Monday, November 22, 2010

Real world connections with math and science.

While preparing for a workshop that would showcase math and science resources for elementary and middle grades, I became reacquainted with Our Living Earth : a story of people, ecology, and preservation by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (363.7 DeO 2008).  I’m really diggin’ it.

 It’s a slightly oversized book with eight chapters centered around big topics, each broken down to several smaller segments that touch on different aspects of the bigger issue.  Added interest is provided by lots of good photographs, especially of the oversized variety that I’m a big fan of.  In addition to the photos, I really think the small aside bubbles, containing pertinent statistics and facts are very interesting.
Here are a few examples:
-It takes nearly 2000 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef.
-Women perform two-thirds of the work in the world, but they only earn a tenth of the revenue.
-75 to 80 percent of ocean pollution comes from sources on land.
-0.66 gallons of water is needed to make 0.264 liters of Coke.
-A cell phone generates 165 pounds of waste.

I particularly love that these statements connect math and science together, making both more relevant to every day life and placing them (especially math) into a context. 

Some of the issues include water (conserving it, accessibility, pollution), use of the oceans (over fishing, sustainable practices for food production including fish farming), urban development (migration of people, community development, poverty), people (population, issues related to women, conflicts and causes of conflicts) and food (production of both meat and plant foods).

Overall, an appealing book to jumpstart some interesting math, science and social studies units.

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