Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Connection between Literacy Rate and GDP

We spent today looking at a lot of data - and trying to make sense of it.  It was very similar to what the students did at Station 5 on Tuesday - but much more in depth.

We started off by looking at 4 countries in Africa that had low literacy rates: <70%.  Most students noticed that the GDP was also low.

Then, we looked at 4 countries in Africa that had high literacy rates: >90%.  Students could also pick up on the GDP being fairly high in those countries.

So then I asked the question, why?  Why do countries with low literacy rates have a low GDP, and why do countries with high literacy rates have a high GDP?

Some possible answers we came up with were:  People who can read and write have more human capital, and will be able to secure better jobs - raising the GDP of the country.  People who cannot read and write will have a much more difficult time finding a job and raising the country's GDP.

Also, if a country doesn't have enough money - they won't be able to pay for teachers. If they can't pay for teachers, it will lower the literacy rate of the country.

The next obvious question is - which is causing which? Is a low literacy rate causing low GDP? Or is low GDP causing low literacy rate? Or both?

Well, we skipped the obvious question, for now - and looked for outliers. Were there any countries that had a high GDP and low literacy rate, or vice versa?

We didn't find any countries with a high GDP and low literacy rate. But we DID find a couple countries with a high literacy rate, and low GDP.




I know that being a teacher, I should write a solid concluding paragraph. But looking up at the clock, I noticed that as a teacher I'm also pressed for time. And there's no way I'll get the whole lesson written down into a blog post.

Still, if any of my students want extra credit, they may read and discuss this blog with an adult. To prove that you were here today, write down definitions for literacy rate and GDP.

Then, have the adult sign the paper. Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it, and turn it in tomorrow.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Stations! Stations, Everyone!

Ancient Civilization Quiz grades will be entered soon.  If students weren't here on Friday, they should make up the quiz on Wednesday.

Today and tomorrow we're working on stations.

In past years, I haven't done as good of a job as I've wanted reviewing throughout the year.  That changed today.  Around the room, I made 7 stations.  Students had a little over 10 minutes to complete each one.

Almost all of them focused on something we had studied earlier in the year.

Here's a picture from each
Station 1:  Globalization, Industrialization, Urbanization

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ancient Civs Quiz Friday

Make sure you're ready for a quiz over the ancient civilizations on Friday.  It shouldn't be anything TOO difficult.

If you weren't in class today, you need to print out this EGYPT MAP and turn it in as soon as you are able.

I'm not going to make a long post today, as I'm getting tomorrow's review game together.

If you want extra credit, here's how you can prove you were here:

List all 4 ancient civilizations that we've studied, and tell me what rivers they are found near.

Make sure your name, date, and hour are on the paper.

Turn it in tomorrow.

Also, if you didn't watch this video last week, here it is:

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I feel like it's been a LONG time since I've written a genuine post here on the blog.  I've only written one since the new school year.

And we've done so much.  So much Mesopotamia.

Here are some things you can talk about at home to try to reinforce what we're learning:

We studied the Sumerians, and their development of Cuneiform.  They wrote by pressing a stylus into clay.  Then, they'd bake the clay tablets if they want to keep what they'd written.

We didn't use clay, but we did write in Cuneiform with Play-Doh:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dying to Post, and Fear of Death

I have been DYING to write a blog post - a legitimate one.  There's been so much going on in class lately.  I've got pictures that I want to upload and talk about.

But, I also don't want to actually die.  This is what I saw when I took out my phone at the end of the day:

So, it looks like it will be another quick blog post.  But in a way, it makes sense, because we talked about dying today in class.  Fear, and death.

Here's what we can do: read THIS POST and do what it says for extra credit.  I feel like I wrote a pretty good post on this topic last school year, and I don't want it to go to waste.  

Stay safe out there.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

One Last Chance

Here's one last chance at extra credit before the end of the quarter.

I didn't have time to write a new blog post today, but I wrote a pretty good one about a very similar lesson a couple years ago.  If you want extra credit, click the link and go to it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hunting and Gathering - Agriculture+Rivers - Civilization Flowcharts

Yesterday my students made flowcharts showing humanity's progression from hunting/gathering to civilizations.  (If you weren't here, please download it and complete it.)

This wasn't a worksheet where students had to find the answers.  It was more like a puzzle: I gave the students the answers, they had to put it together in a way that made sense to them.

I liked a lot of these.  And I thought it was especially interesting how students who are given the same material can come up with quite different ways of expressing and representing what was given.

Here are a couple examples:

I liked this one because it included a lot of detail, and it all made sense.  I like the explanation of silt, the different cultures trading, a net for catching fish...  There's a lot to like.  The clock at the bottom shows me that this did not happen quickly, an idea one might get if the clock wasn't present.