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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Global Closet Calculator - A Lesson in Interdependence

Geography Awareness Week starts on Sunday. One of the National Geographic resources for this year's Geography Awareness Week that I think is worth giving a good look is The Global Closet Calculator.

The Global Closet Calculator is a two part interactive lesson on interdependence. The first part of The Global Closet Calculator asks students to identify the origins of objects from their closets at home. Students enter those items into the calculator to see a map of the origins of their closet items. Students can also see a map of the items entered by everyone using the Global Closet Calculator.

The second part of the Global Closet Calculator asks students to make decisions about the manufacturing of MP3 players and jeans. Students have to make decisions about the sourcing of materials and decisions about labor practices. A short video introduces the decision options. After making their decisions students see a short video that explains the potential implications of their decisions.

Applications for Education
The Global Closet Calculator could be a good lesson on interdependence for elementary school and possibly middle school students. Students don't have to complete the activity in one session because a restart code is provided to them if they need to quit half-way through the lesson. 

At the high school level you could take the concept of the The Global Closet Calculator and ask students to do some independent research on the material sourcing and labor practices used in the production of closet items. 

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