Authentic Assessment in Social Studies: A Guide to Keeping it Real, by David Sherrin

Authentic Assessment in Social Studies: A Guide to Keeping it Real, by David Sherrin

Providing opportunities for authentic assessment is not just about putting on an “innovation” badge; instead, it is a teaching and learning strategy grounded in educational theory and research that will lead to deeper learning and a fairer and more democratic educational system. In fact, traditional assessments are some of the primary causes of academic anxiety for students. Many students find some pleasure in the day-to-day of school, but dread the test-taking experience.

This book is partly a call to social studies educators to allow our next generation of artists, singers, poets, activists, web designers, museum curators, historians, and non-profit leaders to make their arguments in social studies classes using a wide and rich array of mediums: the same mediums through which people actually produce history (and political action) in our world. It is also a guide to how to successfully do so in your classroom. For some of our students, this may take the form of traditional writing, for others it may be painting, and for others it may be dance, video, discussion, podcast, poetry, narrative perspective pieces, or even civic action.

David Sherrin teaches Social Studies at Scarsdale High School in Westchester. He formally taught at Harvest Collegiate in New York City. This book shows teachers how to move beyond tests and essay writing to implement authentic assessments in middle or high school social studies classroom. It explains the value of authentic assessments and offers practical ways to get started and dive deeper in your practice. Real-life stories of classroom successes and failures illustrate points throughout the book. The chapters cover a range of categories, including different types of written, creative, and civic action assessments. The book includes planning charts and rubrics showing how to use, grade, and give feedback on assessments so they truly aid student learning and progress; specific examples, useful tips, and ready-to-go instructions that you can use immediately with your class; and open-ended assessments encourage scaffolding or adaptation for individual or group work to fit your classroom needs.

Whether you are a first-year social studies teacher curious about how to move beyond multiple choice tests to assess learning, or you have long used authentic assessments and are looking to take your practice to the next level, this book has thoughtful insight on steps you can take to deepen and enrich teaching and learning in your classroom by incorporating authentic assessments.” ― Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

“A real page-turner, this engaging book illustrates the wonderfully varied ways students can express themselves in social studies class. David Sherrin presents a wide range of projects to embed in the curriculum, drawing from his own content knowledge of history and other social sciences as well as his deep pedagogical knowledge honed by teaching in a uniquely diverse set of schools. Teachers will find a text that is thought provoking and practical thanks to ample assignment descriptions, rubrics, and discussions of classroom practice.” ― Shira Eve Epstein, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, The City College of New York (CUNY)

The American Flapper Through Media

The American Flapper through Media

Kaitlyn Ford

The American flapper, a “new woman”, a change in society, oftentimes overlooked inside history. The flapper did not provide any legal change for women, did not gain them more political rights in her time. She did something else entirely. The American flapper held change in the role of women, the appearance of women, and the way women were looked at inside society. Their power was in their style, their actions, and the culture time period they lived in. When it comes to teaching the flapper, she many times will be brushed over and not paid enough attention. Inside this paper, I will explain a way to place the flapper inside the social studies classroom that will be engaging for the students.

            The flapper emerged during a time in American history where much of society and culture was undergoing change. Historians Kathleen Drowne and Patrick Huber wrote “According to many historians, the Jazz Age marked the birth of Modern America” (Drowne & Huber, 2004). Meaning that during this time considered “the Jazz Age” is what truly began what many consider to be modern American, many of our modern themes came about and can be traced to begin with this time period in America. This time period in American history was one of change, prosperity, and modernization. Many people look here and can see the beginning of the modern times Americans would soon enjoy. So, what exactly happened in this time? A positive aspect of the 20s was the consumer culture. In 1922 the economy had a reboot due to consumer goods being manufactured in industries (Drowne & Huber, 2004). This made products faster, easier, and cheaper. More people would be able to afford a top since it was mass produced by machines. One major reason for consumer goods spreading quickly inside America was through the new media. “Consumer goods revolution fueled the nation’s flourishing economy and increasing reliance on new technologies and mass media transformed the daily lives of ordinary Americans” (Drowne & Huber, 2004). The media was able to influence the lives of Americans across states, classes, and genders aiding in influencing this new consumer culture. People began to use the media and technology to grasp what consumer goods they should purchase during this time period. All of this would be useful information to provide for students to prepare them for the flapper and why the media plays a role in her fame. If the students come into the lesson I explain later one, with a background of the consumer culture and the new media outlets for Americans, it can make learning about the flapper better.

