Database educating increases student engagement and motivation by increasing curriculum relevancy. The following example shows database educating being used to create powerful 21st century learning experiences.
- First, an ELA teacher starts with a big question like, how much electricity can I get from wind at my home?
- Then she explains why we need to answer it. Using real world data and application of standards-based math skills, students learn first hand that oil is a finite resource and will be used up within their lifetimes.
- Students read a news article about how Mexico’s Cantarell oil field (once the second largest producing field in the world) is in rapid decline.
- The teacher leads an engaging discussion of how Cantarell’s decline is affecting the people of Mexico. Then she asks, “How will this affect us here in America?” A discussion of supply and demand ensues and the teacher shows a chart that correlates Cantarell’s decline with the recent $140/barrel spike in crude oil. Then the class discusses other variables that might affect the price of crude oil.
- Students move to math class where the teacher says, “today we are going to use our knowledge of volume of a cylinder and area of a circle to answer the question your ELA teacher presented.” He opens the class by asking what is a molecule followed by a discussion of kinetic energy.
- The teacher then hands out a reading that explains Betz’ law and the efficiency limit of a wind turbine.
- The class breaks into groups to determine the power of air using a formula, which requires applying their knowledge of area of a circle. They then apply their math skills to a second formula to determine how much electricity can be harnessed from the wind.
- Students use real world data to determine the wind speeds at their home and calculate just how much electricity can be obtained. Then they compare it to data of average home electricity use in their state or actual data from their home.
- A final calculation is performed to determine the percent of electricity that can be provided by the wind turbine.
- Teacher asks, “Give me two good reasons why wind turbines are not on every house?” Students think critically about wind power before answering the question.
- Math teacher closes the lesson by linking math skills to the skills and abilities needed by an electronic equipment assembler, which is a job that assembles home mounted wind turbines.
The value of this 21st century learning experience is that it is interdisciplinary, multi-topic, builds information literacy skills, demonstrates application and value of learned educational standards, makes learning real and relevant, and provides teachers with a new educational medium to be more effective at engaging all students.