Guide to Curriculum Units
by Fellows of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
- I. The Use and Abuse of History in Film and Video
- II. Cultures and Their Myths
- III. Art and Artifacts: the Cultural Meaning of Objects
- IV. American Political Thought
- V. Reading Across the Cultures
- VI. Selected Topics in Contemporary Astronomy and Space Science
- VII. The Population Explosion
In March 1998, eighty-two teachers from the New Haven Public Schools became Fellows of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute to prepare new curricular materials for school courses. Established in 1978, the Institute is a partnership of Yale University and the New Haven Public Schools, designed to strengthen teaching and improve learning of the humanities and the sciences in our community's schools. Through the Institute, Yale faculty members and school teachers join in a collegial relationship. The Institute is also an interschool and interdisciplinary forum for teachers to work together on new curricula. The Institute has repeatedly received national recognition as a pioneering and successful model of university-school collaboration that integrates curriculum development with intellectual renewal for teachers.
Teachers had primary responsibility for identifying the subjects the Institute would address. Between October and December 1997, Institute Representatives canvassed teachers in each New Haven elementary, middle, and high school to determine the subjects they would like the Institute to treat. The Institute then circulated descriptions of seminars that encompassed teachers' interests. In applying to the Institute, teachers described unit topics on which they proposed to work and the relationship of these topics to Institute seminars and to courses they would teach in the coming school year. Seven seminars were organized, corresponding to the principal themes of the Fellows' proposals. The seminar entitled The Use and Abuse of History in Film and Video was led by Robert Johnston, Assistant Professor of History. Between March and August, Fellows participated in seminar meetings, researched their topics, and attended a series of lectures by Yale faculty members.
The curriculum units Fellows wrote are their own; they are presented in seven volumes, one for each seminar. A list of the 129 volumes of Institute units published between 1978 and 1998 appears on the following pages. Guides to each year's units, a topical Index of all 1173 units written between 1978 and 1998, and reference lists showing the relationship of the units to school curricula and content standards are available from the Institute. An electronic version of many of these curricular resources is accessible by connecting to the Institute's World Wide Web site (/).
The units that follow contain four elements: objectives, teaching strategies, sample lessons and classroom activities, and lists of resources for teachers and students. They are intended primarily for the use of Institute Fellows and their colleagues who teach in New Haven.
The DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and the National Endowment for the Humanities have provided the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute major grants in the form of both endowment and program support. In addition, a number of individuals and foundations, notably the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Zimmerman Foundation and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, have made gifts and grants toward the Endowment Fund for the Teachers Institute. The 1998 Institute seminars for New Haven teachers were supported also by grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. The materials presented here do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies.
James R. Vivian
Introduction by Robert D. Johnston, Assistant Professor of History
In recent decades, the idea that historians present the past in an "objective" fashion has received intense questioning. Experimental ways of narrating history are now common, and indeed at the cutting edge of the profession as scholars (including Yale's John Demos and Jonathan Spence) blur the line between "fact" and "fiction."
Perhaps no other medium has shaken up the historical profession and its notions of truth telling more than film. Historians used to be adept at shaking off the presentation of history in film as simply "too popular." They were easily able to point to the many falsehoods that came out of Hollywood - and they considered that a sufficient critical viewpoint toward cinema.
Yet it has become increasingly apparent that academic historians cannot so easily dismiss film and video. For one thing, the success of movies ranging from "Pocahontas" to "JFK" has shown that the public often receives much, if not most, of its ideas about history from the silver screen. More substantively, historians have finally come to recognize that film offers a tremendous opportunity to rethink - often in a highly philosophical manner - how we construct memory and the past.
Academic historians have now, by and large, therefore embraced film and video. The most prominent journals in the field, the American Historical Review and the Journal of American History, devote substantial portions of their review space to movies. The journal Film and History has become an important forum for discussions of particular movies as well as the general issues of the field. And an Internet list, H-Film, is one of the most active H-Net scholarly discussion lists, which are partially financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The seminar on "The Use and Abuse of History in Film and Video" was designed to give teachers an introduction to the larger philosophical issues that the relationship between film and history presents as well as to familiarize the teachers with some of the most important historical films, focusing on their teaching potential in the classroom. We began with a discussion of the most basic ways in which historians assemble and construct the past through a discussion of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale, a Pulitzer-prize winning biography of frontier healer Martha Ballard, as well as the recent PBS documentary that focuses on both Ballard and Ulrich. We then switched radically to the Hollywood extravaganza of "Pocahontas," which provided the context for a particularly important discussion of Disney commercialization, the myths we hand down to young children, and the moral lessons we extract from the past.
Particularly because of the population of the New Haven schools, many other movies in the seminar focused on African American history, ranging from the New Haven-based "Amistad" to "Eyes on the Prize" to "Malcolm X," which we paired with a reading of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. We also intensively examined the two directors who are arguably the most important purveyors of cinematic history, Ken Burns (documentaries on the Civil War and baseball) and Oliver Stone ("JFK"). Participants also presented at least one other film different from the week's common viewing. These varied from "Gone with the Wind" to "Cabeza de Vaca." We ended with John Sayle's profound meditation on memory, family, and the relevance of The Alamo, "Lone Star."
With the help of historian Robert Rosenstone's imaginative essays in Visions of the Past: The Challenge of Film to Our Idea of History, we balanced our specific discussion of each film with an exploration of general theoretical questions such as: "what is truth?" "what is the primary responsibility of the historian?" "of the film maker?" and "why does history matter?" While never skirting the need for historians to be as accurate and truthful as possible, we developed something of a consensus that the realms of academic history and film history were complementary but needed to be evaluated on different epistemological grounds. We also recognized that effective teaching requires getting students (especially young ones) excited enough to engage in the never-ending dialogue that is the genuine meaning of history, rather than boring them with a continuous barrage of facts.
The teachers who participated have a wide range of students. We had a team of teachers from Beecher Elementary School as well as two middle school teachers and five high school teachers. Their units are a wonderful resource for bringing film into the classroom in an age when principals and many fellow teachers still often think that videos are the "easy way out." The units themselves include topics as different as the complex representation of nostalgia in 1950s movies to the intense politicization of movies about Latin American history. Other units concentrate on unusual topics such as parenting and music in historical movies. One member of the Beecher team concentrated on frontier history, focusing on new ways of looking at pioneers, and this was complemented by the Beecher media specialist's examination of three important heroines of "herstory": Harriet Tubman, Annie Oakley, and Wilma Rudolph. The other Beecher teachers were among the plurality of teachers who concentrated on African American history - one looked at migration to the North and the other examined baseball's Negro Leagues. Finally, the other teachers wrote their units about slave resistance, the Civil Rights movement, and how to teach about race and ethnicity through film.
The units should provide the reader with a string sense of the value of the subject as well as the talent and thoughtfulness with which the teachers approached it. I hope they also offer some glimpse into the dedication of these teachers to their craft. I am immensely impressed with their energy and imagination, and it makes me much more hopeful about the future of our society and our democracy to know that the education of so many young people is in their hands.
Robert D. Johnston
Assistant Professor of History and American Studies
Synopses of the Curriculum Units
by Alan K. Frishman
Guide Entry to 98.01.01:
This unit is designed for high school courses in U.S. History, American Literature, American Studies, humanities or sociology. Parts of it may also be appropriate in courses on film or music. This unit intends to guide students through an understanding of the United States in the fifties by focusing on the issues faced by teenagers in three films, either from or set in that time period: "American Graffiti" (1973), "Imitation of Life" (1959), and "Dead Poets Society (1987). All three films deal with young people learning about relationship dyads, with their tensions, insights, and possibilities; male/female, older/younger, teacher/student, black/white, rich/poor, good girl/bad girl, mother/daughter, father/son, brother/brother, life/death. These films also deal with four main themes, especially relevant to the fifties: the search for identity, the tension between authority and autonomy, the tension between choice and restriction, and the tension between community and wandering.
There are five lesson plans at the back of the unit:
- (1) Story of a Person from a Subculture,
- (2) Surveying the School's Subcultures,
- (3) Fifties Musical Playwriting Workshop,
- (4) Comparing the Fifties to the Present Using Debits and Credits, and
- (5) Comparing the Characters from "American Graffiti" and "Dead Poets Society" to Students in the School Today.
by Jean Gallogly
Guide Entry to 98.01.02:
This unit is about collaboration, about women and their contribution to history, and about using film and books to help students learn productively.
As a Library Media Specialist in New Haven, my job is to work with the classroom teachers that draw from both our strengths. Therefore, this unit was produced in cooperation with the team from my school, the L.W. Beecher Elementary School. My unit will supplement those produced by our team as well as provide some stand-alone lesson plans.
Women are often relegated to second place in the history books, between accounts of wars and presidents. They come into their own only in March, when Women's History Month is celebrated. Because they should be celebrated all year, I have chosen to work with women historical figures, both real and fictional.
Topics covered by this unit are Tall Tales and their heroines, such as Mrs. Davy Crockett and Angelica Longrider; the record-breaking athlete and Civil Rights worker, Wilma Rudolph; Harriet Tubman, the woman who led approximately 300 slaves to freedom; and the remarkable story of Annie Oakley.
Included in the reading lists are children's books that teach about other notable women and their roles in history.
(Recommended for Literature and Social Studies, grades 1-3)
by Yolanda G. Jones
Guide Entry to 98.01.03:
This curriculum unit was developed to help educators teach about the enslavement of Africans in the Americas. This curriculum unit uses film and other media to show the various forms of resistance that slaves carried out. This curriculum unit will describe the passive day-to-day forms of rebellion that African slaves participated in such as refusing to bow down to slave masters, faking illnesses, and pretending to be unable to understand or remember slave master's orders.
This curriculum unit will also describe more aggressive forms of rebellion the African slaves carried out such as arson, poisoning, murder, self-mutilation, learning to read and write and running away to form slave maroons.
It is my intent that this curriculum unit will help students to understand that Africans resisted their enslavement in the Americas. It is also my suggestion that this curriculum unit be used as a supplement to teaching students about the Middle Passage and life for the African slaves in the Americas.
by Geraldine Martin
Guide Entry to 98.01.04:
In my paper I have explored ways in which young children can gather historical information about early pioneer life, creating mental pictures and developing a more critical eye for viewing films. Films such as "Daniel Boone," "Davy Crockett: Kind of the Wild Frontier," and "Johnny Appleseed" will be used for developing strategies and classroom activities for assimilating and analyzing historical stories based on factual information.
Mr. Friday is a puppet to assists in bringing information pertinent to the story that the children will be viewing in class. He will guide the children in their critical analysis of historical facts in film by asking relevant questions about the stories. Follow-up activities will include cooperative learning where children are paired and discuss themes from the film then report back to class. In addition, a collaborative effort will involve second and third grade students paired with first graders in order to make an animated movie about Daniel Boone.
My unit is part of a team effort including teachers from L.W. Beecher School whereby we help students utilize film to examine major movements in American history.
by Felicia R. Mckinnon
Guide Entry to 98.01.05:
This unit is designed for students in grade two but is easily adaptable through grade eight. It meets two curriculum areas: Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies and by integrating these two areas students will construct meaning from a variety of resources. There is ample opportunity for students to synthesize information as well as report information seen in films and read in literature. The students will gain insight for the causes and the effects of the migration on society. The unit uses films like "The Promised Land," "Goin' to Chicago," and "The Killing Floor" to convey the messages of the migration movement. Students are encouraged to question the representation of truth in film by comparing information from various sources. Early and more recent scholarship is used to represent more than five million African-Americans as they traveled North and West. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the migration movement through written works, discussions, and illustrations. Communication skills such as writing and oral speaking are enhanced.
by Joan Rapczynski
Guide Entry to 98.01.06:
The curriculum unit I have chosen will be incorporated into the United States History II course that is required of all eleventh graders in the city of New Haven.
