Seeing Past the Mirage: Theme Development and Word Meaning in Black Star’s “Thieves in the Night”

This lesson asks students to identify the central theme of a song called “Thieves in the Night” and analyze how the theme is developed over the course of the song. The lesson also prompts students to determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the song.

This lesson works toward fulfilling the following 8th Grade reading standards for literature, which are outlined in the Common Core State Standards:

8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

The Economic Impact of Hurricane Sandy

In this lesson, students think about the economic impact of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy, learn the difference between macro- and micro-level effects of natural disasters, and allocate funds to recovery efforts following Sandy.

“Old Skool” Video Game Design

Students will compare an old school video game to geometric transformations, and then design their own video game graphic using reflections, translations, and rotations.

Reimagining the Museum Diorama

In this lesson, students become familiar with the concepts and techniques involved in constructing the traditional museum diorama. Then, after seeing how contemporary artists are reinterpreting dioramas, students conceptualize and construct their own dioramas, incorporating themes and objects of interest and relevance to their lives.

Viscosity, Hydrogen Bonding, and Surface Tension in Puddle

In this lesson, students learn about viscosity, hydrogen bonding, and surface tension by examining a scenario based on the video game Puddle. In this game, players control a puddle of liquid and navigate an obstacle course by tilting the stage. A video of the game is used as an introduction to a diagram-aided discussion of viscosity (a physical principle that is important to Puddle gameplay) and its relationship to hydrogen bonding. The lesson closes with a fascinating water-droplet video that shows hydrogen bonding in action.

Portal Part 3: Velocity Can Be Terminal

Students are introduced to the concept of terminal velocity through the popular video game franchise Portal and conduct experiments to determine an object’s terminal velocity.

Classroom Top Chef: Making Healthier Eating Choices

The objective of this lesson is for students to understand the nutritional contents of food and how to make healthier eating choices.

Food labels appear on virtually every food item. We constantly see restaurants and food manufacturers churn out healthier food options. Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt and Lay’s Baked Potato Chips are both examples of food companies offering healthier options. Many of these companies have felt pressure to reevaluate their products and create healthier options. People like First Lady Michelle Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and chef turned TV personality Rachael Ray have all voiced their concern about the unhealthy food options available to the public and most importantly, the youth.

Examining Homophobia in Professional Sports

In this lesson, students will think about the assumed misalignment of professional sports and homosexuality, they will discuss and debate why it has been and continues to be difficult for professional athletes to come out, and they will critically examine the reasons why society defines professional sports by heterosexual standards.

Are There Limits to Acceptable Hip-Hop Lyrics?

In this lesson, students will analyze the lyrics of hip-hop artists Future, Lil Wayne and Rocko, whose music has created controversy with its references to violence against women. They will then debate the limits of acceptable lyrics against the freedom of artistic expression, and they will conduct a research project that identifies and critically analyzes other song lyrics that push the boundaries of what is socially and culturally acceptable.