Create Your Own Celebrity Ice Cream Flavor!

Ben & Jerrys is one of the premier ice cream companies in the United States. They are constantly producing new flavors inspired by celebrities and current events. Ben & Jerrys has managed to remain on the cusp of creativity for over 30 years. The objective of this lesson is to teach students how to create a business plan for a new, creative product.

What Can We Do About Gun Control Laws in the US?

In this lesson, students will brainstorm about what they can do to encourage the US government to enact stricter gun-control laws, and they will take action by engaging with the means of communication closest to them, and by getting in touch with their peers and political representatives. With what seems to be an increase in the frequency of mass shootings in the US, students have plenty of thoughts and reactions.

The Elements of Product Placement

The objective of this lesson is to have students look at existing product placements with a critical eye and develop a product placement plan for an existing product.

Product placements in movies and television shows have become quite a common practice in media. Companies commonly use product placements to promote their brands in an unconventional and sometimes hidden way. If you pay close enough attention to any movie or TV show, you can probably spot a few cleverly placed products ranging from sports drinks to electronics to clothing brands. An example of product placement can be seen in Steven Spielberg’s hit movie E.T. with his inclusion of Reese’s Pieces and television shows like American Idol, which has Coca-Cola logos strategically placed throughout the competition.

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Blueprint to a Mogul: Reaching Goals Like Shonda Rhimes



Shonda Rhimes is one of the most powerful people in television. As the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to get Away with Murder, she is the backbone of ABC. And ABC lets her do whatever she wants. When Rhimes was criticized for refusing to read notes from the executives on Scandal, she simply replied, “What were they going to do, fire me?”

Rhimes wasn’t always a powerhouse. In college, Shonda wanted to write world-changing novels like her hero Toni Morrison. However, she found that there was no point in aspiring to be like Morrison. As she put it, “I couldn’t be Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, because Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up.”

In 2002, she was a B-list screenwriter who had just adopted a child. While looking after the baby, she found herself watching a lot of network TV, including 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel.

Rhimes got where she is by writing what she wanted to see on TV. This makes her style, and even her genre, hard to pin down. Is Grey’s Anatomy a medical drama or a romantic soap? Is Scandal a romance, a political drama, or a conspiracy thriller? No one knows what to say about her work, other than that it’s something that no one has seen before.


In that spirit, this lesson isn’t about how to become TV mogul Shonda Rhimes, she already has that job. What you can do is put in the kind of work that Rhimes put in, to become a creative mogul on your own terms. This lesson will help you assess what you can offer to the world and figure out what you need in order to build a new creative empire.


X-Men: Are Mutants Already Among Us?


Evolution: The World Is Always Changing

The world is always changing, and all of us with it, some of the latest and greatest scientific discovery has been in the field of genetics and evolution. Since Charles Darwin’s first postulations of evolution through his studies of the adaptations of finches and other animals of the Galapagos Islands to the scientific ‘miracles’ happening in labs today like growing human ears on mice, the field has been met with hesitation and hostility. The study of evolution is truly groundbreaking and revolutionary in our own understanding of life itself.


Evolution in The X-Men Series

Evolutionary insights have also inspired astonishing stories like X-Men. The X-Men are children of the atom developed in comics during the 1960s. First titled as “The Mutants” Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were advised to rename the comic, as at the time most people didn’t know what a mutant was. The stories of the X-Men showcase the more fantastical possibilities of mutations and delve into the social issues they would face as a new class of life. Inspired by Darwin’s legacy, the X-Men even have a character named after him, whose mutant ability helps him adapt to survive!



Which Superheroes are Mutants?

But what is a mutant? Look no further than the immortal words of Lady Gaga, “Mutants are born that way.” Mutation is part of evolution, the process by which all the creatures in the world today became what they are. Mutations are fundamental changes to a person’s genetic code. The basis in the evolutionary truth of mutation sets X-Men apart as a long standing comic stories. The Avengers aren’t mutants, Tony Stark is a genius but impossibly so and not as a result of a genetic mutation as far as we know. Captain America and the Hulk are not mutants, although their powers do come from the effects of serums and radiation they were born as average (or below average) people. Hawkeye and Black Widow are just regular people and Thor isn’t even human to begin with.


What About Quicksilver?

Quicksilver on the other hand is an interesting case. He has appeared in both The Avengers and X-Men films. Just as he is in comics, in the X-Men films he is a mutant, he was born with the mutant gene which he inherited from his father Magneto. But in Avengers: Age of Ultron, his superspeed like his sister Scarlet Witch’s powers are the result of alien technology and radiation. Because 20th Century Fox owns the rights to the X-Men and the mutants, in the Marvel CInematic Universe they are known as “miracles” not mutants and Magneto doesn’t even exist. They are technically the same character with the same abilities just with completely different backstories and personalities, and only one of them is a mutant.



Born Not Made

In the X-Men films, all of the mutants are born that way, with their abilities manifesting at birth or near adulthood. The only other way mutations have been shown to occur is through the transference of other mutants, like Rogue, Viper, or Apocalypse. Though many believe her to be mutant, we probably will never know for sure, but either way Lady Gaga is right, mutants are born not made. In this lesson we will look at genetic mutations both fictional and real and try to answer the question – Are there mutants already among us?

What’s Your Food Revolution?

The objective of this lesson is to educate students on healthy food choices.
Jamie Oliver is one of the many health food chefs that are challenging the Department of Education’s lunch foods. He recently came out with a U.S. version of his highly acclaimed U.K. show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, where he visited Huntington, West Virginia, statistically one of the unhealthiest cities in the U.S. While he was there he tried to improve its residents’ eating habits by educating the towns residents through cooking classes, and showcases. In the second season Oliver visited Los Angeles, California where he continued his crusade to change school meals but was met with resistance.

“Vulcan?!?” What Would YOU Name Pluto’s Newly Discovered Moon?

In this lesson, students use facts about Pluto’s newly discovered moon to develop a name that they believe best suits this new space discovery. The name “Vulcan” won a recent online poll conducted by the astronomer who discovered the moon to become the moon’s new name. The name has not been officially adopted, however, so students are asked to come up with their own pop culture-related names that might better suit the moon based on facts students learn about it. Clips of Star Trek are used to teach about the name Vulcan and segue way into the lesson’s main activity.