Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Overwhelmed: People and Time

I've written about this before, and it's worth checking out.

I was driving home on Sunday and my wife asked me if everything was okay.  I had been staring out the window of the van.  My kids were in the back.

I was really trying to see Goshen in a way I hadn't before.  Notice all the businesses.  All the houses beyond houses on the streets I've never driven down, because... why would I?

So many people I've never met, and probably never will.  Houses beyond houses beyond houses.

I asked my students to think about what they did yesterday.  Then think about what they did Sunday.  Then Saturday.  Friday. Thursday.  Wednesday.  Just one week - but they had to really think about it.  Could they remember what they did every day?  It was taxing for them, as it would be for many of us.

Imagine if we could think about the days before that.  If we could remember the days of our 6th grade year.  And 3rd.  Preschool.

How many days before we were born?

And to think, that looking around the room, there were 30 different Wednesdays of last week.  Different students with different individual lives.  Different individual concerns and different individual victories.

Social studies is all about people.  We have government to try to create order.  The economy deals with people making things.  Our culture is who we are.

There are a lot of us: more than 7 billion.

There have been a lot of us for a long time.  It's a bit overwhelming to go back a week with 30 people.  We're tasked with making sense of a world that has more than 30 people, and has been around for more than a week.

We watched a couple videos.

If students want extra credit, they should watch one of these with an adult.  Discuss it.  Write a 3 sentence response to the video, and have the adult sign it.  Turn it in tomorrow.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Population Density Around Rivers

We covered a lot of material today:

  • Started by studying for TOMORROW'S GOVERNMENT QUIZ.
  • Labeled the parts of a river:
  • Had a student act out the river.  (Mouth at the end... delta formed at the mouth)
  • Had ancient civilizations formed around the river
  • Discussed the difference between population and population density while students were in the taped off boxes.
  • Did some population/population density (basic) math problems
  • Watched a video about a snake: point?  The mouth is at the end.

So often, students confuse source and mouth.  Which one is the beginning?  Which one is the end?  The mouth is at the end.  The source is at the beginning.  (Think of the source of a problem...  You're trying to think of the beginning of a problem.)

If you've read and discussed this post with an adult, explain to them the difference between population, and population density.  Then, write down your explanation.  Have the adult sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow for extra credit.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it.

Here's the winning group for the year: 4th hour.  We fit 30 people in here.  The all-time record still stands at 33.  We almost had it, though.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Biggest Discovery/Invention of All Time

Every year, we discuss the agricultural revolution.

I tell the students that agriculture is the most important invention, or discovery of all time.

It would be worthwhile to scroll through some old blog posts.  Like I said, I've taught this every year.

Agriculture = farming.

Think about what all farming has given us.  I ask students to think about how hungry they are.  They're all hungry.  Pretty much all of them.  All the time.

A burger from McDonalds or Burger King?  How much of that come from farms?  Wheat.  Lettuce.  The cow.  ...Pretty much every part of it, right?

If we had to chase our food down (as in, we couldn't grow it ourselves, or have others grow it for us) we would be in trouble.  

I can just imagine that first person who came up with the idea.  ...Why not bring the food to us?  The crowd slowly lowering their spears.  Each person thinking, "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?"

Students today discussed inventions and discoveries that were game-changers.

Agriculture tops my list.  And we're leading into ancient civilizations.  Most all ancient civilizations were found near rivers.  Any guesses as to why?  #agriculture.

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog, ask the adult you read and discussed it with what they think the most important invention/discovery of all time is.  Write it down with a brief explanation telling why.

Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it.  Then, turn it in tomorrow.

Don't forget, we've got a government quiz on Friday.  We have a quiz over the Middle East next week.

I'd study.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Linking to a Better Post

I'm not going to have time to write a post today, but rather than skip out on the extra credit students may go to THIS POST to earn their points for the day.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Human Rights: What Are They? How Are They Protected?

Yesterday and today we spent some time focusing on human rights.  Yesterday I asked them what human rights were.  I gave them a couple of examples and asked them whether they were human rights or not.

The most common definition I got was, "rights all humans have."

I thought it would be obvious why this definition doesn't work... but when I looked it up on google, it was a little surprising how unhelpful it was:

Hasn't google ever heard that you're not supposed to define a word with the word you're trying to define?

So, I asked students to define "rights."

The definition I gave was, "something everybody deserves to have or to be able to do."

Even this definition has it's problems, though.  ("Deserves" for one...)  Still, it's not a bad start.

We talked about the differences between rights and privileges.  A couple years ago, our school started allowing students to chew gum.  If students said, "at this school, we have the right to chew gum," would they be wrong?  Or is chewing gum still a privilege?

At any rate, we came up with several examples of human rights.  I showed them the first part of a prezi I made a few years ago:

It has a lot of information on human rights in it at the beginning.

Today, though, I asked the question: how does America protect the human rights of its citizens?

Students may earn extra credit by reading and discussing this post with an adult.  I would definitely ask/discuss what are some human rights?  Also, how does America protect the human rights of its citizens?

When you're done discussing, write the answer to those questions on a scrap of paper.  Have the adult you read and discussed it with sign the paper.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on the paper.

Turn it in tomorrow.