The unit will focus on the civil rights movement during the years 1954-1965. In my past years of teaching American History, one of my goals was to make history come alive and be exciting for my students. One method I have found to be extremely effective is the use of visual materials. Films can bring a lesson to life. They can play a vital role in stirring up social issues of the past. Hollywood as well as independent film producers have created many films that address the civil rights movement. In viewing a film students can acquire an incredible amount of comprehensive knowledge on a topic. Film visually recreates the time period for a student. They are able to see physical gestures, cadences of speech, style of dress, style of architecture, as well as experience the environment. After viewing and discussing the film, students are usually amazed at the amount of factual knowledge they acquired while they were being entertained. I have found it to be an unusual instance when a classroom lecture can have the same impact as a powerful film. Six films will be presented in this unit as part of the study on the time period I have selected. They include the following: Separate but Equal, The Long Walk Home, The Ernest Green Story, Ghosts of Mississippi, Mississippi Burning, and Malcolm X.
by Jeannette Rogers
Guide Entry to 98.01.07:
Ten films set in rain forests are guides to Latin American history. Themes include: discovery, exploration, exploitation, colonial division of land, indigenous rain forest people, use and abuse of rain forests, individuals whose integrity made a difference, and the modern invasion of the rain forests by North and Latin Americans. The historical films are: Cabeza de Vaca, Aguirre: the Wrath of God, The Mission, One Man's War, The Burning Season, La Muralla Verde, and The Emerald Forest . The second group, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, The Mosquito Coast, and Green Mansions are complete fiction, two from well known novels, but realistic in nature; that is, the people and events are invented, but the background is historically accurate. My purpose in using fiction is to expose students to differences in the perspective of the film makers. The ten films were made by Spanish, North American, Peruvian, and British film makers between 1957 and 1997. Most are in English; some are subtitled. I will use them in themes, in groups of two to four films, to contrast perceptions and attitudes about issues of the rain forests.
by Burt Saxon
Guide Entry to 98.01.08:
Teaching Ethnicity and Race Through Films is designed by complement multicultural curricula on the high school level, although most of the films discussed in this unit could be shown to middle school students.
The author of this unit uses these films in a one semester course called ethnoliterature. The films provide cultural and familial information which is missing from the course's main text - Thomas Sowell's controversial classic Ethnic America (1981 ). Dr. Sowell is an economist with strong scholarly interests in both history and sociology. Thus his text and the films fit together to provide a comprehensive view of ethnicity and race.
____ After discussing both the use of films in social studies classrooms and Ethnic America , this unit presents movie reviews and discussion questions for five films about ethnicity: "Far and Away" (Irish-Americans), "Avalon" (Jewish-Americans), "A Bron x Tale" (Italian-Americans), "The Long Walk Home" (African-Americans), and "Mi Familia" (Mexican-Americans). Short reviews of sixteen films about race and race relations follow. These films are listed in descending order of quality from the author's per spective. The unit concludes with a brief discussion of inaccuracies and misimpressions in Hollywood films.
by Jean Sutherland
Guide Entry to 98.01.09:
This unit attempts to develop an understanding of black baseball and the Negro Leagues as they existed in the United States during the days of segregated professional baseball. This study will relate to an examination of African American history from slavery through the Civil Rights Movement. It is hoped that the pupils will make appropriate connections between the two areas of study and that one will enlighten the other. A major component of this unit is the use of films selected to make events more realistic to students, especially the third graders at whom the material is primarily directed. It is a unit which may easily be adapted to other children and situations. I would particularly recommend developing an adapted version for older children. The unit is also part of a team composed of teachers in the same seminar with related units . These other units were written by Geraldine Martin, Renee McKinnon, and Jean Gallogly.
by Sloan E. Williams Iii
Guide Entry to 98.01.10:
In the teaching of music, history, with the use of film and video, I am reminded of a saying of Leonard Bernstein, noted musician, composer and music educator, The Unanswered Question , page 3. "The best way to 'know' a thing is in context of another discipline." Musicians have gained valuable information on how to perform or study music through an examination of history. To have students gain an experience to guide them in performance and study of composers explored during this curriculum unit, I present a concept talked about at length by the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok called the "Specious Present." This concept is the ability to imagine one's self in detail in a different time period.
The central theme or concept of "Specious Present" binding all disciplines together in the development of this unit is to have students gain an understanding of different time periods as they relate to the present times of which they are aware, and how our personal views and opinions can either obscure or provide insight as to understanding their past.
The books and movies used are as follows:
1. "Amadeus" (which was taken from the play by Peter Shaffer and was turned into a film by Milos Forman)
2. "Immortal Beloved" (a movie about Beethoven which focuses on the early Nineteenth Century made by Bernard Rose)
3. "2001 A Space Odyssey" by Stanley Kubrick.
4. "Apollo 13" by William Broyles
5. "Malcolm X" Spike Lee's film based on the book The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
6. The Beethoven Companion , edited by Thomas K. Scherman and Louis Biancolli
7. Mozart Speaks: Views on Music, Musicians, and the World , by Robert Marshall
The reason I use the movie "2001" is because of Kubrick's masterful use of music in its relationship to history, Strauss's portrayal of eternity and prehistoric man. Kubrick sets his view of human history with the grace and profound awareness of human mortality painted against the almost eternal presence of space through the composers of music's romantic time period.
The use of "Apollo 13" is so that younger students might get a more tangible, concrete experience through the actual events shown in this film. This film makes a good pair with "2001." The music score is also very good because it coordinates well with the plot, theme and action visually.
"Amadeus" is a great film to use due to the brilliant use of Mozart's music to both portray his own life and the film score function of the movie. The use of Salieri's point of view is actually the point of view of the author.
"Immortal Beloved," as "Apollo 13" is paired with "2001," gives younger students a concrete look at the life of Beethoven and the reality of his disability. This film works well with the showing of "Amadeus" as they both share the same time period and Mozart had an influence on his life.
In Spike Lee's film "Malcolm X," students share an experience about both prejudice and the 60's decade and the "language" of film. The photographic medium and techniques expand the use of film as language with a historical touch of music from our present time period of the late 20th century. Blanchard's use of film scoring is moving and easy to follow for students of the art of film scoring. Both Lee and Blanchard tie into the Pulitzer prize winning oratorio "Blood on the Fields" by Wynton Marsalis that touches on 1619 and the reality of Middle Passage; this composition also relates to Duke Ellington's work "Black, Brown and Beige." One might use this unit with the new film release "He Got Game" also by Spike Lee, which also uses Aaron Copland's music which is combined with the popular music group Public Enemy as a film score.
by Barbara W. Winters
Guide Entry to 98.01.11:
This unit employs film and video as means of showing people of historical significance as parents. Materials cited span American history, from colonial times to modern day. Students will be guided to examine important people, specific incidences in their lives, and the effect of major historical events on their roles as parents. Segments of videos focusing on mate selection, infancy and young children, single parenting are among the materials to be used. While the unit is designed for young people in urban classrooms, the methods and materials may be adapted for any classroom. The unit also addresses the use of "block" scheduling or longer class periods. The lesson plans offer ideas for a variety of activities to be used in 90 rather than the traditional 45 minutes. There can be no denial of the fact that today's high school students are visually oriented. Local video stores and libraries often feature high quality products at low cost or free. Use of these films offer opportunity for the teacher to present positive role models in the classroom and the activity can be extended to the homes of the students because of the availability and attractiveness of the films. In fact, the lessons may center on people in history who should be familiar to older family members. The initiation of this conversation in the homes of the students is a prominent goal of the unit.
Introduction by Traugott Lawler, Professor of English
This was an exploratory seminar. The topic was proposed by some teachers, and I was asked to lead the seminar. I wasn't at all sure that I belonged doing that: I felt at home in Greek mythology, and somewhat in Norse, but in no other, and not in theoretical matters related to mythology either. But what's a seminar if everyone isn't learning something? So I bravely said yes, and talked with various teachers to get their ideas, and worked up a proposal for a seminar that would start with some theoretical matters and with the Greeks, then move through Norse, Egyptian, African, Native American, and Indian mythologies. One thing I insisted on was that we make sharp distinction between myth and folktale, since I had led a seminar on folktales in 1993, and wanted to make sure this one was different.
Well, we made it through our reading list, and we all learned a lot, and read a lot of spectacular stories. My own favorites were Hesiod's Theogony, Snorri Sturleson's Prose Edda, George Hart's Egyptian Myths, brilliantly compiled from the most diverse source (many of them pictorial), the Blackfoot Indian story "The Orphan Boy and the Elk Dog," and ;a stunning tale from ancient India called "The Parade of Ants." And there were so many more. We gradually evolved a way of looking in a myth for the cultural values it embodies. But a lot of us still felt uncertain at the end about categories, and I was forced to acknowledge both that a good many folktales are mythic and that you can't get too theoretical with second-graders.
Meanwhile, all the teachers figured out their own ways to present this complex-and-yet-simple material to their students. In arranging this book, I have thought it best to group the units by the grade-levels they are aimed at. The first group is for the elementary grades: Christine Elmore on Egypt, Marcia Gerencser on Native Americans, Roberta Mazzucco on Africa and Linda Frederick-Malanson (more particularly) on three African trickster myths, and, finally, Pedro Mendia-Landa on animal and creation myths. The second is for the middle grades: Christine House on Hercules, Joseph O'Keefe on tricksters, and Michelle Sepulveda on Persephone. And rounding our collection is the one unit aimed at high-school students, Mac Oliver on using the Odyssey as a vehicle for teaching students to write - and much else.
I have learned not only from our readings and discussions but from each of these units, and I recommend them to other teachers. There is much of value here, for teachers and ultimately for students.
____ ____ Traugott Lawler
Synopses of the Curriculum Units
by Christine Elmore
Guide Entry to 98.02.01:
In this curriculum unit I have set forth a literature-based program which focuses on Egyptian mythology. To better appreciate the background of Egyptian myths, we will explore some aspects of the ancient Egyptian civilization and the role that the Nile River played in people's view of life, death, and the afterlife.
We will examine adapted versions of three types of myths: cosmological, order, and life-crisis, and we will look at particular mythological symbols in the case of each myth. The introduction of such symbols will help my young students make initial associations and distinctions between stories, and from such a concrete study we can more easily move into exploration and experimentation with hieroglyphic writing to develop a greater appreciation of ancient Egyptian art.
____ To bring further clarity and meaning to the myths examined, I have chosen relevant interdisciplinary extension activities to accompany each myth, particularly stressing the development of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Although I have designed this unit with second-graders in mind, I am confident that it could be easily adapted by teachers of K-5, if not older.
(Recommended for Reading and Language Arts, grades K-5)
by Marcia L. Gerencser
Guide Entry to 98.02.02:
The topic of this unite is Native American Myths: Creation to Death. The unit is designed for a fourth grade class. It can be tailored for a third grade class or elaborated upon for a fifth grade class. It opens with a speech given by Chief Seattle of the Pacific Northwest to President Franklin Pierce in 1854 in response to the government's request to purchase 2 million acres of land in the Northwest region. The myths that are included deal with creation, earth, the moon, corn, the first man and woman, the first horses and death. Included are four lesson plans which target listening and reading comprehension, organizational skills, expository writing and poetry. The unit is followed by a student's resource list, a teacher's resource list, and a bibliography.
by Roberta Mazzucco
Guide Entry to 98.02.03:
The unit “African Myths and What They Teach” can be used alone or more ideally as part of a larger unit on Africa. The unit is geared to grade three although the materials can be used with children in grade two through five. The approach used in the unit is to present the myths so they are both entertaining and relevant. Joseph Campbell, the world's foremost authority on myth, wrote that the function of myth is in a great part the passing down of the traditions and beliefs of a culture. At their best, mythology, fables, legends, etc., seek to educate people at various ages and show them how to deal with the problems of life and to explain the physical world as we know it. The unit presents some of the many myths that deal with nature, human behavior, and creation. These stories are used to discuss with the children ideas about friendship, manners, and scientific truths which they can apply to their own lives. There is a list of integrated activities that can be used with the myths. The activities range from the areas of science to writing, art, music and geography. There is also a bibliography for students and teachers.
by Linda Frederick-Malanson
Guide Entry to 98.02.04:
This four-week curriculum details three myths/tales. They are:
I have woven my topic through most of the various parts of the curriculum and have devised a sensible pacing chart for children. It is very teacher-friendly, as I have created teacher-ready materials ready to use. In my paper I have included an introduction, the three tales along with reading, social studies, game, language arts, mathematical and art activities and/or materials along with a comprehensive bibliography and appendix.
- 1. Anansi's Rescue from the River, which is an Ashanti tale (Ghana) about a spider and his sons and the origin of the moon.
- 2. Ijapa and Yanrinbo Swear an Oath, which is an Yoruba tale (Nigeria) about two tortoises and how they outwitted others.
- 3. Zomo the Rabbit, which is in the Bantu tradition (Angola, Botswana, Gabon, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) about a hare who wishes for wisdom.
One week is spent on each tale using may activities. During the fourth week the children are involved in the following:
- 1. A review of the three tales done orally.
