PROGRAM UPDATE: Presidential Powers

New for 2017, WorldView Software’s U.S. Government: An Interactive Approach has new resources for learning more about the president of the United States.

Chapter 9: The Presidency has a new image with introduction and questions called Graph: Executive Orders, which shows the use of these orders in comparison by president from FDR through Obama:

Screenshot of Graph: Executive Orders

Chapter 9: The Presidency also has an updated overview and revised conceptual questions that reflect President Trump’s use of social media, and new glossary terms (which are linked from their context in the overview).

Screenshot of Chapter 9: The Presidency overview showing linked terms that are defined in the glossary.

BulbgraphOnOffUse our databank of study questions in a polling service such as in Google Classroom to do quick mid-stream assessments.

Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logo

PROGRAM UPDATE: Evaluating Fake News

New for 2017, WorldView Software’s U.S. Government: An Interactive Approach has resources for learning about how to distinguish real news from fake.

Chapter 5: The Media overview section “Newer Media” has been updated to discuss the propaganda phenomenon, with corresponding factual and conceptual questions for assessment as well as additional vocabulary terms in the glossary.

Screenshot of the updated Chapter 5: The Media.

And that’s not all!  The Tutorial: Social Media has been updated to include information on how to evaluate news articles, including the handy flowchart from the Featured Image for instant appraisal (this updated tutorial is also available in American History II: Reconstruction to the Present).

Finally, the Graph: Primary Sources of News has been updated to show how online news sources overtook other mediums:

Screenshot of the updated Graph: Primary Sources of News

BulbgraphOnOffArt images can be used to discuss the differences between visual and textual sources.

Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logo

Resource Highlight: Global Voices and Watching America

Ever wonder what the rest of the world is thinking? Global Voices is a collection of news articles and opinion pieces from around the world.

We curate, verify and translate trending news and stories you might be missing on the Internet, from blogs, independent press and social media in 167 countries.

If you’re wondering what the rest of the world is thinking about America specifically, look no further than Watching America.  This is a collection of translations by volunteers, with quick links to more content translated by machine.

WatchingAmerica makes available in English articles written about the U.S. by foreigners, often for foreign audiences, and often in other languages. Since WatchingAmerica offers its own translations, regular users of our site will enjoy articles not available in English anywhere else. We are a unique window into world opinion.

Particularly in an era dominated by fake news (and charges of fake news), news from diverse sources is extremely important. Break out of the bubble!

Japanese-American Internment

Recently, Newsday did a wonderful story interviewing some of the local survivors and descendants of Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II under Executive Order 9066.

“I don’t know what to expect in the future,” she said. “The government cannot repeat this, what happened to the Japanese-Americans. [The government] signed off and apologized for doing this. So they better not try to do it again.”

Some of the interviewees note that the internment camps are not covered in school.  Does your social studies textbook cover this painful episode in American history?  If not, use WorldView Software’s resources:

  • American History II:
    • Chapter 11 Overview: World War II and the Post-War Peace
    • Document: Japanese-American Internment (“Executive Order 9066” and “Instructions to All Japanese Living on Bainbridge Island”)
    • Internet Project: The Home Front
  • Basic American History II
    • Document: Japanese-American Internment (“Executive Order 9066” and “Instructions to All Japanese Living on Bainbridge Island”)
    • Internet Project: America’s World War II Effort
  • U.S. Government
    • Document: Japanese-American Internment (“Executive Order 9066” and “Instructions to All Japanese Living on Bainbridge Island”)

[The featured image is “Manzanar from guard tower, summer heat, view SW, Manzanar Relocation Center,” photograph by Ansel Adams in the Library of Congress.]

BulbgraphOnOffWhen assigning students an unguided essay, remind them they can refer to the “How to Write an Essay” tutorial for help.

Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logo

Top Ten Posts in 2016

These were the posts on WorldView Software’s blog that were most popular over the past year:

  1. Home page / Archives – See the latest post here
  2. American Ancestry in Maps – there are LOTS of people with German ancestry
  3. Transgender People in History – definitions, historical examples, and more
  4. The Museum of Lost Objects – documenting antiquities lost to war
  5. How Do Polls Work? – when is a poll a valid measure of public opinion?
  6. Economic Indicators – non-traditional indicators of economic well-being (or not)
  7. Phases of the Moon – why we keep track of the moon
  8. Could You Come up with $1,000 for an Emergency? – a personal financial literacy issue
  9. Secular Homeschoolers – why WorldView’s materials are a good fit
  10. Using Pokémon Go to Teach Local History – how to work the fad into your lesson planning

Have a happy new year, and thanks for reading!

