The early fourteenth century offers a look at a world far removed from Democracy, the only government system most students even remotely understand. It will expose them to Arab kingdoms both past and present. They will see how China evolved into the country it is today. The trip to England will show them a country dealing with a medical crisis. The visit to Tenochtitlan, offering a key contrast to the other three, will expose them to a civilization that developed in isolation and was effectively wiped off the earth in a short period of time.
The intent of this unit is not to spend a great deal of time on government and historical facts, but to give the students a
of what it must have been like to live in the time period, to travel by primitive methods, and to live without modern comforts. I also want to give them a feel for the study of history and geography.
The greatest difficulty, of course, is that history does not do a good job of remembering the common people, since records were generally kept by the literate few, who tended to be upper class, and most writing was about the powerful and the wealthy. Students will need to be imaginative in order to construct journal entries from limited information.