Archives: curriculum

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Making History – A New Curriculum

I’m in the middle of developing a new Project-Based Learning, STEM/ELA/History curriculum set in the theme of Time Travel. We had a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to build the entire set of 9 units:

If you still want to get the materials as soon as they come out, you can participate in the pre-orders here:

The first projects will start coming out in September of 2015. The entire curriculum is estimated to be done late Spring 2016.

(Pre-order prices are currently much lower than what retail will be. Most likely, due to the scope of this curriculum, it will end up costing more than ZBL when it is all done.

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ZBL Teachers Rock! – Survey Results

A few weeks ago, we sent out a quick survey to ZBL teachers on our mailing list to check in and see what you liked and didn’t like about ZBL. We’re delighted to say that we heard overwhelmingly positive feedback, and are excited to take what we’ve learned to make it even better!  My goals for creating Zombie-Based Learning were to create a curriculum that:

  1. Saved teachers a lot of time

  2. Helps teachers get into project-based learning

  3. Improves deep student learning and engagement

Methodology: please note that the audience was provided closed-ended options, and asked to check all that applied–so answers won’t add up to 100%. Also, we provided a write-in box for open-ended answers.

Measuring the “likes” I was gratified to see that teachers really did value having the important parts of curriculum including assessments, rubrics, and resources. Tied for the top favorite  was that the curriculum is Project-Based Learning in practice. As a big believer in Project-Based Learning (PBL), I’m happy to see so many teachers valued the opportunity to use it in the classroom. Many teachers approve the theory, but are unclear on how to deploy it.

Because I deliberately designed ZBL to be a good introduction to PBL,  I’m glad to see that there are quite a few teachers who are motivated to get more training in Project-Based Learning techniques.  It’s something we’ll be able to help with down the line!

As for the “dislikes” beyond PBL training, 14% of the responses said that ZBL didn’t fit into their current plans. Additional write-in comments included a range of reasons such as “no longer teaching the subject” to “district not dedicating a full semester for Geography”.  While I designed ZBL to fit into as many plans as possible, I was also pleased to hear that many teachers were able to modify it and fit it into their needs.

The feedback was also very valuable to confirm the items we are eager to improve upon. We’re working on plans to make the curriculum materials more interactive, easier to download,  and digitizing and updating materials to integrate with gradebooks and other valuable school tools. We also heard that a lot of students are clamoring for the next issue of Dead Reckon. We’re trying hard to get them out! We’re eager to share the continuing story as well, and are happy that students are enthused about it as we are.

We’re thrilled to see that teachers are finding a lot of value in ZBL and the resources accompanying it to support their teaching. Between this survey and the student work we are getting from some of the teachers, we’re continually improving to be a more useful curriculum for teachers and a better learning experience for students.  THANK YOU for your support and your voice!

We sent this survey to all of the teachers on the Zombie-Based Learning mailing list. 36% of those teachers followed the link to the survey. 70% of the teachers who followed the link, completed the survey.  In total, 25% of the teachers on the ZBL mailing list took the survey. Thank you to all who responded!

If you did not get a chance to take the survey, feel free to respond here:


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Pizza Place Geography

I might have to say that the one combination I probably love more than geography and zombies is geography and pizza. I have a tattoo about pizza that is too embarrassing to share on the internet.

Flowing Data used a data set of closest pizza places in a 10 mile radius to create various maps showing distribution of popular pizza places.

The blog post also gets into some thoughts on regions and migration of ideas when making suggestions about why the pizza places are as popular in different areas as they are:

Regionally, Papa John’s, which started in Kentucky, is strong in the east central area; Godfather’s, with headquarters in Nebraska, is popular in the midwest; Little Caesars shows strong in California and Michigan (its first location in Garden City, Michigan); and Papa Murphy’s is strong in the northwest, which makes sense because it started in Washington.

Pizza locations


A few years ago, Floating Sheep created what they call the “Great American ‘Pizza’ Map.” It’s a very interesting map that plots out internet user references to pizza, guns, and adult clubs. In the comments there are the start of some great geographic discussions and questions around culture and location, but since it refers to adult clubs, I’ll let you decide if you want to draw from that resource. Maybe for the much older kids. However, the Pizza Place Geography maps at Flowing Data is a great resource to give to students. Just know that it will make them hungry.

Pizza place geography.

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442 Pages of Zombie Curriculum!

I am very happy to let you know that you can now download all 442 pages of the ZBL core geography curriculum.

Just take a look at that Table of Contents!

Members can download the entire PDF or units at the Members Download Page.

There are still a few tweaks I want to make before I print the book copies. But I wanted to get this out there to you in digital form ASAP. I will order the printed copies to go out to Kickstarter backers this week.

I call this the “core” curriculum because it includes the main lessons and projects to teach middle school geography. I will continue to add more resources that will be available digitally on this website for all members. Over time I’ll be uploading PowerPoints, video lectures, accommodated resources for special education, extension activities, and more. I hope to base these resources on what you think is most valuable, so please let me know!

There are 70 daily lessons in the curriculum right now, split across 10 units. The ZBL geography curriculum also incorporates student projects and presentations. It is flexible, but a fast paced course could be taught in half a school year. More reasonably, it can serve as the backbone to a full year of Geography, supplemented with local integration projects, guest speakers, or any other required curriculum for your district or school.

Thank you so much for your support! I feel very excited to deliver this to you.

Please, continue to give feedback. I’ve heard of some great work that you have been doing in schools and you can help make this curriculum even better!