            Who was the American flapper? Historian Joshua Zeitz provided a description of the flapper in Flapper. He states “… the notorious character type who bobbed her hair, smoked cigarettes, drank gin, sported short skirts, and passed her evenings in the steamy jazz clubs, where she danced in a shockingly immodest fashion” (Zeitz, 2006). Inside this activity, I am not trying to convince them of who the flapper is or what she is trying to gain, but more so how she became a household name inside America during the 1920s. After taking the time to explain the 1920s, it is time to begin the flapper movement.

            As a way to engage the students and allow them to move about the classroom, you can create a station activity. This would be a group activity but their review will be independent to see each student’s understanding of the material. Throughout the research done around the American flapper, I have been able to find numerous sources from the time period that can help express the flapper. The goal of this activity is to allow the students to engage with the primary sources and develop their own interpretations. Another goal would be for the students to see how the media during this time could change an opinion of a subject, for them to see bias using the flapper as an example. At the end of the lesson, the students should be able to explain the various types of media sources during the 1920s allowed ideas, opinions, and themes to spread throughout America.

            You can add more sources if you deem necessary but for my lesson I have two newspaper sources and three magazine covers from LIFE. Day One will be the introduction to the 1920s and the mass media (as discussed above). For the review and to check for understanding, they will have a brief response to compare the primary sources they interacted with and explain how those sources depicted the flapper and what influence these would have on the American people then. If it is an honors class, it would be useful to also add for them to describe how these sources affect Americans today in comparison to the 1920s.

            The first newspaper was from the Library of Congress. It was a fashion page that describes the latest trends in dressing, shoes, and hats. A famous actress Clara Bow who portrays a flapper in the film “IT” in 1927 is shown modeling her own hat. It was labeled “the latest for girls” (Evening Star, 1927).  The second newspaper was NYS Historic Newspaper. This paper as well was centered on Clara Bow but instead of her fashion, it was her movie “IT” (The Massena Observer, 1927), showing the times the movie was playing at and the theater it was located in. It allowed Americans to find the film easier by simply reading the paper. As well, this paper promotes the film to the people and could influence a person to attend the theater that day. With these two newspapers, it allows the students to interact with the primary source material on their own and come to understand the type of sources written about the flapper during this time.

The three magazine covers by John Held can be found in numerous books such as Carolyn Kitch’s The Girl on the Magazine Cover; The origins of visual stereotypes in American Mass Media. However, these images can also be discovered on the web. The first one “The Sweet Girl Graduate” depicts the flapper with a cap on her head and diploma in her hand. This expresses the view that the American flapper was educated to some degree. It allows the students a different perspective on the flapper from simply the fashion and actress inside the newspaper.

The next magazine cover was labeled “Sitting Pretty”. This picture shows a flapper and dog both sitting. It expressed the dress, appearance and appeal of the flapper to the students. The newspaper did not do a great job at seeing the flapper since it was more grain like, whereas this cartoon makes it more clear. It helps to show just another aspect of the flapper that would be displayed to the American public.

The final magazine to look into was titled “Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks”. This image shows a young flapper dancing with an older man. They both appear to be enjoying their time and having fun. During this Jazz Age, there was music and dancing, this image helped bring that to life. Part of the flapper was going out and having a good time, so to fully understand this flapper, they would need this side as well.

“The Sweet Girl Graduate”
“Sitting Pretty”
“Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks”

For the setup of the lesson. I would create the five stations. Have the desk preorganized with the primary source already at the table, however it would be hidden inside a folder and they would be told not to touch it yet to keep them from being distracted. Then I would start with a Do Now. Personally, I would begin with asking the students what is a flapper. It would be interesting to see what they do and do not know about this term. Then, pass out the paper they will be using for the activity. The first section on their paper will be filled with questions from the 1920s review. I would have, define the consumer culture, what mass media is, and why this period is considered “Modern America”. This way, as they continue through the stations they can reference if needed and can use this after watching the film. Then, after the review, they can begin their stations. They would be given questions to answer at each station. What type of source are you looking at? When was the source created? What is the source attempting to convey or show the reader? How do you think this influenced a person’s view on the flapper? Depending how long the block is would determine how much time they are given at each station. Allow roughly 10 minutes to briefly go over what they learned and their opinions on the primary sources. I would bring up bias at this point in the lesson.

            Overall, the students should be able to use the primary sources and develop their own understanding of how media affected Americans during this time. The students would use the flapper to better understand the media and the power it could have over this time period. As stated before, the flapper is commonly overlooked. However, she can be used to not only show the changing of women inside society and creating a modern woman, but the flapper can also show them how the media played a role inside the lives of Americans.