- 2. Partner choice reading.
- 3. Comparisons of story elements.
- 4. Comparisons of the Ashantis, Yorubas & Bantus.
- 5. Writing one's own trickster myth.
- 6. Game play - Oware(Ashanti)/Ayo(Yoruba)
- 7. A FINALE! (Art and/or dramatics)
by Pedro Mendia-Landa
Guide Entry to 98.02.05:
Has today's society lost touch with the universal dream language of myth? Are we so busy in our daily lives that the reasons why we are her are no longer important? This language arts integrated unit represent an attempt to bring some of that myth language to today's generation by exploring the immense wealth of mythological creation stories. I focus on the role that the animal plays in the stories, and I take a close look at the Phoenix as representative of mythological creatures.
This unit is an attempt to integrate the topic of mythology into the district curricular standards through the use of performance-based learning/assessment tasks. These tasks are specific to the second grade but can be adapted to meet the needs of younger and especially older students through modification.
The curriculum unit is divided into two sections. The first one provides the reader with some background knowledge on the subject matter. In the second section, the reader can see a series of lessons based on performance tasks that the students need to accomplish.
A list of student and teacher electronic and other resources is provided.
(Recommended for Integrated Social Studies, Language Arts, Science, and Social Development, grades 1-3)
by Christine Y. House
Guide Entry to 98.02.06:
This unit is intended to be used with upper elementary school students at inner city schools. American children are avid watchers of television and movies. They get a great deal of information and misinformation from these sources. It is incumbent upon parents and educators to see that the information received is factual and truthful and that the messages conveyed are accurate. This unit is designed to look at the myth of Hercules at told throughout the ages in literature and art. In particular, we will compare the animated Disney version of the tale with a variety of versions from traditional sources. Without prior knowledge of the myth of Hercules, this movie never makes any real sense. It is simply another cartoon filled with gratuitous violence without any sense of who the villains are or what has brought on such monumental challenges. The culmination of this unit will be a visual display of the children's interpretation of the stories as well as discussion of the characteristics which constitute heroism.
by Joseph O'Keefe
Guide Entry to 98.02.07:
The purpose of this unit is to develop and improve middle school student literacy skills and Connecticut Mastery Test scores through a structured cross curriculum mythology unit.
This cross-curriculum unit will simultaneously immerse students in the cooperative learning atmosphere of the Johnson and Johnson model, while emphasizing Directed Reading Thinking Activities, the FCA's of the John Collins Writing Program and various close and note-taking activities, utilizing specific graphic organizers all focusing on the reading content areas of mythology.
by Michelle Sepulveda
Guide Entry to 98.02.08:
“Discovering Persephone” is a curriculum unit aimed at producing a play in the Greek tradition while retelling the story of Persephone and Demeter. Demeter was regarded as the goddess of grain and earth and its mortals were affected by the kidnaping of her daughter, Persephone. The girl was abducted by her uncle, Hades, who was smitten by her beauty and longed for a wife to live with him in his underworld kingdom.
The story centers around a story of maternal love and distress when Demeter and Persephone's relationship is halted. Persephone longs for light, earth, and her mother but finds herself unable to hate her kidnapper. Hades is nice to her and offers her all he can produce but the girl still wants her mother. Demeter's wrath on earth causes all grain to cease growing and brings on fall and winter. Zeus is concerned about the fate of mankind and orders Hermes (the messenger god) to bring Persephone back to her mother. The girl is reunited with Demeter but because she ate food in the underworld (a pomegranate) she has to spend time in the underworld. Zeus declares a compromise where she'll spend half of the year on earth with her mother and half of the year in the underworld with her husband. As a result of this mythical story, the seasons come about.
This unit will also serve as a catalyst to the study of the original twelve gods of Olympus and the role of the mother goddess. The unit is intended for students in grades five through seven at West Hills Middle School. They (the students) will use the material studied when producing their reenactment of Persephone. they will also compare other mother goddesses like Isis (Egypt) and Hera (Greece).
by John Macauley Oliver
Guide Entry to 98.02.09:
This curriculum unit focuses on Homer's Odyssey in order to teach many levels of reading with little more than one book. I argue that Homer has an essential relevance to basic lessons in reading, writing and speaking. This curriculum unit is a rigorous writing course. Students will be engaged in many forms of composition, including essay, imitation, paraphrase, and parody. Aspects of the epic genre are discussed in detail, as well as the history of Homer in English translation.
Together with this emphasis on technical training, an integrated lesson plan must call the attention of students to philosophical and moral issues found in Homer's text. The extended relevance of Homer to Greek mythology and culture is the relevance of Greek culture to our own. There are lessons in humanity woven into this complex, rhythmical, prolonged poetic work.
Introduction by Jules D. Prown, Paul Mellon Professor of History of Art
The seminar Art and Artifacts: the Cultural Interpretation of Objects focused on close analysis of things, a non-verbal way to learn about other cultures. Valuable methodologically in its own right as a procedure for investigation, close analysis is also useful for engaging the interest of students, including those who have difficulty with verbal materials. Teachers of history, social science, foreign languages, art, English and science are among those who have found this approach useful. This year we devoted entire seminars to such objects as a silver teapot of around 1800, a pre-Revolutionary desk and bookcase, a painting by Winslow Homer, a depression era photograph by Walker Evans, a building, maps of New Haven, and clothing. Each Fellow also examined a single object, one related in some way to his or her curriculum unit, producing short written exercises in description, deduction and speculation. Reflecting the interests of the New Haven school population, the final curriculum units frequently but not exclusively deal with African, Hispanic and Native American cultures. For of the are oriented curriculum units (Belton, Lawrence, Leger, Mullins) consider Native American and/or African cultures, examining and recreating masks, sculpture and other characteristic artifacts. Four other units (Ayers, Calderon, Magaraci, Recalde) concentrate on older or ancient cultures of Mexico (Aztec), the Caribbean (Taíno), Greece (Athens and Sparta), and China (Shang) as manifest in ceremonial and utilitarian objects of bronze, stone and ceramics, and in architecture and city planning. A unit on Mohandas Gandhi (Herndon) includes a study of Gandhi's involvement with spinning as embodied in a spinning wheel to explore his values. Finally a unit based on archaeological work in Wellfleet, Massachusetts (Broker) explores cultural change over two centuries as expressed in artifacts and also as related to the natural environment.
Jules D. Prown
Synopses of the Curriculum Units
by Sheldon A. Ayers
Guide Entry to 98.03.01:
This unit will introduce students to the Shang dynasty of Chinese Neolithic culture. It is believed that this unique culture originated circa 1523 B.C. and thrived in the Huang He Valley until 1028 B.C. At the culmination of this ten day unit, students will be able to:
- 1. identify connections between modern Chinese culture and Shang culture
- 2. explain the hierarchical class structure of Shang society
- 3. describe how the king played a pivotal role in Shang government and religion
- 4. construct a "balance sheet" or chart describing the different social roles of the Shang nobleman and the Shang peasantry.
- 5. plan a museum exhibit of Shang archeological artifacts
- 6. analyze Shang artifacts methodically, mindful that they are historical events with "bundled messages" from the past
by Val-Jean Belton
Guide Entry to 98.03.02:
This unit is specifically designed for Introductory Art Classes at the High School level. The intent of this unit is to introduce students to African art and aesthetics.
This unit examines the background history of African art. In this interdisciplinary approach to teaching, the meaning of African art and aesthetics is revealed through the methodologies of analyzing art objects: description, deduction, and speculation. Teaching strategies includes class trips to the Yale Art Gallery, where students will study and observe the permanent African art collection.
The art objects analyzed include:
- "Ibeji" Twin Statutes (19th c.) Yoruba Civilization, Nigeria.
- "Sowo Wui Helmet" (20th c.) Mende Civilization, Sierra Leone.
- "Aron Etoma Mask" (20th c.) Temne Civilization, Sierra Leone.
Included in this unit are the objectives, the elements of African art aesthetics, student drawing handouts of the objects, and an annotated bibliography. The goal is for student to get a clearer understanding of how aesthetics influences African art.
by Stephen P. Broker
Guide Entry to 98.03.03:
This curriculum unit brings together information from the fields of material culture, historical archaeology, ecology, and environmental science in an interdisciplinary approach to learning. I identify strategies for the study of excavated archaeological artifacts using the language and methodologies of material culture. The evidence gained from these studies is used to examine changing technologies and associated present day environmental problems. An expected outcome of the study is an understanding of the changing beliefs and values of a coastal New England community during the past two hundred years. The curriculum unit has been developed for use in my high school course, "Environmental Science," a science elective for juniors and seniors. It is based on a long term historical archaeology project I have been conducting. The archaeological site, which is underwater at high tide and exposed at low tide, is in a tidal creek at the center of the Outer Cape Cod town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
Environmental Science is the study of how people interact positively and negatively with other living organisms and with the nonliving environment. It is a physical and social science that draws on knowledge from many disciplines. An important component of environmental science is the examination of technology, that applied science which employs process or invention or engineering to provide a social group with the material objects of its civilization. The technologies considered in this unit include energy use, food handling and preservation, disposal of waste, methods of transportation (carriage, sailing ship, steam ship, railroad, automobile), and those technologies more broadly encompassed in trade or commerce. The excavated objects my students examine to learn about these changing technologies are lighting devices (candlesticks, whale oil lamps, kerosene lamps), kitchen and other household items (pewter spoon, earthenware milk cooling pans and other storage containers, chamberpots), 19th century children's toys, early maps of Wellfleet Village, and such tools and devices as a brass telescope, a harpoon, a whale blubber cutting blade, and an eel spear.
The specific environmental problems which I anticipate will emerge from student work include the near-extinction of baleen whales, the decimation of the Atlantic fishery, the changing economic base of a small New England community, the collapse and subsequent recovery of Cape Cod's human population, human impacts on estuaries, salt marshes, and freshwater wetland ecosystems, and the growing shortage and contamination of groundwater.
by Elsa Maria Calderón
Guide Entry to 98.03.04:
This unit is specifically designed for Spanish for Spanish Speakers classes at the high school level, but may be adapted for advanced Spanish classes. (Spanish 4 Honors or Spanish 5). Most of the Spanish speakers or Latinos in New Haven are Puerto Rican and their ancestry is a combination or mezcla of Spanish, African, and Taíno. The intent of this unit is to reconnect the Puerto Rican student of New Haven with his Taíno heritage.
Although the Taínos are extinct as a separate and identifiable race or culture, they are alive in Puerto Rico in our vocabulary, music, and beliefs. As noted Puerto Rican author Rafael González Mu–iz stated," Nuestro indio vive todavía: en lo físico, los sentimientos de nuestra gente, la bondad, y la toponomía ". (Our Indian lives today: in the physical traits, the feelings and emotions of our people, our kindness, and the toponomy of Puerto Rico.)
The unit examines the Taínos via literature and art. Teaching strategies include analysis of literature using thematic approaches, problem-solving and cooperative group activities. The literature includes poems by Rafael González Mu–iz and Isabel Freire de Matos, creation myths, legends such as Guanina by Cayetano Coll y Toste, and fictional short stories by Edwin Fontánez and Harriet Rohmer. Since one of the stated goals of the curriculum for the Spanish for Spanish Speakers' class is refining writing skills, writing assignments are emphasized: journal-writing, reaction papers, long poems, and a research project using the Internet.
Finally, the unit includes hands-on art activities and a methodology for analyzing art objects: description, deduction, and speculation. The art objects and artifacts to be examined include dujo, cemí, guanín , and artifacts from ball games and ceremonial parks. Some of these art objects may be found at El Museo del Barrio and at the Yale Peabody Museum. I developed the following metaphors to to help the students connect the various parts of the unit:
Included in the unit are the objectives, three lesson plans, correlation with the New Haven Foreign Language standards, an annotated bibliography, and recommendations for teachers of all levels who wish to do more extensive research. This unit remembers and celebrates the Taínos. Nuestro indio vive todavía .
- ·the puzzle or unsolved mystery
- ·the sacred mountain
- ·the sacred waters
- ·the number three
(Recommended for Spanish for Spanish Speakers, Spanish for Hispanics, Spanish 4 Honors, and Spanish 5, grades 9-12)
by Peter N. Herndon
Guide Entry to 98.03.05:
This curriculum unit is intended for use in high school World History classes, but it can be adapted and used by teachers of United States history or Contemporary Issues when studying civil rights themes. Gandhi's reliance on nonviolent resistance to achieve political ends links his movement directly with that of Martin Luther King during the civil rights era of the 1960's. What can we learn from Gandhi the public servant, Gandhi the private person and Gandhi the philosopher? My teaching unit attempts to challenge students to confront a unique person with a unique lifestyle and a compelling message, "How can those without power, gain fair treatment from those in power?"
