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15 October, 2011


The first time through the video, some kids were talking.  One girl yelled, “¡cállate! This looks interesting!”
So I started it over.

I had a random kid get out his phone and start his stopwatch.  Zooming out from the horn, I wrote the number 1,250,000 on the board, and asked them what they thought that number meant.  After a few guesses I told them it was the number of  children who die per year of hunger related causes.  Since many of our students really lack basic maths skills, and this is a math enhancement class, I had them figure how many died per month, then asked about the total for the last 3 months – since that’s the time period the video highlighted.

famine worksheet

We talked about how slope is a rate of change, so if we wanted to find the rate children die per week, we’d have to find out how many weeks there had been in 3 months, which we put on the x-axis.  We put 312,500 at the top of the y-axis, and figured the rate of change.  We repeated this for days, hours, and minutes.  They did a really good job!

At the end, we figured how many had died while doing this problem, based on the stopwatch time.  I told them for every A & B on tomorrow’s test, I’d donate $2 to UNHCR.

I had this slide ready in case they asked me where the Horn of Africa was. If nothing else, now they know Africa is not a country.

the "Horn of Africa"

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 October, 2011 15:13

    Though I’ve been teaching ELLs for 10 weeks now, I am still surprised at some of the words I confuse them with. Since they didn’t know the word “famine” at all, they really thought these people were cussing in the video. Perhaps the video would have been more effective with that bit of information, but they were pretty engaged nonetheless.

  2. 15 October, 2011 15:41

    New York Times learning blog idea:

    Have students brainstorm adjectives for hunger. Share the quote, “Hunger is an unforgivable disease, because it is curable.” Write curable on the brainstorm, then erase all the other adjectives. Ask: What does it mean that hunger is curable? What are the causes of hunger? What interventions can solve it? As students brainstorm ideas, write them on the board.

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