity. It's called the Zombonie

Students chose many forms for their 3 day double entry diaries. Here is a sample of what one student accomplished after 2 days in our computer lab. It is missing the citations because it was not meant to be published. It was only meant to build contextual knowledge. The elements of how she identifies site/situation and push/pull factors with her fantasy of survival impressed me. I can't wait until this student receives her 1:1 iPad from our schoolwide initiative.  Think how much more depth and detail could be added if she had access to her document at all times instead of the limited time I accessed for her.   I like to think that the image of a survival outfit would be replaced with a sketch of her own
design.
Students and teachers were quick to notice on a community forum post the following survival courses coincided with our studies here in Hyde Park, Vermont. Wish I had the funds to somehow involve students. Maybe the instructors will become involved next year? 

This Saturday, November 9 from 10-3 at Hope Grows Farm in Hyde Park: Denise Krause, founder of Heartwood Wilderness Skills, presents Wilderness Survival Basics for Adults. Learn how to construct a warm emergency shelter, find and purify safe drinking water, make fire with ease, create rope from plant fibers, and keep yourself nourished! You will leave with confidence and an effective awareness of survival priorities. We will share primitive and modern skills in this workshop. Bring your own lunch. Cost is $50. Contact Denise Krause at 716-655-7622 or email deaheartwood@aol.com to register.
In conclusion, students seemingly seem to understand that cities of the world are a draw for greater concentration of our total global population.  They seem to understand that overpopulation is a global concern if food, water and other resources continue to face limitations.  Future projections concur that 5 billion of our total population will live in cities in the 15 years.  Are we prepared for this?
How do governments balance difficult decisions about limiting family size or providing enough food?
How do we use resources? What can people live without?

Their interest in preparing for a better future is the understanding behind the design of our next unit: commodities that transformed regional and cultural heritage. Cocoa, sugar, petroleum, salt, cod, rice, technology, banking... the list goes on and on..


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