A teacher who decides to utilize this unit should be able to acquaint students with the root causes of cultural and racial discrimination and how people in various times and places have responded to being victimized by unfair treatment. They will realize that throughout history, past practices of discrimination and segregation leave wounds that may take generations to heal. "Coloreds" in South Africa, "Untouchables" in India, and "Negroes" in the American South were all at one time victims of legal and economic discrimination that have significant implications in the present day. What do individuals and societies affected by a legacy of unfairness do to ameliorate the resentments and hatreds of the past? Is reconciliation possible? What about those individuals who seem determined to continue a legacy of hatred and oppression? Are we ever guilty of buying into the idea that "all men are equal but some are more equal than others?"
Activities in this unit are designed to help the student understand what personal qualities and abilities Gandhi had that enabled him to inspire his people to be willing to sacrifice now in order to attain a dream in the future. How can dreams become reality? Students who pay attention to the lessons to be learned from the life and struggles of Mohandas Gandhi should gain some valuable lessons in achieving their own goals.
I designed the unit to help students learn how Gandhi's personal philosophy developed over time. How did his early experiences growing up in a liberal Hindu middle class home affect his thinking? How did his life in England as a law student influence his ideas? What ideas from books, such as the Bhagavad-Gita, the New Testament, Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, and Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You, influenced him in developing a consistent "world view"? How did he develop the important ideas of "truth force" (satyagraha) and civil resistance (ahisma)? How importance was the concept of forgiveness to Gandhi? Students should see that part of the power of Gandhi's leadership came from his commitment to action that was consistent with his words. Much of his credibility as a leader came from his ability to lead by example, something he learned from personal experience.
A major part of this unit is based on film segments from the Academy-award winning film, "Gandhi." In the Lesson Plan Section, there are detailed instructions how to best make use of the film, which is broken into four parts for classroom purposes, and includes a Study Guide for students. Another major part of this unit is devoted to the spinning wheel. Home spinning was a vital part of Gandhi's program to end British rule in India and raise people's consciousness of community. Students will learn how spinning wheels operate, a brief history of spinning and learn how to carefully observe an object or artifact, in this case an ancient spinning wheel, using Professor Jules Prown's methods of analysis.
by Waltrina Kirkland-Mullins
Guide Entry to 98.03.06:
COMMON GROUND: MASKS FROM A CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE has been developed to stir young minds to experience the interconnectedness of art and the human experience, and to help children recognize that by examining other cultures, we learn about ourselves. The unit is also intended to encourage teachers to bring the celebration of diversity and the philosophy of respecting the beauty of all cultures to life by exploring cultures outside of their own.
In general, students will take a look at Native American and African culture. These two groups have been selected because they are suited for the Social Studies framework established in our school for primary grade levels. Targeted at students in Grades 1 and 2, but modifiable to include Grades 3 to 5, COMMON GROUND takes a general look at Native American and African culture, a close-up look at the use and creation of masks by these cultures, and concludes with two exciting hands on mask-making activities and a creative writing effort to accompany student mask creations.
This curriculum unit serves as a perfect complement for seasonal holidays that occur from October through February, bringing in a new perspective to the use of masks and costumes and a new respect for the cultures that create them.
Overall, it is the author's hope that COMMON GROUND will serve as a springboard to foster enthusiastic learning, and a climate where diversity is welcomed, embraced, and celebrated!
by Jeanne Z. Lawrence
Guide Entry to 98.03.07:
All of us are familiar with masks from Halloween, plays, masquerades and ceremonies. There is an element of magic connected with masks.
People of the past wore masks on special ceremonial occasions. Some people today wear invisible masks. C. J. Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology, presented the theory that people possess three parts to their personality. A mask which forms the outer personality is the face shown to the world.
The wearing of masks in children's literature is a universal and fascinating theme. As I present parts of this unit to my Kindergarten through Fifth grade students in our Library Media Center students can relate to the action of wearing a mask and changing behavior along with changing appearance.
The stories lurking behind masks of two cultures will be presented. The fourteen Native American groups studied will include the Algonquian-speaking tribes: Micmac, Pequot, Delaware. Chippewa, and Masochist; the Iroquois-speaking tribes: Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Seneca and Onondaga; and the Pacific Northeast tribes: the Haida, Tlingit, Chinook, and Kwakiutl. Additionally we will learn about masks and the cultures of Central and East Africa, including Uganda, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
(Recommended for Social Studies, grades K-5)
by Victor Leger
Guide Entry to 98.03.08:
This unit will teach the social studies standards of other cultures, namely the Native Americans. It will also teach how the environment was central to the Native Americans for all their needs and inspiration.
I chose four different groups that epitomized four distinctly different environments of North America. The four tribes are Inuit, Sioux, Iroquois, and Hopi. In the first half of the unit each tribe is presented with some background information for the students and then a detailed lesson plan of how to create artifacts that each tribe is known for, such as masks, wampum, winter counts on buffalo hides and kachinas.
The second half teaches about the distinct environments and how they influenced the particular type of architecture of each tribe. The unit concludes with lesson plans to create miniature replicas of igloos, tepees, longhouses and pueblos and placing them into village dioramas that the class can create as a whole.
by Anthony F. Magaraci II
Guide Entry to 98.03.09:
The unit provides students an opportunity to learn ancient Greek history by discovering how warfare influenced culture. Teachers present students with correlations between Greek art depicting warfare and the development of culture. Students also learn how people's thoughts and actions contributed to the unique conditions found within a particular civilization, and how these people expressed their life experiences related to warfare. Students also learn about ancient Greek traditions through mythology in relation to human conflict. Accompanying this portion of the unit is an examination of the influences Greek culture has had upon contemporary society, especially in the areas of science, math, architecture, medicine, philosophy, and government.
Students have the opportunity to become active participants throughout the entire unit. A number of activities, such as role-plays and simulations are incorporated in an attempt to further student comprehension of the historical content presented. These activities also serve to recreate the societal conditions found in the ancient Greek city-states. Students will be challenged by the prospect of having to construct value judgments when they can acquire a sense of personal awareness.
by Luis A. Recalde
Guide Entry to 98.03.10:
In this curriculum unit I have chosen a city - Tenochtitlan - as the cultural object to bring the past back to life. Bringing the past back to life is a difficult task that requires knowledge of the past and identification of objects of culture necessary to make this happen. We want to center on the city of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) to bring back some of the past at the time that the Conquistadores penetrated into the Mexican highlands in 1519 in this unit directed to students of the fifth grade level. Our media are writing, drawing, painting and building models of the city with the help and collaboration of other teachers and students. The use of chronicles, books, maps, paintings, codexes and models is essential for the reconstruction of the most important parts of the city. One of our objectives in undertaking these tasks is to address historical issues proper to the academic development of the student. We also address academic issues of literacy and mathematics together with the arts. Our purpose is to instill critical thinking in the student, to promote research and writing skills, to tap the artistic talents of students and to utilize mathematical thinking in the reconstruction of models. Further, we want students to have a sense of how history is made and how it works. We include assessment lists that give the student the opportunity for reflection and growth.
Introduction by Rogers M. Smith, Professor of Political Science
Twenty-five years ago, the study of American political thought seemed virtually dead, with nothing new to say. But since then, four developments have made it a remarkable lively field. First, scholars began to argue that American political thought had long centered not on individual rights and liberties, as many scholars argued, as much as on community, civic virtue, and republican self-governance - traditions many thought modern America needed to revive. Second, more scholars began to pay attention to the ways African-Americans, women, and other long-disfranchised groups had contributed to American political thinking as thinkers, not just as objects of thought. Third, scholars in several disciplines began to contend that the Progressive era saw far greater transformations in American thought than previously acknowledged, with pragmatist reform outlooks stressing scientific expertise and social democracy successfully challenging much in America's founding heritage. Some have celebrated these changes, others lament them. Finally, scholars like myself have argued we can no longer ignore the now often embarrassing American thinkers who defended the exclusions and subordinations that women, blacks, and other ethnic minorities experienced, exclusions and subordinations that even many Progressives defended, though in new ways.
In this seminar we read primary texts in American political thought from Tom Paine's Common Sense in 1776 through very recent writings on the economy, race, gender and religion by figures like Charles Murray, Robert Reich, Shelby Steele and Ralph Reed. We examined well-known works like the Federalist Papers, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, William Graham Sumner's Social Darwinist writings and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail , but also sometimes forgotten writings like the public correspondence between Catherine Beecher and Angelina Grimke, 19th century women activists with very different views; the defenses of white supremacy by figures like Henry Grady and Josiah Strong; and the black nationalism of Malcolm X. We concentrated on three themes: Why have America at all? Who should be a full member? How should its basic economic and political institutions be organized?
The units here, shaped by lively discussions and much outside research, adapt these themes for students at levels ranging from kindergarten through high school and for classes in drama and mathematics as well as history and social studies. All are rich in historical information about the variety of experiences people have had in America, the leaders who helped create and transform those experiences, and the ideas they had. Kindergartners are taught about people who made change democratically, then encouraged to undertake democratic change themselves, and then encouraged further to reflect on those experiences. In two units, students not only learn from classic films and plays dramatizing America's political and racial conflicts but also use primary materials to explore those issues through dramas they write themselves.
Historic debates over whether the government should intervene in the economy and who, if so, it should benefit are studied against the backdrop of the Great Depression, and the recurring American urge to find a better way, especially through technology, is critically examined in a unit on inventing. Mathematical skills are developed by using census data to calculate information on the collective stories of different immigrant groups. Other innovative units invite students to picture themselves in the position of a variety of participants when the Revolution was fought, when the Constitution was adopted, when the Civil War raged, when African-Americans contemplated going "Back to Africa" and when many instead fought for their civil rights here. Doing so should make vivid for students what was at stake and why there could be profound differences about the nation's best course. Many of the units provide moving depictions of the lives of the men and women, rich and poor, black, white, Native American, Latino, and of other ancestries, who have all contributed (sometimes positively, sometimes negatively) to the still imperfect realization of the promise of America to provide economic opportunities, political self-governance, and personal liberties for as wide a variety of humanity as possible.
Together these units illustrate the basic issues in American political thought can be brought to life for a wide range of students at all levels through creative uses of historical materials, computer resources, drama, speeches, and above all, through the students' own reflective imaginations, once they are informed by substantial factual knowledge. The units show how America's teachers can not only keep the heritage of American political thought alive for our students but also provide them with intellectual and moral resources needed to think and do yet better things in the future.
Rogers M. Smith
Synopses of the Curriculum Units
by Mary Stewart Bargar
Guide Entry to 98.04.01:
Each week students will be introduced to a new American political thinker. A diverse and equitable view of our population is necessary to achieve realistic values in political thought. In order to encourage these values I will use the visions and action plans of Cesar Chavez, Jane Addams, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Beecher Stowe, through story tellings. These stories will present a diverse cross section of political thinkers. The abolishment of slavery, suffrage movement, social reform of nineteenth century, and organization of migrant workers have each greatly affected political thought in North America. Students will be able to solve problems at class meetings and engage in dramatics as their favorite political thinker. The voices honed here will reemerge during future play productions. Once all four political thinkers have been introduced, the class will draft a vision statement that contains a problem they would like to solve either in school or the larger community. After the vision statement is drawn up they will create an action plan to accomplish their goal.
The students will be introduced to the art of murals and marionettes. In their own right each of these art forms have communicated and continue to communicate political unrest, reform and change throughout diverse cultures. Through each of these mediums they will express their vision. The planning of the murals and construction of the marionettes will integrate our math and science curriculum. The writing of the plays and mural narratives will incorporate the writing process. Connections to our school and community's political system will be established through trips to our principle, School Planning and Management Team (SPAT), the mayors office and the board of education. They will present their vision and ask for comments and or suggestions from each organization. Investigating and working with each of these groups will empower the students and contribute to their value systems. They will know how to effect change.
by Sophie Bell
Guide Entry to 98.04.02:
This curriculum unit introduces tenth grade United States History students to criticisms and defenses of the Constitution. The unit aims to challenge students to evaluate the Constitution's accuracy in claiming to "promote general welfare," and is imagined to follow and culminate a traditional study of the Constitution. This unit will help students situate the Constitution within the context of race, gender, and class dynamics of the early nation. Students will read and discuss challenging primary and secondary documents, practice oral and written debate, and have an opportunity to bring the Constitution to life through speech-making.