References

Drowne, K., and Huber, P. (2004), The 1920s: American Pop Culture Through History 3-28.

Evening Star. [volume], (Washington D.C.) September 23, 1927, page 22, Image 22. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1927-09-23/ed-1/seq-22/

Kitch, C. (2001), The Girl on the Magazine Cover; The origins of visual stereotypes in American Mass Media, 121-135.

The Massena observer. (Massena, St. Lawrence County, N.Y.) June 2, 1927. Page 12, Image 12. http://nyhistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn84031311/1927-06-02/ed-1/seq-12/

The Power of Propaganda: Using Disney’s Wartime Films in the Classroom

The Power of Propaganda: Using Disney’s Wartime Films in the Classroom

Annamarie Bernard

Film in the classroom is always engaging to students. It provides them with a new perspective of events from the past. Rather than have students read or listen to their teacher speak on an event, putting on a movie can break up class time while appealing to even the most reluctant of learners. Films also help identify and highlight the deeper motivations of the producers, directors, or sponsors. There is always a motivation or a reason behind each piece, whether it be to share a personal story, to provide entertainment, or to spread a political message. Throughout history, political messages have been deeply embedded in movies, creating a new form of propaganda to reach a wider audience and spread their messages.

During the time the United States was involved in World War II (1941-1945), filmmakers such as Walt Disney were recruited by the United States government to spread specific messages.  In January 1943, Disney released three popular short films: “The Spirit of 43,” “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” and “Education for Death.” Each of these cartoons unveils a complex political message to gather support for the United States war effort. Because World War I was extremely unpopular with Americans, the need for citizen support in this new war, mentally and monetarily, was essential to be successfully involved (Steele, 1978, p. 706).  Disney’s three propaganda films can be incorporated easily into the social studies classroom to teach deeper lessons, especially when discussing the American home front during World War II.

The first of Disney’s more popular propaganda films is “The Spirit of 43.” This cartoon shows Donald Duck as he navigates what to do with his money on payday. First, Donald meets Thrifty Duck, who encourages him to save his money to pay the upcoming national income taxes for the benefit of the war effort. Next, he meets Spendthrift Duck, who advocates for spending his paycheck to buy material objects, thus going against the war effort and supporting Nazi Germany. The final scene of the film shows the guns, planes, and tanks that were created because of the tax money. The repetitive saying, “Taxes to defeat the Axis” is one of the lasting impressions of the cartoon, signaling the need for the funds to be given to the government in order to end the war (Disney, “The Spirit”, 1943).  By showing this film, students will come to realize that this six-minute propaganda film was used in a way that directly motivated Americans to do their part in the war effort. The need for income taxes is evident through this piece, and, by using Donald Duck, a classic Disney character, the film is engaging while still being informative.  This illustrates the lack of support for the war at the home front and the mindset the Americans needed to be in. Using “The Spirit of 43” in the classroom can be a great way to demonstrate the direct link between entertainment and politics. It is not commonly known that Disney used their art for the promotion of war, but through this film, the connection is undeniable; it captures the home front mentality and advocates for a call to action.

Like “The Spirit of 43,” one of Disney’s other films, “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” aimed to raise money for the war through war bonds. While it further illustrates the need for monetary support for the war, it also can be used to show students the life of a German worker.  This short film follows Donald Duck as he navigates his day in Nutzi Land, a spoof on Nazi Germany. From the moment he wakes up, Donald Duck lives a life very different from most Americans: he has to ration his food, work “48 hours shifts” in artillery manufacturing, and salute pictures of Hitler every time he sees him. This life becomes so intense and overwhelming that Donald suffers a mental breakdown and passes out. When he wakes up, he is back in America, relieved to find that his adventure was a nightmare (Disney, “Der Fuehrer”, 1943). As illustrated in the film, the German home front was drastically different from America’s home front, and viewing it can allow students to compare the wartime efforts in the two countries. In Nazi Germany, all concepts of individualism and personality are gone, as seen through a now passive Donald Duck, one of the most boisterous Disney characters with an overwhelming personality.  In America, a sense of individualism was kept, even when working in factories. The comparisons and contrasts that can be made are endless. While the film was created to raise money and support for the war, it can be further utilized in the classroom to supplement a lesson about the American home front, specifically through the differences of the two countries and the fear of losing personal freedoms, a defining characteristic of being American. “Der Fuehrer’s Face” has multiple applications for teaching World War II in the classroom.

