We learned about how to conduct spatial analysis by making factual conclusions based on the data from maps. By analyzing several maps, we can see how different factors, such as % of population living on less than $1 per day, and the % of undernourished population. We can then conclude, that countries that have a high % of people earning less than $1 per day are more likely to have undernourished populations. This can be done between most any of these maps.
Based on the developments of the last 3 days, Japan’s potential nuclear meltdown seems to be emerging as the most significant challenge facing the country at the moment.
Here are a few links to help you understand how nuclear power works and why the reactors are facing a potential meltdown.
One of the best videos I have found explaining the situation:
Link to Industrial Revolution:
In class over the past 2 days we have been discussing the Industrial Revolution. We have discussed how virtually everything that we see, own, and come in contact with is the direct byproduct of the Industrial Revolution.
We have discussed the question: How did the Industrial Revolution lead to the nuclear crisis that Japan faces at this moment?
Answer (one explanation at least): The Industrial Revolution marked a dramatic shift from agricultural living to the urban, 9 to 5 work, have to earn money to live, must have power to fuel our society that we live in today. Our need for power/electricity to fuel an industrialized country has led to innovations in nuclear power. Ultimately, the risk of nuclear, radioactive contamination, which had been demonstrated by Chernobyl, was seen as worth it in exchange for the steady, non-polluting stream of power that comes from nuclear power plants. For the most (98%) part, nuclear power has been relatively incident free. However, it is natural for us to look at what is happening and ask whether any source of power is worth the potential radiation contamination that faces Japan, and possibly, the West Coast of the US – and likely even more areas than that.
In class today we will review the historic tsunami that struck Japan over the weekend. The earthquake that caused the tsunami is one of the most 5 powerful earthquakes in the last 100 years. This tsunami has been one of the best documented – as there are ample video, eyewitness accounts, and news sources that we can use to analyze the challenges that Japan faces.
Focus Question: What is the most significant challenge that Japan faces in the wake of the 3/11/11 tsunami?
What will it take in order for us to be able to answer this question?
First, students need to define what makes a challenge significant. Is it based on difficulty to overcome, damage caused to the country? Develop a definition as a class of what significant means in this context.
Then we will review the background of tsunamis, as well as briefly review Japan’s unique history as the most tsunami prone country in the world.
Each student will be assigned a different news article to read and summarize.
Each of these news articles deals with a specific aspect of this tragedy; loss of productivity due to power outages, the possibility of an even more deadly aftershock, possible nuclear meltdown and wide scale radiation, huge financial costs, and a death toll that could top 10,000 – though many reports claim that this number could go up dramatically.
Students will be given one of the articles in expert groups of 2 or 3. They will read their article and summarize the significant challenge that their article represents. Expert groups will be given 4-5 minutes to discuss their article to make sure that they have the same idea and information regarding their challenge.
Expert groups will then be mixed in order that students summarize the main idea of their article to their classmates. While they are summarizing, each student takes notes on the graphic organizer.
Each student is responsible to summarize each challenge, what that challenge means for the Japanese people, and brainstorm what it will take to overcome this challenge. After each student has shared, each mixed group will have a discussion on which challenge they feel is the most significant.
You will conduct research online to identify one additional challenge that Japan faces in addition to the 4 we covered in class.
You will then evaluate which challenge you consider to be the most significant, and write a summary paragraph justifying your choice.
Extension (Worth 20 points): Students will identify a news article that correlates with their selected challenge and leave it in the comments of this post. In your comment, summarize the article and how it relates to the challenge you selected.