In the short Green Ninja animatic, “What’s the Bag Deal?” we learn that the choice between paper bags and plastic bags at the grocery store is not as important for the environment as the choices we make about what groceries go inside the bag.
Great teaching tool: “Cost of Chicken”
I was interested to learn more about the impact of food choices on the environment, and so I was happy to find a great interactive project called Cost of Chicken. Project co-creators Tim and Nick Werby are two high school students from San Francisco who are on a mission to collect worldwide data about everyday foods, what they cost, and how far they travel to get to the consumer. Teachers can use this cool site to get kids thinking about the environmental impact of different food choices.
It’s done with maps
Working with kid reporters from all over the world (including the ones you met in the video above) they tell their story with maps. That’s right. Maps! Using the free and open-source Ushahidi crowdmapping platform, Trusted Food Reporters enter their food information into the crowdmap. Reporters can use the web site form to submit a report, or an Ushahidi app for iPhone or Android. They have had more than 400 reports come in so far, and you can see the entries here.
You can participate! Submit a Chicken Report
Cost of Chicken is an ingenious bit of food anthropology for any age, and anyone can participate. So, go ahead — submit a report! I did it. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s an engaging class project for any grade level.
–Julie Noblitt, Green Ninja Team
Teachers: What would your elementary school students think of this new cartoon, “For Goodness Rake”? Would they watch it on their own at home? Could you make a classroom lesson out of it?
The Green Ninja™ series
Like “Footprint Renovation,” “For Goodness Rake” is part of an emerging series of free, fun lesson starters for grades K-6 that can be used in the classroom or viewed at home on YouTube. For a variety of lesson ideas and resources, visit our summer workshop page. Also visit the Green Ninja Smart Energy Contest page to sign up for great project to do with your class this fall.
Made by students, for students
The animations in the Green Ninja™ series are created by students in David Chai’s class in the Animation/Illustration Department at San Jose State University. Last month I had the opportunity to visit the classroom and learn more about what goes into the making of these cartoons. At least 40 students put in approximately 10 hours per week all semester long to create each one. The day I was there, students were carefully analyzing each segment of film for continuity and quality. In the next room, graduating senior Erin Schleupner (pictured below) was hard at work colorizing the finished animations using a special graphics tool called a Cintiq. I was truly impressed by the quality of the work and dedication of the students in making these films.
Erin Schleupner working on “For Goodness Rake”
One of the student films is now in the running for a “People’s Choice” award worth $5,000 from the Green Screen Climate Fix Flicks festival in Melbourne, Australia. Please vote for “Footprint Renovation” and help support more great student work. You can only vote once, and every vote counts!
Green Ninja Team