The third Disney propaganda film that can be used in the social studies classroom is “Education for Death.”  It is a cautionary tale to warn the American public about the dangers of Nazism. In the classroom, it can be incorporated into the American Homefront with the motivating factors for fighting Germany, but it can also be used as a way to illustrate perspective.  Throughout the film, young Hans grows up in Nazi Germany and becomes indoctrinated in the ideology until he is a full Nazi soldier. The way he was raised illustrates how he sees his reality. For example, when Hans is in school, he learns about “natural law” through the analogy of a bunny and a fox. The weaker bunny was trapped and eaten by the fox, showing superiority. Hans immediately feels sorry for the bunny, a reaction that gets him punished by his Nazi teacher. The goal was to praise the strong fox for preying on the weak bunny, a mindset that the Nazis used in everyday life (Disney, “Education”, 1943). This is the perspective of a Nazi, something so different than that of the American soldiers. It demonstrates how the way they were brought up influences their actions as an adult.  While this film is specific to Nazi Germany propaganda, it can be used for students to gain a deeper understanding of how one’s beliefs change the way the world is perceived.  This skill of seeing events from a different perspective is essential in social studies classes to understand the purpose of a text, event, or action. This animation was created to entertain, but it also incorporated deeply embedded messages that are valuable to students. Through the film “Education for Death,” Disney’s short film can lend itself to multiple usages in the classroom.

Propaganda in the form of mass entertainment, such as short films, was essential in shaping the mentality and deeper sentiments of the American home front to be one that was more receptive and supportive of World War II.  Through “The Spirit of 43,” “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” and “Education for Death,” Disney was able to convey deeper, inspirational, educational messages to the audience about the war effort. In a 1943 New York Times interview, Disney stated:

“The war” he said, “has taught us that people who won’t read a book will look at a film… you can show that film to any audience and twenty minutes later, it has learned something- a new idea, or an item of important information- and it at least has stimulated further interest in study.” (Strauss, p. 168).

Disney sums up perfectly what any good piece of mass media should do- teach the audience and get them motivated to act on the information, whether it be to learn more about it or actively make the change it calls for.  All entertainment has a crafted message the creators want to express, whether it be to buy a new product, to illustrate a universal theme of life, or to persuade people to support the war effort.  Within these pieces, there are deeper themes that can relate to the classroom and everyday life. As teachers, it is important to show students how influential mass media is, whether it be from today or seventy years ago. Mass media as a form of entertainment will not go away, and it can be used in any form, especially in short, engaging Disney films, inside the classroom to provide a deeper outlook into the lives, motivations, and wants of those who created it.

References

Disney, W. (1943). Der Fuehrer’s Face. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/DerFuehrersFace

Disney, W. (1943). Education for Death. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/EducationForDeathTheMakingOfTheNazi

Disney, W. (1943). The Spirit of 43. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/TheSpiritOf43_56

Lee, S. H. (2009). Herr Meets Hare: Donald and Bugs Fight Hitler. ArtUS, 26, 70–75.

Steele, R. (1978). American Popular Opinion and the War Against Germany: The Issue of Negotiated Peace, 1942. The Journal of American History, 65(3), 704-723.

Strauss, T. (1943, February 7). Donald Duck’s Disney. The New York Times, 168.

All Have the Right to Question: Inquiry in the Incarcerated Environment

All Have the Right to Question: Inquiry in the Incarcerated Environment

Aubrey Brammar Southall and James Pawola

The bombing of Pearl Harbor is the current content for discussion in Mr. Peet’s (a pseudonym) United States History class. Mr. Peet has decided on the topic based on student written inquiry questions. Most students in the class were interested in studying why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Mr. Peet asks, “According to the sources, FDR makes it seem the Pearl Harbor attack was unprovoked. Tojo makes the case that the attack was provoked. What do you think? Support your answer with evidence from the sources provided.” The students fervently write out their responses after fumbling through their provided primary sources. As students recount the letters Hideki Tojo wrote during his time in prison, there is a general consensus, “Why would he lie when he is locked up for life?” and “Of course, Tojo was provoked.” The students speak of Tojo as if he is someone they know. Mr. Peet’s pupils bring an interesting perspective to the class discussion as they are all incarcerated. Mr. Peet teaches United States History at Midwestern Juvenile Justice Center (a pseudonym). He is a certified teacher by the Midwestern state in secondary social studies. Mr. Peet has taught at Midwestern Juvenile Justice Center for more than five years.

