Educators and Art Museums: Doing Social Studies Together

Participants noted that the museum’s collection of 18th-century American portraits could give students vivid visual reference points and a broader contextual understanding of Colonial America. They realized that the process of analyzing a Depression-era photograph as both a work of art and a primary source could help students practice critical and historical thinking skills. They got excited about works of socially conscious contemporary art, envisioning ways they could spark classroom conversations about global events and civic values.

Source: Educators and Art Museums: Doing Social Studies Together

[Post from Doing Social Studies on a partnership project dedicated to exploring how art museums can support humanities education in public schools.  The featured image is Cloud Box, 1966, Peter Alexander. Cast polyester resin. 9 5/8 x 9 5/8 x 9 5/8 in. Collection of Janis Horn and Leonard Feldman, Los Angeles. © Peter Alexander. Photo: Brian Forrest, from the online exhibition at the Getty Center: Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970

All WorldView Software titles have Art Gallery images with introductions and short-answer questions for investigating the connections between their subjects and the visual arts, in addition to projects where students make their own.]

Use Google to Tour the National Parks

To ease the transition back to school, you can pretend you’re still on vacation by using Google to “tour” the national parks through online exhibits.  These are artifacts from the parks that were curated in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, showcasing one object from every national park museum collection.

For example, check out the collections from Colorado’s national parks, with everything from hiking safety helmets from the 1970s to a projectile point from ~6,000 B.C.E.  There are also short descriptions of why the object was chosen for the centennial.

You can use these objects to get your students back into “historian” mode: why were these objects chosen? Are there other objects that would have been more appropriate? Can they make a convincing case for the alternative?  And more: what was the object’s context when it was made? When it was used? When it was found? Now?

And technically, this is a different part of Google altogether, but you could wind up your mini-vacation with a virtual stroll on the beach: Fire Island National Seashore (which has an object in the NY collection), via Google Maps Street View:

 

 

 

 

Social morphogenesis and the limitations of political modelling

“If we rely on past and present data to predict future events, the weakness of the model we use will reside in its capacity to cope with genuine novelty. One response to this might be to account for such novelty as once-in-a-lifetime chance occurrence. But one of the conclusions we might draw from the Centre for Social Ontology’s Social Morphogenesis project is that social novelty is being generated at an ever-increasing rate.”

— Source: Mark Carrigan

[Interesting discussion of the concept of novelty, using the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign for examples.  Brainstorming or scaffolding about novelty with the class is a tremendous way to introduce or conclude units!]

Free Pilot for Canvas® Users!

If you’re a Canvas® LMS user, pilot one of our programs between now and the end of the semester for free!

With end of term testing just weeks away, WorldView is offering schools free unlimited access to one of our social studies products via Canvas® at no cost through the end of this school year.  Our interactive workbook-style programs can be used as your digital textbook, as a supplementary aid in class, as a test prep tool, or for credit recovery.

All WorldView titles can be seamlessly embedded into your on-line Canvas® courses utilizing a single sign-on.  Canvas® tracking remains fully operational.  Just contact WorldView for a Consumer key and Shared Secret of the title of your choosing.

Each student receives a personal account with access to the entire WorldView product.  Our comprehensive programs include hundreds of writing activities, thousands of test or study questions, and a plethora of resource material: biographies, chronologies, glossaries, original source documents, and much, much, more.

Visit our website, www.worldviewsoftware.com, for more information on all our social studies titles. (If you’re not a Canvas® user, contact us for a regular product preview.)


BulbgraphOnOffUse the answers to the “Questions for Thought” in the overview as a note-taking guided exercise.


Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logohttp://www.worldviewsoftware.com/preview/

A World Without Children, or at Least a Policy Without Them!

The thought experiments of certain social theories are not far off from such stories. So very many people have attempted to imagine the nature of a human isolated from social connections. Chapter XIII in Thomas Hobbes’ book, The Leviathan would be a good example. So, would be the calculations of many rational choice theorists, those attempting to find the self-interest in just about any human interaction.

— Source: northierthanthou

An interesting meditation on how the best (certainly the most widely read and influential) science fiction is always about social science.

Whether your class is studying politics, history, economics, or geography, there is fiction that imagines what changing a particular parameter or two of that world would do to social relations.  From the fantasy world of L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz series, which can be read as an allegory of late 19th century American politics, to Ursula K. Le Guin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness, which examined gender roles and relations, science fiction can provide a window into examining your subject, helping students to make connections and evaluate arguments.

Spring Equinox

The March equinox is when the days and nights are of equal length as the days get longer and the nights get shorter in the northern hemisphere and vice versa in the southern hemisphere.  This change in the angle of the sun is the result of the earth’s orbit, which causes its tilting axis to point in a different direction.  And it means that spring is starting in the northern hemisphere and fall is starting in the southern hemisphere.  In 2017, the vernal equinox falls on Monday, March 20th.

Learn more about how the earth’s orbit and axis tilt work in WorldView Software’s World Geography Chapter 2: The Earth.  For example, you can use this graphic (with introduction and questions) to spark class discussion, or as a starting point for a demonstration:

Screen grab from World Geography

The equinoxes (like the solstices) are events that have huge impacts on life on earth (think: growing food).  And given that importance, they’ve had a tremendous impact on the development of methods to keep track of and predict their occurrence: mathematics.  For example, it’s thought that Stonehenge’s purpose is tracking solar and lunar movements:

Screen grab from World History A

WorldView Software’s World History A also has a terrific series of tutorials explaining how mathematics based on observance of astronomical phenomena developed in different civilizations:

  • Ancient Chinese Science, Technology, and Mathematics
  • Ancient Indian Science and Mathematics
  • Greek Accomplishments in Science, Technology, and Mathematics
  • Math and Technology in the River Valley Civilizations
  • Science, Mathematics, and Technology in the Islamic Caliphates
  • Technical Trends in Pre-Columbian Latin America

Use the equinox as a springboard into history!


BulbgraphOnOffUse the chronology entries to gain context for an event or an era, or as a starting point for further research.


Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logohttp://www.worldviewsoftware.com/preview/

Resource Highlight: Open Educational Resources @AVU

Need sources in multiple languages or from other countries? You can find open educational resources in English, French, and Portuguese at OER@AVU, an initiative of the African Virtual University.

These resources are mostly in the physical sciences, but they don’t have to be used for just that — in a global studies unit, you could use them as an example of what students in Senegal (for instance) are studying.

African Virtual University (AVU) is “a Pan African Intergovernmental Organization whose aim is to significantly increase access to quality higher education and training through the innovative use of Information and Communication Technologies.”  The governments involved are from Kenya, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, and South Sudan.