Saturday, December 17, 2011

Judge and Jury

Hopefully you noticed the polls I put up at the top of the blog.  As a class, we finished up the webquest and powerpoint about Hammurabi yesterday.  Most of them looked really good.  There were a couple kids who didn't get done, but the majority did.

I don't know if you can access them from home or not.  The students that read the blog Thursday said they couldn't get them to open up from home.  I'm going to look into that because... I mean... what's the point of having all this technology if you can't access it?

The project reviewed a lot of what we covered in class - reasons ancient civilizations were found near rivers, what it took to be an ancient civilization, ethnocentrism, as well as some of the specifics about Mesopotamia.

It really introduced historical context though.  We haven't had discussions about this before.  Good teachers are always trying to include higher level questioning and Bloom's Taxonomy into their lessons:

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy (revised)

(Image courtesy of: dkuropatwa)

This lesson, and the question of historical context really nails the upper levels of Bloom's.

Oftentimes social studies is memorizing facts: ancient civilizations are found near rivers for silt, transportation, drinking water, and irrigation...  But to answer the questions of which legal system is more just, and whether or not it's even fair to ask that question take critical thinking skills like analyzing and evaluating both sets of laws and coming to a personal conclusion.

And, lets face it... the question of historical context and justification of the past is tough.  Maybe we say we shouldn't judge Hammurabi according to today.  Being beat 60 times with an ox whip for hitting someone of a higher rank seemed like a just punishment at the time...  But then can we apply that to other areas of history?  Slavery? Nazism/Fascism?  Child sacrifice to Moloch?  If we went back in time, would we say... "well... when in Rome...?"

The opposite, to me seems equally distasteful.  If we come down too hard against the past, how will we be judged based on the lives we're leading?  What if in the future, the world is overpopulated and people are upset at the "selfishness" of families in the past that had more than one child?

We'll be wrapping up this discussion on Monday in class.  We'll see what everyone thinks.

Like I mentioned at the top of the blog, I hope you noticed the polls.  In order to get the extra credit, first have your kid vote on them.  Then, discuss why they voted the way they did.  Ask them about the two laws we looked at as a class.  What were the punishments doled out under each legal system?  Ask them if there are ever any exceptions to their views.

In order to get the extra credit, vote on the polls and discuss those questions directly above the bold text.  Once you have done that, write the following phrase on a scrap of paper: "Four more days until a little break."  Finally, adult: sign your name.  By signing, you're saying that you really did read the blog and discuss it with whoever is turning in that paper.

No comments:

Post a Comment