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Fun for the Environment November 21, 2009

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in Games & Simulations.
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Have you played “Dumptown?” An online game from the EPA that puts the player in the position of City Manager who is tasked with starting new programs that encourage recycling and waste reduction. The programs track how much waste is saved from landfills and how much money is spent on the programs too.  Dumptown would be a fun addition to units focusing on city government, environment and recycling.

Learning about Chocolate August 2, 2009

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in Web resources.
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Maybe it is because it is dinner time, but this entry is a fun tribute to chocolate. Whether it is for an interdisciplinary middle school unit or a foods class, economics, ecology, there are some really fun resources about chocolate out there.  The Field Museum has a great Chocolate Exhibition: Field Museumchocolate exhibition which explores the history of chocolate, the chocolate production process, and a just for kids section which includes trivia, crossword puzzles, recipes and more. There is also a great educator resource kit which includes 12 lesson plans for environment and culture which address economics, ecology, botany and culture and includes lists of resources, facts, recipes, and more.

To support its chocolate exhibition, The Field Museum also has three “interactives” focusing on chocolate: Step 3 of the Chocolate Production Process

1. Manufacturing Chocolate From Seed to Sweet. Explore a virtual cacao harvest and processing of the cacao, fun and informative. A learning log might be useful for students to journal about what they learn.

2. The Chocolate Challenge.  A trivia game of sorts that travels the history and international reach of chocolate.

3. The Cacao Farm. Explores the relationships between plants and animals in the rain forest and the growth of the cacao plant.

And who doesn’t think of Hershey’s when talking about chocolate? The Hershey’s website has a virtual factory tour, a large number of recipes, and the Hershey Communiy Archives guides the visitor through the chocolate creating endeavors of Milton and Catherine Hershey. From photos to patents to online exhibits about candy wrappers, this site holds a wealth of primary source resources relating to an historic “American” endeavor.