Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff has been around for while, in fact it's now been watched more than four million times. For those that are not familiar with it, The Story of Stuff is a twenty minute video that examines the cycle of production and consumption that exists with most consumer goods. The video is centered around questions examining how consumer goods found at discount retailers are produced at a low cost. The video is embedded below the "applications for education" section.

Since I first watched The Story of Stuff last winter there have been some additions to the website including video annotations, multiple translations, fact sheets, and a glossary of terms.

Applications for Education
The Story of Stuff is a good video to start a lesson about economics and or the environmental impact of consumerism. One way to make the story more relevant to students would be to have students identify the products within your classroom that have usable shelf-life of one year, two years, or five years.

Free Stuff for Everyone

If you love free stuff as much as I love free stuff, check out Go To Freebie. On Go To Freebie you can find free samples of everything from bath and beauty supplies to toys and school supplies. Go To Freebie has forums and feedback to share experiences and tips about the freebies.

Applications for Education
Go To Freebie could be a good resource for teachers that are looking for simple "prizes" to give away to students as recognition for levels of achievement. Something that I do with free samples at the beginning of each school year is give out free notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies as prizes in ice-breaking activities.

Exploring US History Through Images and Documents

George Mason University has posted online four units of study for US History. Each unit is based on images and primary documents. The units are divided by century pre-18th, 18th, 19th, and 20th. Each unit has a selection of images and or documents that are the focus of a series of inquiry based questions. Each item in each unit offers resources for additional study.

Applications for Education
These units could be used as individual student assignments or as group discussions in high school classrooms.
A related resource that could complement the units of study from George Mason University is the Picturing America series from the National Endowment for the Humanities.