11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… how blackboards transformed American education. Read of the week!

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For new technology to be adopted, it needs to enhance the work teachers are already doing.
Photograph courtesy National Geographic

We don’t often think of blackboards—or even computers—as technology. What about rocks?



… recycled Scottish Christmas trees are not going to a landfill. They’re going to a sandfill, and helping mitigate coastal erosion.

Christmas trees make great mulch!
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic

How might recycled Christmas trees help create a living shoreline?



… what the numbers actually say about refugees. Not what you think.

Wow! Is this a fantastic graphic.
Graphic by Declan Butler and Jasiek Krzysztofiak, Nature

What are refugees?



… why birds are worth protecting.

They help the environment, they help our souls.
Photograph by Christianus Fabbri, National Geographic My Shot

Did you know it’s the “Year of the Bird”?



… we need to start thinking about coding as a viable blue-collar industry.

What if we regarded code not as a high-stakes, sexy affair, but the equivalent of skilled work at a Chrysler plant?
Photograph by Kevin Ku, courtesy Pexels. Public domain

Get your students coded for success!



… the architecture of Guinea Bissau reveals the nation’s complex history.

The presidential palace of Guinea Bissau reflects the country’s colonial history.
Photograph by Colleen Taugher, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-2.0

What other architectural styles indicate a region’s cultural history?



… the weird, lumpy composition of Earth’s mantle.

The Earth is divided into three main layers: the dense, hot inner core (yellow), the molten outer core (orange), the mantle (red), and the thin crust (brown), which supports all life in the known universe. Download a PDF version this poster here!
Illustration by Mary Crooks, National Geographic

What is the mantle?



… the equally weird history of witches. Example: “Though it may seem strange to us now, that the devil came as an apparition of a butterfly was very old news in 1664.”

The oldest image of a witch riding a broom is from a 1491 French manuscript called Le Champion des Dames by Martin le France.
Illustration by Martin le France, courtesy Wikimedia. Public domain

Could you survive the most famous witch hunt in history?



… what Minecraft can teach us about economic geography.

Build your own world. Build your own economy.
Photograph by SkyeWeste, courtesy Pixabay. Public domain

Where is Minecraft required curriculum?



… the literary legacy of shipwrecks, shipwrecks everywhere.

Shipwreck in the North Sea, by Ivan Aivazovsky, courtesy Wikimedia. Public domain

What does a shipwreck tell us about the slave trade?


… China shut down its ivory trade.

How do you think China’s ivory ban will impact the illicit trade in ivory in Africa?
Map by Virginia W. Mason, National Geographic

What are the economics of the illegal ivory trade?

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