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yin yang cornona virus by .
The Covid-19 pandemic changes health outcomes in both negative and positive ways. Working from home may reduce Mary’s risk of death from a car accident, and lower her likelihood of catching Covid-19 or a cold. But while he may never contract Covid 19, how will her health be affected if she can’t see her doctor, afford and obtain her medicine, or talk with a mental health professional about her depression? While we are drawn to focus on the death count and positive tests for Covid-19, we also need to consider the impacts of this crisis on the wider population.

Covid-19 has laid bare the inadequacies and inequalities in our social, economic and health systems. If we can shift our
health resources and adjust our emergency responses and our health and social system to care for all, then the lessons of this terrible and dangerous pandemic may save many lives.

Celebrating Earth Day Gifts

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Die-In Wheelabrator 2020-13 1200x by .
Protesters urge Mayor Young to file a legal appeal to protect the Baltimore Clean Energy Act during a Die In on Earth Day. They held the protest near the Wheelabrator garbage incinerator in Baltimore to draw attention to the health effects of the air pollution produced by the plant. Wheelabrator is the largest single source of air pollution in Baltimore. The City filed their appeal on the same day.

Happy 50th, Earth Day

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earth-day-1140px by .
Funny, how you’ve been around for 4.543 billion years and we’ve just now started celebrating your birth five decades ago. And mostly we’ve started counting because we’ve noticed that we’ve been rough on you.

So here is a toast to you and all that you give us, like life, breath, beauty and the caress of wind and waves. Maybe this next year. we will try harder to be worthy of you and worthy of ourselves. Love to you, Mother Earth.

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Going Viral, how our health care, economic and political systems will adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, the virus seems to have been as lethal to our health care, economic, and political systems as it has been to individuals. How will we adapt our lives and our systems as we move through this pandemic?

Can Math=Fun?

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Ever fill a high school cafeteria on a beautiful Saturday morning with 5th graders looking forward to 4 hours of math?  The Ingenuity Project in Baltimore, Maryland did.

The genius was to use Mathopoly  and math competitions to challenge the students to solve problems while they were having fun.

In the high school gym a wrestling takedown tournament was challenging students to throw their opponents to the mat.  Here in the cafeteria, students were wrestling with their understanding of math operations and concepts with the sharp concentration and competitive eagerness of athletes.  

Enjoy watching their concentration and jubilation.

The “No” Hypothesis

 “I don’t think it will work”. 

was neatly printed across the answer box, under the word, hypothesis.

I looked up from her worksheet, bent my eyebrows into a question mark and punctuated it with a “huh?”

The student shrugged a shoulder, but her face was sure and solid. “ I don’t think it will work.”

“Nothing is going to happen.”  Her tone wasn’t angry, or even disappointed.  Just calling it the way she saw it.  Seemed like she’d seen a lot of “nothing is going to happen,” and this just seemed like the next one in line.

We’ve been working in her class to help students study and improve the conditions in their school.

We’ve talked about things students wanted to change at their school and how we can study them, and innovate to create improvements.  One group of students wants to make school lunches better.  Another group wants to find a way to control the temperatures in their classrooms.  A third group wants to reduce asthma triggers and asthma attacks.

This student had noticed that the bathrooms were a mess.  Some of the sinks didn’t work. The toilets were often plugged up, and toilet paper could be missing.  Sometimes there wasn’t even a bathroom monitor around to open the door.

Her project was to check the bathrooms and report on their condition to the janitor and the bathroom monitor. 

But “nobody’s gonna do anything.”, she said.  Matter of fact.

Science is supposed to be calculating and methodical. Just the facts, based on what we know.   Based on a long line of “nobody’s gonna do anything,” her hypothesis that “It won’t work” is a likely outcome.

But the soul of science and innovation is hope—that we can find ways to make things better.                        

Poor health and learning conditions in our schools steal from our children. When students swelter through heat waves and shiver in the winter; when poor ventilation and asthma triggers sap the energy and health of students, there are no sirens that alert us to this theft.  No data is collected to show us the loss of potential caused by these conditions.  In the city with the highest asthma rates in the state, we don’t even track absences due to asthma at our schools.

When these poor conditions become the expected norm, it breaks the hope which is fundamental to science and education.   If nothing’s going to happen, why try?

I don’t know which hypothesis is more likely to prove true.

 But whether students can create their own improvements and hope in Baltimore schools—that’s a very important experiment.  Science teachers, consider trying it with your students.