BulbgraphOnOffAlmost any current browser can be used with WorldView Software, making it accessible from a wide range of devices.

Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logo

STEM Connections: Glowing Soldiers and Pharma Bros

Social Studies doesn’t happen in a vacuum; problems from history, politics, economics, and geography can inspire the research that leads to insights and discoveries in science, technology, engineering, and math.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh, there were so many wounded soldiers that it took days to get them all off the battlefield, during which time they lay in the rain and mud.  And then a strange phenomenon occurred. As The Historical Diaries tells it:

The men who lay beaten, bloody, and dying on the ground began to glow. Well… their wounds began to brightly shine a luminous greenish blue color. What was causing such a strange thing to happen? This is the part that gets even stranger, not only did some of the soldiers gaping wounds glow, but it seemed that these glowing men’s injuries healed much faster and cleaner than the wounds that did not glow.

Because they healed, the radiance was called Angel’s Glow.  The spooky story was dismissed as folklore legend, and the mystery would have to wait almost 140 years to be solved.

Two high school students, William Martin and Jonathan Curtis, visited the site of the battle with Martin’s mother Phyllis, a microbiologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland working with bacteria called Photorhabdus luminescens.  They asked her if the bacterium could have caused the glowing wounds, and she challenged them to find out.  They did, and won a first award in the 2001 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for their research. (To find out their results and how that explains the mystery, read the HD post here. There’s also a good post on Mental Floss about the story.)

And while there are historical mysteries galore, your students don’t have to limit themselves to the past for inspiration.

The astonishingly astronomical cost of pharmaceuticals in the United States has encouraged equally astonishingly greedy behavior.  The poster boy for this is Martin Shkreli, the “pharma bro” who raised the price of an anti-malarial drug called Daraprim more than 5000 per cent in 2015.  His actions inspired a group of high school students in Australia to work on alternative ways to synthesize the drug, and they succeeded last week.  (Shkreli’s response is here.)

Making the connections between humanities, social science, and physical science academic disciplines can make for powerful learning in more ways than one.  But possibly the deepest lesson it teaches is that it empowers students to interact with and alter their environments rather than passively accepting them.

BulbgraphOnOffTo print out a test with mini-lesson answers, choose “practice test,” then the type and number of questions. Arrow to the end, then click “Print/Export.”

Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logo

How Do Polls Work?

By now, many of you have no doubt seen more presidential polling results than you ever wanted to see!  But too many people equate internet polls such as the one featured above (from with scientific polls conducted by major news organizations.  How can you tell which of them are valid measures of public opinion, and which are not?

Start with Project: Conducting a Poll in WorldView Software’s U.S. Government.  Try it out, and then critically evaluate the results.  Here are some guiding points for questions students should be asking about their data:

  1. What was the difference between the total population of people whose opinion they wanted to know and the number of people who actually answered the poll?
  2. Did people have a choice to take the poll or not?
  3. Could people respond to the poll more than once?
  4. Was one group of people more represented in the poll than another? Why or why not?
  5. How were the questions asked — did they notice they got a better response rate from one method over another, such as internet over in-person?
  6. How were the questions asked — did the questions use loaded language that hinted at the “right” answer?
  7. How were the questions asked — were they yes-or-no, multiple choice, etc.?
  8. and so on…

Then apply this methodology to the polls out there.  Count the differences between this poll from Breitbart (warning: overlay popup ad):

"You watched at home — now make your voice heard! Who won the third debate? Vote below to tell us who you believe was tonight’s winner: Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump"Donald Trump 52.82% (145,324 votes), Hillary Clinton 47.18% (129,785 votes)





and these polls, aggregated at RealClear Politics:

polling results from multiple polls

For a deeper dive into how polling works, visit the Pew Research Center’s Methods page.  There, you’ll find all sorts of information, such as how to figure out a poll’s margin of error.  Especially recommended reading: the overview “Flashpoints in Polling” by Claudia Deane, Courtney Kennedy, Scott Keeter and Kyley McGeeney.

UPDATE 12/06/2016: Very nice video from Scientific American explaining the math behind polling.

BulbgraphOnOffStudy questions can be used for formative assessment in the beginning of a lesson or for summative assessment at the end.

Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logo