Trying to motivate some tweens and teens can be comparable to walking uphill, in snow, with no shoes on. Unless there are zombies involved.
In 2012, David Hunter pitched a Kickstarter Campaign to help him fund his Zombie Based Learning Curriculum. The campaign was successful and a year long geography lesson plan book was created using the funds raised on Kickstarter. The lesson plan book includes everything a teacher would need to teach Geography.
The Zombie Based Learning program(ZBL) has received rave reviews from middle and high school teachers, as well as homeschool families. With this project-based curriculum, tweens and teens have become motivated and excited to learn about Geography. Along with the lesson plan book, comes a comic book called Dead Recon. This graphic novel serves as the textbook and starts with the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse. As the story continues, the reader learns about mapping, analyzing spatial relationships, and regions on a map. The students can track the movement of the zombies and then decide where they should relocate to and can also warn others with their writing projects.
Dead Recon is a 31 page comic book with about another 30 pages of activities, rubrics and explanations of geographical concepts. Tools used by geographers, high-quality maps, and projects are some of the features included at the end of the comic book story. The comics are used to hook students and David Hunter’s hope is that students will then gain an interest in Geography and be able to practice and apply the skills they learn, even outside of school.
The second issue of Dead Recon introduces more characters and geographic concepts, mental mapping and economic systems. The story shows characters trying to survive after the outbreak, using their skills to find all the resources that they need to stay alive.
In addition to Geography, ZBL incorporates ELA, Science and Math. Hunter created the ZBL curriculum using his knowledge of what students are interested in and excited about. The curriculum is rigorous and uses national standards.
When students are engaged in learning, the uphill trek in snow, without shoes, becomes a lot more fun. Especially when zombies are involved.
Do you know of a student that could benefit from this unique approach to learning? Are you a teacher willing to try this program in your classroom? Add your two cents below!
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