The Constitution was written by a group of people who did not mirror the diversity of the nation at the end of the 18th century. All of the delegates to the Constitutional Conventions were white, male property owners. It was obviously not in their interest to promote increased freedom or economic opportunities for women, African-Americans, Native Americans, or unpropertied men. An argument can be made that the lifestyles of the "founders" depended on the cheap labor and diminished social positions of these other groups, and that their position as elites caused the framers to draft a document that protected the status of the rich and powerful, more than general equality. Students will engage with this criticism of the Constitution, as well as developing and defending their own opinions about its strengths and weaknesses.
The unit uses primary documents to help students of history to connect with what happened in the past. Students will read excerpts from the Constitution, as we as people's opinions of it. They will also read and discuss Howard Zinn's criticisms of the Constitution in "A People's History of the United States." The unit asks students to assume, as often as possible, the roles of the people being studied. Students will have opportunities to speak or write as James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Luther Martin, Hiawatha, Benjamin Banneker, Daniel Shays, and Abigail Adams. The unit is also designed to help prepare students for the open-ended and persuasive writing tasks they are being asked to perform in many statewide tests, such as the Connecticut Academic Performance Test.
by Yel Hannon Brayton
Guide Entry to 98.04.03:
Drama and Destiny sets a course of exploration for eighth grade Theatre students to learn about themselves, their country, and the possibilities that the future holds for them. The unit includes two main sections: 1) Why America? , which addresses the cosmology and geology involved in creating our world and subsequently the country we live in; 2) What is Justice? , which focuses on issues of racism, segregation, and discrimination in America and how such issues are represent in two plays - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. A short concluding section follows, titled What Does the Future Hold?, which take a look at technological advancement - past, present, and future - and the impact our inventiveness has had and will have with respect to progress, ethics, and survival for America and for humanity.
In accordance with National Arts Content Standards, the unit includes warm-up exercises, key questions, discussions, acting exercises, readthroughs, improvisation, scenework, and creative writing. By demonstrating historical events through reading plays, discussion, analysis, acting, and playwriting, it is the intent of this unit to foster in the students an understanding of history in order to deal with the present and foresee future problems and possibilities.
by Joyce Bryant
Guide Entry to 98.04.04:
This unit is about the Great Depression under President Herbert Clark Hoover's administration.
Under Hoover's administration with his rugged individualism he felt that if people turned to the government, however justified in time of war, if it continued in peace time it would not only destroy the system but with it progress and freedom. He also felt that the control of government in business would affect the daily lives of each individual and it would impair the basis of liberty and freedom.
It also contain information on the New Deal under Franklin Dillon Roosevelt's administration.
Roosevelt believed that the greatest primary task was to put people to work, and it was not an unsolvable problem if faced wisely and courageously. He also believed that it could be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the government. He advised treating the task with the emergency of a war, but at the same time, using employment instead of armed forces to stimulate the use of natural resources accomplishing greatly needed projects. He then suggested national planning and supervision of all forms of transportation, communications and other utilities which had definite public character. Also he thought to implement the strict supervision of banking, credit, investments, and the provision for adequate but sound currency.
by Jeanne Kimberley Chandler
Guide Entry to 98.04.05:
“Who Gets To Invent and How Do Inventors Change Our Lives” is a social studies thematic unit. This unit can be used by teachers in second through sixth grade. Teachers can integrate this unit into their curriculum, using the unit to teach reading, writing and critical thinking skills. The key to the success of this unit is how the teacher facilitates class discussion about inventors and their influence on our lives.
This unit is an opportunity for students to learn about the positive and negative effects of innovations. The unit presents materials about the advancements of civilizations made possible by inventions, as well as the harm caused to people and the environment by technology. This unit also presents the differences in the kinds of challenges presented to minority inventors versus white inventors, and how these inventors overcame the obstacles in their lives.
An important part of this unit is allowing students to have the opportunity to become inventors themselves. This unit encourages students to become problem-solvers and to come up with solutions for everyday dilemmas. Today's students are tomorrow's inventors. The ability to create in school gives children the chance to see the importance of new ideas and especially their ideas.
by June Gold
Guide Entry to 98.04.06:
In order to get students to become more engaged in the complex topic of American History, I have written this unit, which is designed for eighth grade learners. This unit requires students to respond to the events in developing America by writing to their unborn child, or to a real or created character living at the time of the events being studied. The student will explore events along a timeline chosen by the teacher, encompassing that material which will be studied for the duration of the term, or school year. As each event is presented and explored, the student is forced to think compassionately, putting himself into the event and becoming part of the action. The writer will be encouraged to think about the decisions that people made, doing so from several viewpoints. After thinking critically about the event and its' components, the student will then choose a place for himself within that part of history. As a demonstration and an evaluation of the process, the learner will then become a historical character and document his role, thoughts, and ideas in the form of a letter to his unborn progeny, or to a related figure living at that time. Doing this accomplishes several tasks. First, it forces the student to become emotionally involved with the political arena, and it encourages the writer to come to see and understand events in history from several viewpoints. Finally, the developing portfolio of work serves as both an assessment tool for the teacher and becomes a wonderful momento of accomplishment.
by Gary Highsmith
Guide Entry to 98.04.07:
"Go Back to Africa" is perhaps the most racially charged political phrase used in connection with Black people in America today. Most Blacks, as well as most Whites, have probably come to interpret such a statement as derogatory. However, Back-to-Africa political thought has not always been looked upon with such derision. Contrary to popular belief, Black and not White leaders in America were the first ones to raise the issue of Black repatriation to the continent of Africa.
The unit, “Land is the Basis of All Independence,” is intended for use in Social Studies, US History or Black history classes in grades 7-12, and discusses the development of American political thought regarding the emergence and significance of Back-to-Africa political thought in America between 1790 and 1850.
The information contained herein is important to know for many reasons. However, what is of primary importance in this regard is that in order to understand Black people and the diverse roles they play in American life today, and the choices that they have had to make in the face of intense racism and White supremacy, all people generally, and students in particular, need a vivid sense both of how passionate many Blacks have been about making better lives for themselves here in America, and also how understandably embittered many have always been about the prospects for doing so here. As a result, emigration or repatriation presented and still present themselves as viable options for Black people.
by Mary Elizabeth Jones
Guide Entry to 98.04.08:
|This unit is designed to use American Political thought to teach mathematical concepts. The unit will highlight selected minority immigration to America. The selected groups are Asian (Chinese and Japanese), Jewish, Hispanic (Puerto Rican and Mexican) and African. The unit will explore why they chose to come to America and how they fared once they arrived. We will look at and compare the socioeconomic status of the groups and also look at factors that likely contributed to their condition. The unit is designed to be taught over a 10-week period, however, it can be broken into part to coincide with ethnic celebrations.|
Students will use census data, current publications and publications of the era to collect data. In addition to teaching mathematical concepts, the unit will also highlight the contributions of selected minorities.
(Recommended for Mathematics and Social Studies, grades 6-8)
by Cynthia H. Roberts
Guide Entry to 98.04.09:
This unit was written for Special Education students in grades 9-12, whos' reading levels are below grade level. In writing this unit, it is my purpose to motivate, interest and stimulate students in what they are learning.
The basic idea of this unit, is to give students an overview of African Americans in Politics and Government at the State, Local, and National level dating from the 1800's to the present time.
The History of African American relationships with Politics and Government is weighed toward the fight for social, economic and political equality. African American have served the U. S. government well despite setbacks. Their contributions are interwoven into the fabric of politics and government of the United States.
The African American historical experience was forged in the crucible of struggle, but it is more, than merely the recorded history of that struggle. It is also the story of the transcendence and triumph of human spirit, of remarkable men and women who challenged myths and misconceptions to help make a change in politics and government.
Famous political figures will be discussed with a view towards the context. Through these readings, we will attempt to focus upon the author's life works, individual strengths, the role each played and the struggle each individual had to overcome. Although this unit will be most responsive to the African American students, all students will have something to gain from the context.
by Paul Edward Turtola
Guide Entry to 98.04.10:
This curriculum unit is written to provide teachers with ideas that focus on American political thought. It acts as a useful guide to the many wonderful places on the World Wide Web, and explores a number of these sites so that teachers may feel comfortable using the internet as a supreme resource for finding exciting media to supplement their lesson plans.
While students will be trained to become self reliant in their thoughts and feelings, they will also be taught how groups of people have altered our country's independence with bias, prejudice and bigotry. Students will be able to discern traditional "group thinking" which established racial tension and hate in this country.
Lesson Plan #1 An Open Discussion: Students' views on a controversial topic
An opening topic which will allow students to offer their thoughts and express their feelings will be on the subject of the proposed "national apology" for slavery.
Lesson Plan #2 Teaching Prejudice: A Film Presentation and Discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird .
Lesson Plan #3 A Collage Play: Biographies of Famous American Political Thinkers
Section A: Internet Resource Guide for Teachers
While this curriculum unit contains several ideas for classes to be covered that pertain to American political thought, it is also to serve as a teachers' guide to the Internet.
Section B: Curriculum Development Projects
While several lesson plans have been included that are original ideas, many of the following plans come from other teachers all over the United States. They are included in this unit to promote creative unit composition and increase flexibility.
Introduction by Thomas R. Whitaker, Frederick W. Hilles Professor Emeritus of English
In Reading Across the Cultures we engaged contemporary American writing by authors from several ethnic or racial groups: Latino, African American, Native American, Jewish, and Asian American. We began with Sandra Cisneros' The House On Mango Street, turned then to short fiction in The Latino Reader , edited by Harold Augenbraum and Margarite Fernandos Olimos, and then to Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place , Louise Erdich's Love Medicine , Bernard Malamud's The Assistant , and - at least for a preliminary skirmish with its complexities - Maxine Hong Kingston's Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book . After returning to The Latino Reader for some essays and poetry, we read in two works that exemplify certain of the challenges of inhabiting a multicultural community: Gary Snyder's No Nature and Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace . We paid attention to the distinctive aspects of minority cultures but also, and more importantly, to matters that seemed to underlie or transcend any ethnic or racial orientation: similar social and psychological problems, a common tool-kit of artistic strategies, and complementary visions of the larger national community. Indeed, as more than one Fellow remarked, the multi-ethnic constitution of our seminar and its wide-ranging and sometimes impassioned discussions made our own meetings an adventure in the subject we were studying.
The curriculum units illustrate the adaptability of our topic to various settings. Kathleen Ware's "Multicultural Achievers A to Z" offers the kindergarten teacher an array of subjects and activities that can link social studies to other aspects of a whole curriculum. Yolanda Trapp, who works in bilingual and special education, provides many suggestions from various cultures for reading aloud to children from kindergarten to fourth grade. Nancy Taylor Skolozdra will use children's literature in third grade to explore the Inuit, African American, Hispanic, and Chinese American cultures. Gwendolyn Robinson will use holidays and festivals to introduce her fourth grade children to a variety of culturally distinctive foods, activities, and objects. And Carolyn Williams, who teaches fourth grade in New Haven's Talented and Gifted Program, will open up communication among a multi-ethnic classroom population by way of a story about Vietnamese refugees.
Two fifth-grade teachers offer complementary approaches to cultural diversity. Carol S. Heidecker, focusing on the Holocaust and our need to respect human differences, will lead her students through four books that "exemplify the beauty of the human spirit from culturally diverse perspectives." Sequella H. Coleman, seeking to encourage a greater interest in reading, will lead her students through three books that engage issues of "growing up" in different cultures.
Three Fellows who teach in secondary school have also adapted our topic to different settings. Bonnie Bielen Osborne, who teaches special education at a school for pregnant teens and young mothers, will use American holidays and related children's books to lead her students into an understanding of our cultural diversity and important aspects of child-rearing. Genoveva T. Palmieri, who teaches eleventh and twelfth grade students in a high school for the fine arts, will emphasize the language-learning experience of three bilingual writers whose first language was Spanish. And George Peterman, who teaches Honors and Advanced Placement English, will introduce his students - through poems, stories, essays, and a play - to the complex role of language in the quest of Puerto Ricans in the United States for self-definition.
