Monday, November 4, 2013

And the winner is?....


Agriculture wins as humanity's most important discovery/invention.  Congratulations, agriculture.

Today I asked students to give me most important discoveries or inventions of all time.  Agriculture makes the cake.

This concept comes up several times in The Hunger Games.  Take for instance, page 65:

     "I try to imagine assembling this meal myself back home.  Chickens are too expensive, but I could make do with a wild turkey.  I'd need to shoot a second turkey to trade for an orange.  Goat's milk would have to substitute for cream.  We can grow peas in the garden.  I'd have to get wild onions from the woods.  I don't recognize the grain, our own tessera ration cooks down to an unattractive brown mush.  Fancy rolls would mean another trade with the baker, perhaps for two or three squirrels.  As for the pudding, I can't even guess what's in it.  Days of hunting and gathering for this one meal and even then it would be a poor substitution for the Capital version.

     What must it be like, I wonder to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button?  How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by?  What do they do all day, these people in the Capital, besides decorating their bodies and waiting for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?"

Agriculture gives us time.  No longer do we have to hunt for our food.  No longer do we have to gather and store.  No longer do we have to move from place to place.  We can settle, and learn, and develop what we have.

But more on that tomorrow.

Today, I also mentioned that civilizations generally developed around rivers.  (If you're going to grow crops, you'd better be close to water.)  And so, we went over some terms: source, mouth, banks, delta.

Students continually get source and mouth mixed up.  So, a few years ago I drew this picture to help them.  I mentioned that the source is called the source - because it's the beginning - like the source of a problem.  And the mouth is called a mouth, because it looks like a mouth:

This year though, I also showed a video.  I told students after a flood in Bangladesh, the world’s largest snake washed up next to a man’s house.  The snake is dead, but it’s huge.  I may not have been completely truthful with the students - but hopefully they'll remember that the mouth comes at the end.

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog, tell me the three parts of a river.  Then have the adult you read and discussed the blog with sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.

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