Grades 6-8, High School

The Shirt On Your Back

That cotton t-shirt you wear? It’s a cross-curricular cacophony of creativity and crunch-time work ethics.

In fact, the cotton contains a synergistic symphony of skills, motivations, and grit from plant breeders, seed experts, ship captains, machine engineers, manual laborers, farmers, seamstresses, salespeople, logistics experts and more from all over the world.

Learn how they combine & catalyze many aspects of the economy, science, engineering & humanity in:

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt: the world behind a simple shirt, in 5 chapters

Yes, there may be some political underpinnings to certain aspects of the t-shirt pipeline, but this presentation – which manages to be both deep and quick in its engagement::content balance – offers 5 ~3 min videos with related text and graphics that explore: COTTON, MACHINES, PEOPLE, BOXES & YOU.

Flipped Classroom Options: Assign the whole thing or just one chapter per night.

  1. Collect from each student 1-2 questions (per chapter) they would ask the Seed to Shirt Team about the facts, opinions or impressions they gained from the chapter(s). Select the ‘best’ (by class consensus via your rubric). Post them to the Planet Money FB page
  2. To evaluate the format, have students list 5 very specific elements they liked because the element was easy to understand AND made them want to learn more or take action. Elements could include font, image, phrasing/vocabulary, tone of voice, fact/opinion offered, graphic detail, etc.
  3. Of the selected elements, have students identify ONE which they consider to be the most ‘neutral/informational’ and ONE which seems to include political or not-quite-neutral messaging. They must explain the reasons for both selections.
  4. Invite groups or individuals to research the elements or components of a common item they use every day. Research can range from basic ‘ingredients lists’ and the jobs needed to create each ingredient to images of particular elements to video or audio clips of any stage of getting the selected item to market.

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