Thomas R. Whitaker
Synopses of the Curriculum Units
by Kathleen Ware
Guide Entry to 98.05.01:
The main objective of this unit is to help children celebrate the achievements of individuals of different ethnic groups by focusing on the contributions made in the fields of music, sports, science, etc. The basis of this unite lies in a language-based program. The literature utilized in this unit consists mainly but not exclusively of non-fictional selections. The interdisciplinary approach will include reading, science, art, writing, and some physical activities. The emphasis here is not on the recall of facts but on exposure to the accomplishments of individuals of various ethnic and cultural groups.
Through a rich selection of literature about persons of various ethnic and cultural groups, the children will learn about those who have made a positive contribution to society. The main groups presented in this unit include African-American, Japanese-American, Latino/Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. These persons have been chosen from the past and the present.
The unit, “Who's Who in America: Multicultural Achievers A to Z: Past and Present,” provides the children with the opportunity to read about the dreams, aspirations, and goals of people who were once children like themselves. Through the study of this unit, the children will learn of the disappointments, hardships, and difficulties that these people faced and overcame. Knowing that others have passed this way before them can only serve as a motivator as the children see themselves reflected in literature.
by Yolanda U. Trapp
Guide Entry to 98.05.02:
"Story reading to an audience is as old as Literacy. The storyteller and the true story reader (one who interprets the story through voice, expression and body language) enter into an active relationship with the audience." (Saxby, Maurice, Winch and Hoodstad.)
Reading aloud to children is important at every age. It provides children with continuous access to books they cannot yet read independently and introduces them to a variety of authors and genres. This unit of multicultural discovery when reading poetry and stories for the elementary grades has been adapted and selected in the interests and needs of the children. This unit intends to embrace the reality of multiculturalism in American society by providing a balance between learning the common core of dominant cultural knowledge (English language, democratic values) and knowledge of minority cultures. Respectfully I expose children to poetry and stories connecting learning to the child's individual world. This program is an ambitious one, rich in introducing people, places, events, ideas, concepts, and artistic productions that have shaped the country in terms of racial/ethnic composition. For kindergarten and special education students I have chosen a beautiful story about a Japanese little girl. Children at this age or level are not able to read independently; that's why the story chosen is very simple and intends to develop feelings rather than learning symbols. The primary goal in this case is to develop a love of books.
For more advanced grades, the selection is different and is based in more understanding of ethnic and/or racial background. United States enjoys the folklore of all cultures and has been influenced in many ways, but in this unit the emphasis is given in trying to extract the differences and similarities of all human beings regardless of the color or their skin or their eyes feature.
My lessons are simple and with easy-to-adapt tips and strategies. They intend to assure children's contact in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, reading stories - poems, hoping it will continue to interest students long after the unit ends.
by Nancy Taylor Skolozdra
Guide Entry to 98.05.03:
This unit uses children's literature as the catalyst with which to explore the Inuit, African American, Hispanic, and Chinese cultures. It has been patterned as a whole language integrated reading, language arts, social studies curriculum to be used at a middle elementary level where the reading levels range from third grade to fifth grade. The integration of authentic pieces of literature into a study of several cultures within our nation draws children to a place, creates a bond, and springboards an exploration into the daily lives of others who at a closer look are really very much like them. Various non- fiction children's books and computer research supply the information base for the children to successfully accomplish the social studies objectives. Each study includes activities for building background, developing vocabulary strategies and key words, previewing and predicting, setting a purpose, and the actual guided reading of each text. This unit includes opportunities for personal responses to the literature through summarizing, writing, and critical thinking. It provides a variety of hands-on activities which will transform the classroom into a multicultural environment.
by Gwendolyn Robinson
Guide Entry to 98.05.04:
This unit covers a variety of subject areas but its main purpose is cultural awareness and appreciation. The age groups targeted are 8-12 years old. Mathematics/Measurement, Food Pyramid, Following Directions, Nature/Classification, Earth Science, and Language lessons are included. Each holiday is presented with a lesson that will help your students practice their Connecticut Mastery Test skills.
The four cultures that will be explored are the Spanish culture (Mexico), the Italian culture (Italy), the Jewish culture (Israel), and the African culture (Ghana). Specific holidays and celebrations form these groups that the children of these countries like are explained and expanded upon. Comparisons are made between the cultures and topics like the losing and regaining of independence between two cultures is discussed.
The intent of this unit is to introduce students to things that are important to children outside of the United States with the hope that they will better appreciate all cultures and people, as well as, gain a greater respect and appreciation for holidays, celebrations and practices of the wide variety of different people here in the United States of America.
Most of the materials used to complete the lessons are available in your home or classroom. Those that are not can be purchased inexpensively.
by Carolyn S. Williams
Guide Entry to 98.05.05:
This is an eighteen week literature course built around short stories and novels whose theme ideas mirror every child's culture. It is designed as a child-centered approach to learning about self and others. Although targeted for grade four students in New Haven's TAG Program, it is easily adapted for use with other grade levels.
The skills and lesson ideas are intended to invite students to work cooperatively as well as independently to investigate cultural differences among America's diverse ethnic populations. It's feature novel is a story about a Vietnamese family who finds that they are able to make the adjustments necessary to remain in America. The story features twelve year old boys who, despite their cultural differences form a working friendship.
Through reading ethnic literature, open ended discussion activities, research, and personal writings, students are invited to open lines of communication among ethnic classroom populations and take that learning out into their communities. The unit's larger purpose is an attempt to create a society who more that tolerates, but understands, accepts and celebrates America's diversity.
by Carol S. Heidecker
Guide Entry to 98.05.06:
"Learning to Respect Differences Through Cultural Diversity in Literature: Teaching Acceptance," is a multicultural literature-based thematic unit. Through books representing the following cultures: African-American in Sounder, Hispanic in Poems Across the Pavement , Japanese in Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes , and Jewish in The Hiding Place , I hope to establish an appreciation and pride in my own students for their cultures and a respect for people of other cultures with which they are not familiar.
In each book chosen, the cultures represented face adverse situations. However, there is a remarkable spirit exemplified by all. The difficulties each group encounters are overcome through tremendous will, strength and determination.
Sounder is a classic piece of literature telling the story of an African-American boy's desire to become educated when African-Americans were limited in their abilities to do so. A great tragedy befalls his family. Nevertheless, this tragedy proves to be the catalyst that enables him to ascertain his dream.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is a poignant, true story of a young Japanese girl who contracts the A-bomb (atom bomb) disease, leukemia. She was two years old when the bomb was dropped. She was twelve years old when the doctors realized she had leukemia. She dies, but her legacy lives on to this day in a monument erected in her honor.
The Hiding Place is also a true story. A Christian family become leaders in an "underground operation" that helps Jews who are seeking escape from Nazi occupied Holland. Corrie Ten Boom, the sole survivor of those taken to the concentration camps, tells this compelling story.
Poems Across the Pavement contains poetic vignettes of the author's experiences throughout his life. Luis Rodriguez, the author, grew up on the Mexican side of Watts, LA, was heavily involved in a gang, but would sneak away to the library to read poetry - later to become a poet himself.
by Sequella H. Coleman
Guide Entry to 98.05.07:
Increasingly, I have found one of the major deterrents to students' enthusiasm for writing has been their inability to relate to the required reading associated with most academic subjects. Many cannot "see" the written word as a form of expression for their experiences. This narrow view also makes students unreceptive to learning about other cultures. In contrast, we as teachers take for granted that reading books of quality can add to a student's range of experience. However, for the most part, our students view reading as a chore. To combat this view, we must find ways to enhance their ideas of quality by selecting literature of interest to our student populations.
This unit outlines the use of three culturally different novels to review reading comprehension element skills --setting; characterization; cause and effect; time order, theme; and conflict. The novels are Forged by Fire , ...and now Miguel and Red Scarf Girl: Memoirs of a Cultural Revolution . The premise is that students will read books that are of interest to them and as a result of this interest the review of skills will be easier and more enjoyable. The unit shows how these three books can be compared and contrasted in each of the aforementioned element areas.
Included in the unit are strategies to correlate the readings with writing assignments. The techniques correspond to the Connecticut Mastery Test objectives for sixth and eighth graders and district reading and language arts standards. A bibliography of other recommended novels is also included.
(Recommended for Reading, Language Arts, English, grades 5-8)
by Bonnie Bielen Osborne
Guide Entry to 98.05.08:
This curriculum unit was developed to be used with special education students, grades six through twelve, in an alternative inner city public school servicing pregnant teens, and young mothers. It would also be suitable for use in a regular class setting (with some modifications) as a unit of study included in an English class, history class, social development program, or as part of an arts curriculum. The unit may be presented as a whole, encompassing two to three weeks of study, or as separate mini units interspersed throughout the year as holidays occur.
The main focus of the unit is to promote harmony and mutual understanding among people with diverse backgrounds; through the study of holidays celebrated in the United States. The nine specific holidays included in the unit are the following: Labor Day, Columbus Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, Chinese New Year, St. Patrick's Day, and Cinco de Mayo. Each holiday section includes background information, pertinent holiday facts, and suggested reading titles to be used in the classroom. Improvement in reading, writing, and thinking skills is an anticipated outcome of the unit. An extensive annotated bibliography is included, along with examples of sample projects, activities, and tests.
by Genoveva T. Palmieri
Guide Entry to 98.05.09:
The word "Gringo" is well known in all Latin America. It refers to United States citizens, or as they would be called in this country, Yankees. Immigrants who have lived in the United States for long periods of time are also referred to as Gringos when they return to their native Latin American country. This unit aims at reviewing what is the experience of language learning and acculturation. It also introduces the process of how it has affected Latino writers in the United States.
At the present time, I teach a high school course entitled "Latin America, Art and Culture." It is important that students recognize their heritage be it Latino or Hispanic, Afro-American or any other. These students are part of a high school for the arts, which is encouraging them to become artists in the future. Thus developing their ability to communicate in many different mediums is of primary importance.
In this classroom curriculum I intend to help students understand the development of language, especially as it refers to a second language. This will include learning language development as children, the language development of others, and working towards recognizing who a "voice" is created in the process of becoming a writer. To develop artistic abilities in any form, it is important to encourage these young minds to get in touch with many aspects of their personalities.
by George Peterman
Guide Entry to 98.05.10:
This unit is concerned with the cultural and personal identity of Puerto Ricans in the United States, particularly those in New York, and the role of language in the individual's quest for self-definition. It incorporates various forms and will analyze the individual writers' choice of vocabulary, imagery, syntax, and diction to determine the rhetorical purpose in the individual's artistic expression of self. The unit is titled “Other Voices” to reflect the fact that, while there may be similar vies and realizations among the writers, each individual's experience and expression is unique.
This unit investigates the nature of language and the individual's relationship with the language(s) with which they communicate. In introducing the focus on language we will read poems by Aurora Levins Morales, Gustavo Perez Firmat, and Rhina Espaillat. The focus is then placed on "code-switching," the alternate use of two different languages or codes by a speaker or writer. This unit includes the poetry of several poets who use different codes in their discourse: Tato Laviera, Pedro Pietri, and Sandra Maria Esteves. In addition to the formal discussion of language, poetic elements will also be investigated as part of the search for meaning. Also included are short stories by Nicholas Mohr and Judith Ortiz Cofer and short non-fiction pieces by Richard Rodriguez and Gloria Anzaldua. The reading concludes with Ariano by Richard Irizzary, a play that deals with racial and linguistic identity in contemporary New York.
Introduction by Sabatino Sofia, Professor and Chair of Astronomy
The Fellows in this Seminar teach a variety of grades from elementary to high school. However, within this variety there is a similarity between them in that most of the Fellows teach students with special needs. In particular, most of these students have difficulty in grasping abstract concepts, and may not be able to follow complex instructions. As a consequence, most of the Curriculum Units address topics that can be related to everyday events and observations. This means that essentially all the Units cover topics related to the Solar System.
The most popular astronomical object studied in these Units is the Moon. This subject is addressed both in terms of space science, as the only extra-terrestrial body visited by Man, and also in terms of astronomy, having a rich set of readily observable phenomena (such as the phases of the Moon, or eclipses) which are simple to explain, and yet answer questions that each student may have posed to him/herself at on time or another. This is a perfect illustration of the objectives of the scientific method, namely rational and simple explanation of natural phenomena.
Another popular topic was the study of the Earth as an astronomical object, which allows us to understand the seasons, eclipses, night and day, the month, etc. The Earth was also studied as the paradigm of a life-bearing planet, critical in discussing the possibility of the existence of life elsewhere within our Galaxy, and in the Universe.
