February is Black History Month. A request…

I aspire to be interdisciplinary, relevant, and informed.  Will you help me learn? 

February is Black History Month.  I coach young learners through algebra.  I facilitate experiences for adult learners engaged in conversations concerning pedagogy and technology. 

During the Age Estimation lesson on Super Saturday, an idea popped into my head and out of my mouth.  February is Black History Month.  The age estimation activity is a great engaging math lesson for statistics and numeracy.  Could we combine the two?  Could we compile photos and birthdates of famous living people that our students should know? I suppose I’m trying for current events rather than history. 

I mentioned this twist to the age estimation lesson as a possibility with the dedicated Super Saturday teachers and they agreed.  That was going to be it for me.  I dropped a seed; would it grow?  Well, yes…I want to “grow” it.  I woke up this morning wondering how I could at least get this lesson started for my learners, my 13-14 year-olds and the adult learners I worked with on Super Saturday.

How many of our learners have heard Nelson Mandela speakMaya Angelou?

In 1998 I had the privilege of hearing an astrophysicist speak on why Pluto should not be a planet at the PAESMT dinner.  He said that there were only 3000 astrophysicists and he was the only black astrophysicist at that time.  He challenged us to consider the probability of being in the room with him that night.  In an interesting turn of events, the next morning I flew from Washington D.C. to Minneapolis in the seat next to his on our Delta flight.  As we deplaned, I turned and asked him what he thought the probability was of my having dinner with him the night before and being assigned the seat next to him this morning.  Cool, huh?  Yes, but I don’t remember his name. 

I want my students to know more than I know.

So here’s where you can help.  

  • Will you help us find the name, birth date, and link to a photo of a living person to be celebrated during Black History month. 
  • To enhance the lesson, we could also benefit from a link to a biography and/or a video. 
  • The math part of the lesson works best for algebra if there is a wide age range.

If you are willing to help, will you please contribute to the shared Black History Month Age Estimation Google Spreadsheet?  If you contribute, would you leave contact information, either your Twitter handle or an email address?

I should say that while we welcome sports figures, musicians, and actors, I am hoping for other contributions too.  For example, I selected John Hope Bryant.

I will organize the images and birth dates on a Google presentation or PowerPoint presentation and share.  My thought is that as we facilitate the age estimation lesson we could have our learners journal anything they know about these people.  Then every day we could take a few minutes in class to show part of a video or a biography.   

Do you think we could find other teachers of our learners that might extend this activity into their lessons?  What could our colleagues teaching our learners English, history, science do with this lesson or a modification of this lesson?

Will the power of sharing information through social media enhance and improve learning for all?


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