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11 Reasons Not to Ban Chewing Gum From Your Class (Hint: It's an Awesome Tool for Exploration!)

I read this and immediately thought to share with you. What a fun and interesting use of one of the things teachers mostly dislike seeing with their students. I love it!

Explore bubble-gum blowing by tying it in with academic subject areas!

Create a graph that shows how many students can blow bubbles vs. how many students cannot. Students who know how to blow bubbles can write a how-to to help peers learn the skill of bubble making. Students who have difficulty can write about how they think a bubble is made.

Geometry/3-D Solids
Students examine the shape of the gum out of the wrapper (cylinder or rectangular prism, depending on the brand). They compare the shape of the gum pre-chewed to making a bubble (sphere).

Instruct students to measure the length of the gum before and after being chewed. Have kids stretch their chewed gum out as far as they can and lay it on a piece of wax paper (make sure they have clean hands!). How long can they stretch it? Then, have each student blow a bubble and measure the diameter of it. Once they find the diameter, have them figure out the circumference of their bubbles.

Mean, Median, Mode and Range
List the students' circumference measurements on the board and have them figure out the mean, median, mode and range using the numbers listed.

States of Matter
solid - gum out of wrapper
liquid - saliva when chewed
gas - blowing a bubble
solid - chewed gum

Ask kids if they think the gum underwent a physical or chemical change.
(Answer: There was a physical change. Nothing new was created. Matter wasn't destroyed.)

Next, have them write about how their gum physically changed (density, color and temperature).

What made the gum get soft? Was it the saliva? Have kids place their chewed gum in ice water (or take a drink of ice water). They will notice that the gum will get hard. Does temperature play a role?

Predict: Will unchewed, chewed and chewed gum exposed to water have the same mass?

Lay the gum on a square of wax paper and compare it to a piece of unchewed gum. Then, weigh the gum that has been chewed and exposed to cold water. Did they all weigh the same?

Figurative Language
Have students describe bubble gum by using a simile or a metaphor.

Have kids invent a new flavor of gum! Then, have them write a recipe for their bubble gum. What will they call their gum?

Have students design a three-dimensional shape for the gum. Can they figure out the volume? Have the students design a logo and packaging. What is the area and perimeter of their gum's wrapper? How many pieces of gum does their main packaging hold? Where can you buy it?

How much will their bubble gum cost? Have the students create math problems, using the cost of their gum, to figure out how much money they would make depending on how many packs are sold.

History - Extra Credit
Students who research who invented gum and the art of bubble making get extra credit points!

Thank you Erin! {}
Erin Bittman is a student at the University of Cincinnati. She will be a student teacher in a multi-grade classroom in the fall (second and third grades). Check out her blog E Is for Explore!


Celebrate! World Teachers' Day 2014 : Invest in the Future, Invest in Teachers

Today, the world celebrates teachers as the future investment. In our usual manner, we dedicate a poem to all teachers around the world; especially to those in Nigeria working in conflict areas and most who are working with very limited resources. We celebrate  you.

If I could teach you, Teacher

If I could teach you, teacher,
I'd teach you how much more you have accomplished than you think you have.

I'd show you the seeds you planted years ago
that are now coming into bloom.

I'd reveal to you the young minds that have expanded under your care,
the hearts that are serving others because they had you as a role model.

If I could teach you, teacher,
I'd show you the positive effect you have had on me and my life.

Your homework is to know your value to the world,
to acknowledge it, to believe it.
Thank you, teacher.

By Joanna Fuchs

Teachers are an investment for the future of countries. What today’s children will face in adult life cannot be predicted and so the teachers of today and tomorrow need the skills, knowledge and support that will enable them to meet the diverse learning needs of every girl and boy.

This year on 5 October , we celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Teachers’ Day. The day commemorates the adoption of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of teachers in 1966. This recommendation is morally binding for all countries.

In many countries, the quality of education is undermined by a deficit of teachers. 1.4 million teachers are missing in classrooms – and they are needed to achieve universal primary education (UPE) by 2015, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

Added to the challenge of numbers is one of quality: all too often, teachers work without resources or proper training. The stakes are high, because we face today a global learning crisis, with 250 million children not acquiring basic skills of reading and writing.

As countries accelerate towards 2015 and the new development agenda is shaped, it is essential that teachers remain a priority.


HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! Nigeria: Through the Lens of the School Teacher

Happy Independence Day to every Nigerian from The Learning Craft. My thoughts today are focused on what our future is looking like and I'd like to view it from the lens of our teachers. It is my hope that we can truly attain sustainable educational growth in a short time to come.

"The figure of the school teacher may well be taken as a central symbol in any modern society"  - Richard Hofstadter

Many decades ago, the average public school male teacher was easily recognised by his very well tailored,  crisp and gatored pair of shorts matched with a glistening white shirt. The female teacher obviously cleaned up nicely in smart flowy gowns and skirts; suffice to say that they were usually very well spoken. They almost mirrored what the economy looked like in those times, full of milk and honey, bustling with hope and fruitful prospects.

Teachers, to some extent are always conceived by others, by expectations and fantasies of students and demands of parents, administrators, policy makers, politicians and to all of whom we all are as the "other". But we quickly forget that we are formed as well by their and our own internalized histories. 

Rolling forward the decades to today's Nigeria, that very image or figure of the school teacher is very different. Teachers are largely unexpected to earn a decent living, ride in comfortable vehicles, live in decent homes and possibly unexpected to even speak our official language (English) impeccably! But, does that not also mirror what our economy now looks like? Today, many still do not expect that our schools can become better....yes, I hear that a lot!

We are certainly quick to also forget that teachers can become witnesses to the notion that intelligence and learning can lead to other worlds and not just the successful exploitation of ours. And what better place to begin than promoting a process of empowering the country's teachers! 

Yet, so much is expected from teachers! The pressure upon them is enormous to effectively do their jobs against all apparent odds - financial, societal, economical, cultural and political. A job they most likely would record low successes. A case in mind is the last results of WAEC where to my surprise most people blamed the teachers for the poor results without associating their so called 'lack of performance' to the system that has retained them in the midst of institutional loopholes.

While we wait for new and well-regulated reforms to be made across all the states of the Federation; what we see in our public school teachers, and I mean in the larger part of Nigeria, is a snippet of what our country was, what it is, and hopefully what is to come! 

I believe that we have a better tomorrow because we are better poised to bring about a much needed change in the midst of a multitude of support from international agencies/institutions around the world. And...yes, we can!