Breathing Earth

Sorry for the thin list of entries in the last week.  I could tell you some stories…but I won’t. So you are post – exhibition and while we could talk contract work, narratives, project and learning plans, but I got really excited at a website I found called Breathing Earth. It shows real-time the birth rates and death rates world wide and in specific countries. It also shows the CO2 production – greenhouse gasses. So I imagined some interactive small group internet based math advisory activies.

Possible Activities with this Site:

  1. Define and Explore: Rate.
    1. Rate – what is it? How can you calculate it? If you were asked to calculate a birth rate or death rate, what information do you need to know?  Do you always need two factors? Why? Rate formulas can be found here.
    2. Rate is used in biology, math, investment, schooling, physics, engineering, statistics, anthropology, etc. – just to name a few (maybe talk about how it can be used in daily life – or is used all around us).
    3. Birth Rate – How is this calculated? What does this mean? Why does this statistic matter?
    4. Death Rate – How is this calculated? What does this mean? Why does this statistic matter?  (What would looking at the birth and death rates of a country tell you?)
  2. Have different groups watch the population growth in different countries. Ask them to trace it over time and turn the hard numbers into a rate.  Xnumber of births over X amount of time  = rate.  You might have them do this for four or five periods of time and graph the rate.  (this is how we get to slope – not here, not yet – but this is the car that takes you there).  Have them play with these ideas and then share with other groups.  Make a class graph to look at the rates in different countries.  Have  a discussion about what this information means.  What conclusions can you draw (or not draw) on this info.
  3. What countries emit the most CO2?  (If students don’t know why that matters or what that stands for, discuss this.).  Have them play with the numbers.
  4. Have groups come up with their own challenge question for another group. (You can encourage them to work backward – watch the site for information to add as a question: If you watch the death rate over 10 seconds and then at 60 for X country, how can you figure out the rate?  What is it for this example?—etc.)
  5. Ask students to design their own activity based on this site for another advisory.



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