Monthly Archives: December 2008

Desert Survival

If you liked the moon survival activity, try this one!

It is 1:00 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon at the end of May. You and your teammates have just finished a two-day training in Casablanca, Morocco. You are all on board a chartered, twin-engine plane that is destined for Dakhla, Morocco, a small town on the coast of the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1000 miles from Casablanca. At the beginning of the flight the Captain came on the overhead speaker and invited you to sit back and relax during the two-hour flight. The first fifty minutes of the flight were fine. Around this time the pilot comes back on the speaker to let you know that you are currently flying over the Sahara Desert and that weather reports showed a temperature high of 115 degrees. Approximately one hour and ten minutes into the flight, you hear a loud blast and the plane nosedives. Within minutes you realize that the cabin is losing pressure. When you look outside the windows, you notice that is dessert below is growing larger as the plane rapidly descends toward the ground. You notice that the only things you can see out of your window are some large boulders and miles and miles of sand. The pilot comes on once again to let you know that the plane has blown an engine and is therefore, indisputably, going to crash and so all on board should prepare for a turbulent, possibly fatal, crash landing. Within minutes the planes crashes and smoke and flames fill the cabin. All surviving passengers and crewmembers scramble to exit the plane before it explodes. Seven minutes after the crash, the plane explodes in a fiery ball that reduces it to rubble. With the exception of the airplaneā€™s captain and one crewmember, you, your teammates, one flight crewmember, and the co-captain have all survived the crash. Now you must decide how to work together to survive the desert climate and terrain, get help, and hopefully make it out of the desert alive. On your way of the plane, in the few minutes before it exploded, you and your teammates were able to salvage the items in the list below. It is May and you and your teammates are dressed in business casual for the hot summer months of Africa. With only the clothes on your back and the items pulled from the wreckage, how will you survive?

Rank the items below in order of importance and develop a game plan to help you get out alive.

1 Book of matches

3 Airplane blankets

20 Feet of nylon rope

1 Sewing kit

2 50 kg Tanks of oxygen

20 Cans of soda

1 Life raft

1 Bottle opener

1 Magnetic compass

1 Single-blade pocketknife

15 Gallons of water

3 Signal flares

1 First aid kit

1 Snakebite kit

25 Mini bags of pretzels

55 Mini bags of peanuts

1 Safety razor blade

4 Airplane pillows

Survival on the Moon

The year is 2040. You are a member of a space crew that was to rendezvous with the mother ship on the lighted surface of the moon. You experienced mechanical difficulties and your ship was forced to land about 200 miles from the point you were to be. During re-entry and landing, much of the equipment on your ship was damaged. Your survival depends on you reaching the mother ship. You will need to survey what is left that is useable and determine the most critical undamaged items that you will take for the 200 mile trip.

Your task is to look over the list below which contains the useable, undamaged items left on your ship, and rank them in order of their importance for your crew. Remember you need to rank each item in terms of its value in allowing you to reach the mother ship. Copy the list below or print out a copy. Place the number 1 by the most important item and keep going to number 15 which will be the least important. Be ready to explain why you have given each item the rank it received. Use your knowledge of the Moon and its environment to help you make your decisions. When you are done you can check how you did against the rankings given this same list by NASA. If you are doing this activity in your classroom, compare your rankings with other groups or individuals and hear their reasons for their rankings before checking the NASA list.

How close did you come? Were your top 5 most important and bottom 5 least important items (regardless of ranking numbers) the same ones as others in your class? Or the same as on the NASA list? (See link below.)

___ Box of matches

___ Food concentrate

___ 50 feet of nylon rope

___ Parachute silk

___ Portable heating unit

___ Two .45 calibre pistols

___ One case dehydrated milk

___ Two 100-pound tanks of oxygen

___ Stellar map (of moon’s surface)

___ Life raft

___ Magnetic compass

___ 5 gallons of water

___ Signal flares

___ First aid kit containing injection needle

___ Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter

NASA’s Ranking will help you see how well you did.

Voice Finder

What’s your niche, your groove, your life’s purpose? This is called “finding your voice”.

What am I really good at? ….this is talent
What do I love doing? ….this is passion
What does the world need that I can get paid to do? ….this is need
What do I feel I should do? ….this is conscience

Sean Covey created a voice finder map that students can use to reflect on what they want out of life. Click here to print it.

Grading Rubrics


What is a grading rubric? A rubric is a set of categories which define and describe the important components of the work being assessed. You will be assessed on 7 different parts of the make.a.difference project with the following rubrics. Along with the detailed descriptions and instruction you have received in class, using a rubric while working on the project will help you to stay focused and also know exactly what is expected of you. Feel free to print them out and grade yourself along the way to gauge how you are doing.

Facts Guideline

Feeling stressed about doing your facts? Here is a guideline to help you. The citing will NOT be required for the first set of facts that you have due on 12/15. In your revisions, you will be adding the citations, but if you have time and want to add them in before you turn them in, that is fine, too! All I did with my example was to copy and paste the information from easybib.

Sticky Note Gifts

Give every student enough sticky notes for every person in the group including the teacher. Tell them that they have all the money in the world and are going to give each person a gift. They are to write the names of the people on each sticky note and write what they would give them. Once everyone is done, call each student up one at a time and have the other students read their gift out loud and hand them a sticky note. Make sure to discuss the importance of choosing something that would be meaningful to the gift recipient.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

60 years ago this very day – after the horrors of World War II – the world came together at the United Nations to unanimously pass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This powerful declaration says that every human being deserves dignity, freedom and respect. It’s the first blueprint for global rights, establishing fundamental freedoms for every human being.

The UDHR set in motion a global movement that literally opened prison doors, shut down torture and execution chambers, and caused the downfall of the worst tyrannies.

60 years later, despite much progress, millions are still denied basic human rights. Many governments still show more interest in abusing power than respecting those they lead. For far too many, injustice, inequality and impunity are still the hallmarks of our world today.

But hope exists.