Throughout all the Units, the authors have been careful in discussing various laws of nature which both guide our understanding of phenomena, and reign in our propensity for straying into groundless speculation. For example, one Curriculum Unit examines popular science fiction books and movies to uncover line plots that are contrary to scientific knowledge. This approach allows the Fellows to teach fundamental scientific principles in a painless way, and it brings forth the relevance of these principles to our lives in ways not possible in the more traditional teaching techniques.
Synopses of the Curriculum Units
by G. Casey Cassidy
Guide Entry to 98.06.01:
This year's unit entitled "Out-of-this-World Experiments" encourages my students as well as yours to take a journey of a lifetime. Our unit begins with the development of the theory of quest ... that is, what is it that motivates mankind to search for the unknown, to travel to untold destinations in search of knowledge and mysteries yet to be unfolded.
Our journey begins with the history of flight dating back to Leonardo da Vinci and progresses forward with the discoveries of hot air balloons by the Mongolfier Brothers. In 1903, we're at Kitty Hawk and successfully "fly like birds" with Wilbur and Orville Wright into the 20th century.
In the early 60's, we trade our flight suits for space exploration gear and board Mercury 3 with Alan Shepard, followed by countless others in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. In July, 1969, we travel to the Moon and back aboard the "Eagle" and the "Columbia" with astronauts Aldrin, Collins, and Armstrong, accomplishing the unthinkable.
The 1970's are ushered in with Skylab space explorations with scientists conducting research and experiments in micro-gravity conditions. During this time, four skylabs are sent into orbit, three of which have manned crews. All of the missions achieve their operational and experimental goals while engaged in solar astronomy, medical experiments and Earth resource studies.
Since the early 1980's, NASA has sent crews and payloads into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle. The Shuttle has introduced new capabilities for micro-gravity research and the return to Earth of all instruments, samples and data.
Today, these Shuttle missions continue to investigate the unknown, preparing the way for the International Space Station of tomorrow.
by Sandra K. Friday
Guide Entry to 98.06.02:
This unit is designed to be taught by an English teacher for at-risk high school students to stimulate their curiosity about astronomy and to teach them to develop concepts about our solar system in the Milky Way Galaxy, and to teach students to use these concepts to evaluate the plausibility of interstellar communication and travel depicted in science fiction literature and movies. In other words, it attempts to equip students to answer the question, "Just how 'far out' is science fiction on the subject of interstellar communication and related phenomena?"
To answer the question, "What science fiction depicting interstellar communication is based on plausibility, and what is not," students must first look at scientific facts and the laws of nature, such as the law of nature that nothing anywhere in the universe travels faster than the speed of light.
Students will identify the location of the Solar System in the Milky Way Galaxy, and grasp some sense of the Universe beyond the Milky Way. Students will need to grasp the concept of the speed of light and a light year. They will study probability as it applies to the likelihood of extraterrestrial civilizations. They will study the plausibility of interstellar communication through space travel versus communication via radio waves.
Students will use the data they gather and the concepts they study to evaluate the plausibility of the science fiction they will read and the movies they will view.
Students will learn to use the standard five-paragraph essay to communicate solutions they have found for implausible facts and phenomena in a science fiction short story and a science fiction movie.
In an exercise of the imagination students also will be challenged to turn the telescope from extraterrestrial intelligence toward themselves, grappling with the task of creating a character description representative of society and themselves as individuals that they would broadcast into space, given the capability.
by John K. Grammatico
Guide Entry to 98.06.03:
This unit deals with the Sun and its effects on our everyday lives. It is intended for the second grade, however, it can be adapted for the first or third grade. The unit includes background information on the Sun such as distance from Earth, temperature, and size. It also includes other important information such as details on sunspots, solar flares, rainbows, and solar eclipses (the unit also includes a schedule of solar eclipses up to the year 2010).
This is an interdisciplinary unit that includes the subjects of science, art, history, and math. Students will experience the Scientific Process, as they become involved in experiments. The concept of changing seasons is fully explained with an activity explaining this rather complex subject.
The main purpose of this unit is for students to see how important the Sun is to our existence. Students will be engaged in activities and experiments to prove the Sun's importance.
by Sheila Martin-Corbin
Guide Entry to 98.06.04:
Astronomical concepts are generally more abstract in content than those in most sciences, because the objects to be studied are so far in space and are not easily available for examination in the laboratory. Some astronomical topics require formal reasoning in order to be understood, while other topics can be understood by concrete approaches.
It is important for us as educators to identify each technique and to modify our teaching styles so as to convey difficult astronomical concepts to students in simple, basic ways for understanding of natural scientific phenomena.
This curriculum unit will encompass varied astronomical concepts relating to the solar system, for eighth grade students. Topics including light wave, electro-magnetic spectrum, optical telescopes, eclipses and seasons will be introduced through the use of exploration activities that allow the students freedom to work with objects and observe their interactions. These interactions will encourage them to analyze their own thinking patterns and also for them to think through many concepts that may be only partially understood. With the use of concrete models in the laboratory, students will maximize their understanding of astronomical concepts and will gain even greater insights into the process of exploration.
Students will be making observations, collecting and analyzing data in preparation for the CAPT test. Some of the activities will be integrated in their Math and Language Arts classes with an emphasis on recording and making charts from data, reading graphs and writing descriptive essays.
(Recommended for Science, Mathematics, and Language Arts, grade 8)
by Susan L. Norwood
Guide Entry to 98.06.05:
The curriculum unit All American Girl is designed to be used for fourth and fifth grade students. The unit was written to enhance the present Social Studies curriculum for these grade levels. The unit will teach students about the role that women had during the colonial, revolutionary, and Civil War times. The focus of the unit is to teach about these various times through historical literature. Three currently published and popular historical fiction series will be used in the unit. The series are The American Girl Collection, Dear America and American Diaries. The students will read two books from the corresponding historical series about girls living during these three time periods in history. The students will also be given a list of women who played an important role during these times and asked to do research on them and create a timeline. The use of the media center and the Big 6 research skills are encouraged. Each historical time period is also provided with an additional list of historical novels. The teacher may choose to read one of these books aloud to the class. Finally, each area in history has a related field trip in the New Haven area that will serve as a culminating activity to the unit.
by Joanne R. Pompano
Guide Entry to 98.06.06:
Man first landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969 and last walked on the lunar surface in December 1972. The discoveries from these missions have changed our knowledge of the Earth, the Moon and the Universe both past and present. This curriculum will help students to understand the origin and geology of the Moon. In addition, it will trace both manned and unmanned flights to the Moon including the Clementine, Lunar Prospector, and Apollo programs. It will include scientific information from the most current discoveries such as the recent discovery of large deposits of ice on the North and South poles of the Moon. This curriculum examines the importance of such findings.
This unit will use a multi-sensory approach to help students understand Earth's only natural satellite. The data and information provided will teach students that understanding the Moon helps us to understand the Earth. Lesson plans will provide students with activities that will actively involve them in studying our closest neighbor in the Solar System.
This curriculum was developed for students in grades 4-6 attending regular and special education programs. Lessons are designed to make visually handicapped students successful in their quest for scientific knowledge and to allow them the same learning opportunities as their sighted peers. Teachers are encouraged to provide direct access to materials, objects, and models and to provide students with a variety of opportunities to understand the material presented.
by Judy Puglisi
Guide Entry to 98.06.07:
This unit is written for high school self-contained special education students. These students cannot participate in mainstream science courses for a variety of reasons. Most of my students have severe learning disabilities and read significantly below grade level. Their knowledge of Astronomy is extremely limited. Basic Astronomy concepts must be introduced during the unit and reviewed throughout the unit in order for the learning disabled students to internalize the main ideas.
The narrative information I have included in the paper should be used as guide, to be modified depending on the varying academic levels of your students. My main goal is to use the student's enthusiasm and curiosity for Astronomy to practice and refine their critical thinking skills.
Topics covered during this unit will include formation of the Universe and the Solar System, Earth's characteristics that enable it to sustain human life, the feasibility of space travel beyond our solar system, and the need for responsible stewardship towards our planet.
Students will be given time during this unit to do independent research in the area of Astronomy that they find most interesting. This will allow each students to work at his or her own academic level on a topic they have chosen for themselves, making them more responsible for their own learning. At the end of the unit, students will present their research projects to their classmates, giving the students a chance to learn from their peers as well as an opportunity for the teacher to assess the students understanding of the material presented and researched.
by Lucia Rafala
Guide Entry to 98.06.08:
BEYOND PLANET EARTH is a hands-on, inquiry based unit that spans many curriculum areas in the classroom (ie, science, math, literature, art, etc.). This unit is intended for students with special needs between the ages of twelve and twenty-one. This unit can also be used with regular education primary classes from grades PreK to third grade. The methodology used in this unit is based on the premise that all students learn through actively participating in experiences that deal with discussion, wondering, questioning, experimenting, and examining ideas and concepts. In addition, this unit relies heavily on specific children's literature and experimentation to illustrate and reinforce specific areas of the curriculum. This is especially important in regards to the educational trend to use as much real literature in the classroom as possible.
BEYOND PLANET EARTH examines the solar system which includes the sun, planets, moons, stars, and Earth. In addition, the unit examines the properties of the sun and the moon; the differences between day and night; and the lunar phases. The unit is organized into section which includes goals and objectives; vocabulary; levels of difficulty; means of alternative assessments; sample lesson plans; annotated references; and a strategic plan for introducing and teaching astronomy content. The astronomy content includes facts and information regarding the solar system that the teacher will find useful as s/he prepares to teach the unit. BEYOND PLANET EARTH is a fun and exciting way to explore the solar system from your classroom.
by Saundra P. Stephenson
Guide Entry to 98.06.09:
This unit is designed for students who have traditionally met with little success in school and who are currently attending an alternative high school program. In general, these students have difficulty visualizing, comprehending, and expressing realities in numbers and in mathematical terms. The unit was developed in collaboration with an English teacher in order to integrate math and English into the instruction. The class, mixed grades and levels (9-12) will be team taught, with the goal of seeking to improve student math and English performance and skills at all levels. Because of the difficulty students have visualizing and comprehending realities in numbers and in mathematical terms, the unit will incorporate drawings of planets and their relationships in scale. Art and hands-on demonstrations will increase student participation and interest. Using multi-modalities will afford greater opportunities for students to demonstrate and reinforce learning.
The main focus of this course is to determine where the earth is located in our solar system and where the solar system is located in the Milky Way. One goal is to give students a sense of where they fit in this astronomical universal sense of location in the cosmic landscape based on mathematical calculations.
Students will compare positions of the nine planets and the sun, starting from earth, our home planet. Students should be able to determine and answer for themselves where our planet is in relation to the other planets in our solar system.
The Milky Way is our galaxy; it consists of several hundred billion stars and it is a complicated, vast, wheel-shaped system. In this huge galaxy called the Milky Way, our solar system is all but lost. Visualize it as if it were a single grain of sand on a vast beach. This image will help students grasp the problem of scale, as we locate our position in the Milky Way.
Students will do extensive work using mathematical formulas, units of measure, graphing, and drawing. They will use Bode's Law, find ratios and proportions, make estimates, and determine probabilities. Students will learn and practice vocabulary, and improve critical thinking, writing, and communication skills by analyzing and then interpreting charts and graphs. Students will submit written reports and make oral presentations to the group. Finally, students will read and discuss articles and books about the planets and astronomy.
At the conclusion of this unit, students will gain a better understanding of their place in the Milky Way, from a mathematical perspective. They will demonstrate and practice learning through problem-solving activities, oral presentations, written reports, and art projects allowing for demonstration of proficiency in a variety of ways to accommodate the learning styles and strengths of every student.
by Anthony Byron Thompson
Guide Entry to 98.06.10:
This unit is designed for 7-12 grade use. My particular teaching assignment is at Wilbur Cross Annex, an alternative school serving students with high absenteeism. The students feel uncomfortable in science. They often feel they are not smart enough, and that science is unapproachable. Very few students know anyone who has made a career choice of science. Most fail to realize the improvements implemented in any job, no matter how humble, are the result of scientific discovery. Only a fraction of students have achieved the minimum of two credit hours required by the city of New Haven.
This unit is designed to take a semester in the New Haven School System. As with all course outlines, not everything can be accomplished in this time period nor may it academically appropriate to attempt to do so. However, there are certain exercised, I must emphasize that should not be overlooked because they develop a sense of confidence in the students. These are the pie method, using picture with numbers to a power, making a rocket, and using a theodolite to calculate the altitude.
The pie method helps students to conquer their fears with math. If this method is used properly, they will always obtain the proper answer. Math may start to make sense for them.
