I had *such* nice project planned out for my class this year. I was told I had a bunch of hard science people and history people, and I came up with this subject of disasters, with this wonderful local focus. We would work with ed tech while researching the coming Cascadia earthquake.
Well, I got to my first class, and here’s what happened. The breakdown of students doesn’t work with earthquakes. These are teachers that have a certification in a specific area, and instead of a bunch of earth science and history majors we had this breakdown:
- Biology: 3
- Chemistry: 1
- History: 3
- English: 4
- Consumer Science: 1
- Phys Ed: 1
Oh my. Biology and Chemistry aren’t really the core of earthquakes. And English students are a THIRD of the class, and the literature options for earthquakes were just not that compelling.
So after talking about this with the students, we’re thinking of taking this in a different direction, and I wanted to see what people thought.
The idea is this: The Zombie Curriculum. An attempt to teach multiple subjects through the medium of ZOMBIES.
This idea was mentioned in-class off-handedly by a student, but the more I thought about it, the more it dug its way into my skull. The truth is that zombies intersect with almost everything.
Take human biology. Float a couple questions like “Can Zombies Feel Pain” and suddenly you have a class researching the nervous system.
- Chemistry? Well, Zombies get energy from some form of chemical process. What does that process look like? Is it possible they harness the energy from their own decay? How do we figure that out? And maybe Zombie-ism is chemical, right?
- Statistics. What’s the growth model for the zombie population? How do different assumptions and models lead to different predictions for when we hit peak zombie.
- Ecology. What’s the ecological impact of zombieism?
- Literature. What do zombies mean? Why are we obsessed with them? What are the hallmarks of the zombie genre and how does it intersect with the language of other genres?
- History. I have a bunch of students in class that want to look at things like the Spanish Flu, and how we react to infectious diseases. Do we end up the paranoid husks we see in zombie fiction?
- Sociology. Who bears the brunt of the zombie apocalypse? (Spoiler alert: it’s the poor and the historically underprivileged)
- Foreign Language and Culture: How is the concept of the zombie translated in other cultures?
- Business: What are the good business plans in a zombie apocalypse? Can we write a business plan for a growth industry?
- Psychology: How will PTSD affect the survivors of the apocalypse? And what does the world look like to a zombie?
Anyway, we’re looking at this option. Groups would research zombie issues and write up explanations that pulled in science, math, literature, and even physical education. We’d create a wiki on zombies that serves both as research into ZOmbies and a set of teaching materials of students.
Thoughts? Do you miss the earthquake idea? Do you like the zombie idea? Would you like to contribute to our zombie curriculum?