Using pictures with numbers to a power allows students to imagine and to put their thought to words. (a writing exercise - don't tell them that, though.)
Making a rocket is good hands on fun and teaches the students to follow instructions. Using a theodolite allows them to calculate the altitude of the rocket. They may then begin to calculate the height of structures around town.
If I may suggest use the Sun and our planet at the beginning, as it will be familiar to them. Then any number of topics can be introduced.
Introduction by Robert Wyman, Professor of Biology
The world's most critical problem is now its population explosion. The earth's population is growing faster than ever before, increasing by a billion people every dozen years. We know that, in the next generation, the world population will nearly double. Our environmental, economic, political and social systems are severely stressed by our population levels. 97% of the population growth is occurring in still developing countries which already suffer from high degrees of poverty, disease, illiteracy, discrimination against women and political instability.
Simultaneous with the population explosion is an unprecedented decline in fertility rates. Surveys all over the world indicate overwhelmingly that women do not want the large numbers of children that they are having. In many countries, especially in East Asia and Latin America, family planning is being adopted with amazing speed. In other countries, the situation is not so fortuitous. For instance, in Kenya, half the women say that they want NO more children. Yet these same women often don't use birth control, even when it is available.
The world is thus in a great race between an exploding population and human attempts to bring down fertility. Given enough time, humans can eventually tame the population explosion, but no one knows how long the race can go on. As the population increases, we don't know how much the earth can take - at what point do its ecological systems, its social systems, its political systems just crack under the stress and give way to chaos?
Our seminar dealt with both the heartening and heartbreaking aspects of population growth. We studied how progress in combating disease and infant mortality ushered in the era of population growth. Yet we also dealt with the human and environmental misery that is caused by overpopulation. For the future we looked at the technological and economic advances that may allow us to keep up with, and even improve, the lot of an increasing population.
In the seminar, teachers in various areas viewed the material from their perspective. For history we discussed what has happened to human population in the past - why did it grow at some times and shrink at others - how the black death cut the population of Europe in half and the introduction of the potato from America doubled it. For mathematics teachers there were many wonderful graphical presentations of demographic trends that can really be used to teach students how to understand visual presentations of quantitative material. In addition we looked at how population growth follows the same rules as compound interest or exponential growth. For geography we had all the countries of the world to consider, each one of which has unique population problems. For biology we discussed reproductive physiology as well as population pressures on the environment. For social studies we approached all the political, religious and ethical issues surrounding fertility.
The literature of this field includes some of the most appealing here is for teenagers. Seminar participants read a story about a child servant in Malaya who is accused of murder, a biography of an Egyptian adolescent going through her awakening as a person, descriptions from Brazil, India and China about mothers who are forced by poverty to sacrifice their children. Other stories describe people living on mud islands in Bangladesh that are periodically washed away by the monsoons, or subsistence farmers in Madagascar who are chipping away at some of the last tropical forests.
In the seminar we got to argue all the 'hot button' issues of the current American war over 'values': families, sexuality, teenage pregnancy, contraception, abortion and the status of women. This topic allowed us to discuss some of the most serious and complex problems facing humanity today.
Professor of Biology
Synopses of the Curriculum Units
by Francine C. Coss
Guide Entry to 98.07.01:
Reproduction is a difficult concept for 5 and 6 year old children to understand, especially if it is only applied to humans. By discussing pet or animal reproduction at the Kindergarten level, or at any grade level, as an alternative to human reproduction, the complexities of subject matter and the moral issues that may effect subject comprehension will be replaced with hands-on examples and first-hand experiences. All in all, this unit will discuss mammal, bird, fish and reptile reproduction and how the lack of reproductive control can lead to poor pet health, overcrowding and eventually death.
This unit will be implemented through various classroom lessons, hands-on experiences, field trips, guest speakers and technology. The students will be assessed following each main concept or activity through small projects, oral presentations and/or technology-based review.
The many lessons presented within the body of this unit are equally as helpful as the three specific lesson plans found at the conclusion of the unit. The readings, lessons, activities, and field trips can be easily altered for any grade level; however, the topics covered by this unit are best used for grades K through 5.
by Carolyn Kinder
Guide Entry to 98.07.02:The rapid growth of the world's population over the past one hundred years results from a difference between the rate of birth and the rate of death. The human population will increase by 1 billion people in the next decade. This is like adding the whole population of China to the world's population. The growth in human population around the world affects all people through its impact on the economy and environment. The current rate of population growth is now a significant burden to human well-being. Understanding the factors which affect population growth patterns can help us plan for the future.
The purpose of this unit is to examine some important factors about overpopulation. This unit addresses: (1) the definition of overpopulation, (2) the causes of rapid population growth, (3) the consequences of rapid population growth, and (4) actions and strategies that can be developed to solve problems caused by overpopulation.
This unit consists of core knowledge about the causes and consequences of overpopulation, lesson plans, teacher resources, student reading list, a list of speakers and a bibliography. Although this unit is intended primarily for students in grades 5-8, teachers in both elementary and high school can use this unit to explore key ideas and concepts about the population explosion.
by Maureen Taylor-French
Guide Entry to 98.07.03:
Students should become aware of a personal responsibility for helping to solve the population crisis. They have control over their own future - including their reproductive future. They should know how to plan and provide for a family. They need to understand the costs associated with expanding a family - personal/emotional, economic and environmental. They can predict their future - occupation, earnings, space requirements and consumption and forecast their quality of life.
“Life in 2010” is a thematic unit which extends New Haven's Values and Choices social curriculum. It encourages students to consider personal and social consequences of adding to our local population. Students will, upon completion of the unit, predict their future in the year 2010, when most are getting out of college, or starting careers and families. They will predict how much of Earth's finite resources they will need, and will plan how to afford "comfortable space" in an increasingly competitive world. Students should understand the power of their own personal choices when it comes to reproduction. They need to recognize that individual personal choices, when aggregated, contribute to agreeable, or stressed, environments.
After observation, analysis and prediction of their own space (environment), students will learn how actions and impacts interact. They will explore connections between population trends and environments, economic and social systems. They will explore competing interests within and among these groups. Students will identify and analyze the relationship of population growth and the environment. Students will discover damage to the environment is sure to increase given the Worldwatch Institute prediction of an increase of 90 million people each year for the foreseeable future. Only through population stabilization programs, conservation and implementation of less destructive technologies will we preserve the natural world and our own security.
Students will conclude the unit by recognizing every effort they make is part of a larger, global context. Every contribution in a community has a rippling effect which can spread through their neighborhood, their city, the state, the nation and their world. As the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development reported, "Efforts to slow population growth, to reduce poverty, to achieve economic progress, to improve environmental protection, and to reduce unsustainable consumption and production patterns are mutually reinforcing." We can stabilize world population at sustainable levels, protect and enhance the environment, and balance inequalities between nations and individuals. What we need is committed individuals willing to make the effort. Our students are these individuals, the leaders in the year 2010 and beyond.
This unit is divided into six sections:
- (1) Introduction
- (2) Illustrating overpopulation
- (3) Overpopulation and the environment
- (4) Overpopulation and social stresses
- (5) The economics of overpopulation
- (6) Conclusion/Final Project
“Life in 2010” is a thematic unit which spans the curriculum and will be included in my Earth Science class. Although prepared for Grade 8 Science, its interdisciplinary approach lends itself to other subjects as well. There are many data and mathematical activities, for example. The activities presuppose student competencies in: addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, measuring length and area, calculating, percentages, basic graphing and use of a calculator. The unit also includes diverse reading as well as expository and persuasive writing, which may be presented to students with diverse language arts competencies. The unit will prepare students for problem solving skills assessed on the state's CAPT test. Therefore, many components of this unit are directly and easily incorporated into most grade 6 through 9 studies.
by Raymond Brooks
Guide Entry to 98.07.04:
Population Needs vs. Population Deeds is a unit intended to be used with the supplied CPUP Modules. The activities will help the student realize the impact of populations needs and deeds on the environment. These activities will show there are various ways to solve population problems each having its own trade-offs. Analyzing a graph, "World Population Growth Through History," is used to visualize how population has changed over time. They are to come up with reasons why the growth rate was not steady throughout history.
The unit also discusses extinction as a natural process. Mass extinctions and smaller extinctions have had a profound effect on the history and diversity of life. It is now believed that physical conditions more than anything else affect extinction and/or evolution. How man affects the physical environment becomes very important and the student realizes that a careful analysis must be performed before any new demands are put on our environment.
The unit ends by having the student become aware of the possible implications of overpopulation.
by Mickey Kavanagh
Guide Entry to 98.07.05:
Designed for 9th grade classes, this unit will be taught prior to and after AIDS Week. Population explosion is a massive problem. One solution is to act on the personal and individual level to ensure that there are no more "accidental" children - the result of unintended teen pregnancies. A major contributing factor to the high teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. when compared to other countries is the national schizophrenic attitude toward sexuality. By schizophrenic I mean the separation between what adults say about sex and sexuality and what they do. It is my contention that if society focused on raising sexually healthy adolescents, those adolescents would make choices about their sexual activity which would lead to a decrease in both the rates of unintended teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The unit will raise adolescent awareness of the high incidence of teen pregnancy here compared to other developed countries. Students will analyze possible causes, contrasting national policies and practices toward sex education, access to family planning services, and media coverage. The unit will increase student understanding of humans as sexual beings from birth to death. It will define the components of effective sex education and the characteristics of sexually healthy adolescents.
by Eddie Rose
Guide Entry to 98.07.06:
The unit provides students with the concepts and tools needed to make sense of the often contradictory and contested information on population, energy, and environment, and to encourage them to draw their own conclusions based on a comprehensive understanding of the linkages among demographic, economic, environmental, and resource systems. The activities are designed to develop students' appreciation of the global linkages among population, energy usage, and environmental impacts understanding of the basic concepts and dynamics of population growth understanding of energy usage and links to economic activity and growth and assessment of the enormous and value-changed complexity of the population-environment relationship. Throughout, students are challenged to think critically and practically about the own habits and lifestyles.
It also introduces students to some of the fundamental questions about the connections among population, resources and energy use, and environmental impacts. What factors have caused the enormous growth of population and energy use in the past? To what extent is population growth responsible for the environmental problems we see today? What opportunities are there for slowing population growth, per capita energy use, or the environmental harm caved by each unit of energy use?
by Richard R. MacMahon
Guide Entry to 98.07.07:
This unit is designed to acquaint the student with both the origin of humans and how evolution has shaped human behavioral patterns, and to help the student to better understand how recent population changes have affected behaviors and customs in societies worldwide. The students will learn how humans evolved, how they established primitive social groups and how the influences of population growth have affected the relationships of humans to their environment and to each other. The unit reviews characteristics of mammals and primates and discusses early hominid evolution. Physical evolution of man is linked to behavioral evolution. The concept of Reciprocal Altruism is explained and it is proposed that this became a genetic behavioral trait. This concept is further considered as one of the main reasons for the success of human evolution. The effects of civilization upon human behavior are also considered. Increases in population density, cultural differences and technology are all related to changes in behaviors. Problems of modern-day high-technology cultures are considered in terms of reciprocal altruism. Finally there are two classroom exercises. The first demonstrates some of the problems of scavenging on the savanna of Africa. The second shows how population density affects the rates of murder, rape, assault, armed robbery, breaking and entering, drug arrests and teen-aged pregnancies.
by Stephen Beasley-Murray
Guide Entry to 98.07.08:
How can our special of approaching 10 billion humans find a new balance with the environment with minimal suffering and maximum pleasure? The following teaching unit consists of a four step approach to answer this critically important question in which students provide the class with:
The four lessons are spaced out in the academic year so that the application of the concept of population explosion is appropriately grounded in the scientific understanding of ecology, environment, evolution, genetics, biodiversity and reproduction.
- 1. motivational presentations to introduce issues,
- 2. analogical experimentation to suggest answers,
- 3. strategizing exercises to apply general ideas to specific problems,
- 4. debate (or similar activities) to propose cultural changes needed in the new era of overpopulation.
Students work in groups that focus on particular areas in biology and aspects of population - sexuality, health, botany, zoology, local environment, Gaia ecology, anthropology and religion, microscopy, computer, visual arts, and independent studies (as in exploring historical precedents).
Selected readings from books, journals, a textbook and activities are provided for each group. They give an interdisciplinary perspective to the population explosion.
The methodology and philosophical framework of the teaching unit is that of John Dewey. The unit is the fourth of a series that develops and applies Deweyan ideas to the practical challenges of an inner city high school classroom.