The purpose of this article is to examine the teaching of social studies in an incarcerated secondary classroom environment. The article will answer the following questions: (1) How is inquiry- based instruction implemented in an incarcerated classroom environment? And (2) How does the teacher interpret their classroom engagement level when inquiry- based instruction is employed?

Methodology

The researchers are on the “inside” for observations. This term is used by students in Mr. Peet’s classroom. The researchers know their position as an outsider in this unique classroom environment. They are aware their position in society will shape perceptions and field notes. The researchers acknowledge the differences between the students and themselves, though they are greater than they could ever perceive. A sequence of events has partnered the researchers with Mr. Peet. What first started as a mentoring project by the local regional office of education has transformed and the researchers are now the mentees instead of mentors.

The purpose of this longitudinal case study is to evaluate the use of the inquiry based instruction in an incarcerated secondary classroom environment. The study will answer the following questions: (1) how is inquiry-based instruction implemented in an incarcerated classroom environment? (2) How does the teacher interpret their classroom engagement level when inquiry-based instruction is employed? The researchers use a case study qualitative research method. The research questions are best suited to be answered by employing a qualitative method. Yin (2013) believes “doing case study research would be the preferred method, compared to the others, in situations when (1) the main research questions are ‘how’ or ‘why’ questions; (2) the researchers have little or no control over behavioral events; and (3) the focus of study is a contemporary (as opposed to entirely historical)” (loc. 639). The use of quantitative research methods would not answer the research questions in an appropriate manner. Data collection included observations, teacher interviews, and field notes. Additionally, in this research study, the participant is one teacher in a juvenile justice center. Field notes and observation were necessary for data collection. The case study approach allowed for a holistic answer to the research questions.

For the purpose of this research project, the following definition for inquiry is employed: “Inquiry-based learning is an approach to teaching and learning that places students’ questions, ideas and observations at the center of the learning experience. Educators play an active role throughout the process by establishing a culture where ideas are respectfully challenged, tested, redefined and viewed as improvable, moving children from a position of wondering to a position of enacted understanding and further questioning” (Student Achievement Division, 2013, p.2).

Mr. Peet’s Classroom

Mr. Peet’s classroom at Midwestern Juvenile Justice Center mimics national averages for jailed populations. The classroom where the researchers observed is made up of mostly Black and Brown young men. Most of Mr. Peet’s students report they have attended an alternative public school before entering his classroom. Over 50 percent of the students reported receiving special education services at their home public school. Kendi (2019) states Black students are four times more likely than white students to be suspended from public schools. Additionally, 56 percent of the prison population is made up of Black and Latinx people (Kendi, 2019). A recent Midwestern newspaper article stated “Youth who are detained are more likely to drop out of school, which in turn increases their likelihood of being rearrested and returning to jail” (Klonsky, 2019). The researchers noted that many practices at Midwestern Juvenile Justice Center appear to be restorative. Education is a top priority of administrators and educators. Students are offered the opportunity to participate in the following elective courses: yoga, music, graphic design, physical education, dual credit program with local community college, book club, garden club, art, and art therapy. Student artwork and murals adorn the walls of the school. The most notable student created murals state, “One day or day one, you decide”, “Renew”, and, “Begin.” Mr. Peet employs abolitionist teaching principles as his classroom “is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system where all students are thriving, not simply surviving” (Love, 2019, p. 11).

Review of the Literature

Quality educational programing during incarceration can have a positive impact on students and help prevent involvement in future criminal behavior (Lochner & Moretti, 2003). The time youth spend in local short-term juvenile justice facilities should be used to address educational challenges, and to re-engage students in education or alternative programs (Office of Justice Programs’ National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 2017). Additionally, high quality education during incarceration is important for helping students become productive members of their communities (U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, 2014).

Incarcerated classrooms provide unique opportunities for secondary teachers. Scott (2013) reports there are two types of teachers in incarcerated settings. The first type of teacher sees prison as an important place for higher education and the other looks critically at the prison classroom. The researcher believes teachers looking critically at the prison classroom are more likely to advocate for incarcerated students (Scott, 2013). The researchers argue the teacher in this study, Mr. Peet, looks at his incarcerated secondary classroom critically. The researchers see Mr. Peet as an abolitionist teacher. Love (2019) states that:

Abolitionist teaching is built on the cultural wealth of students’ communities and creating classrooms in parallel with those communities aimed at facilitating interactions where people matter to each other, fight together in the pursuit of creating a home place that represents their hopes and dreams, and resist oppression all while building a new future (p. 68).

The teacher is willing to advocate for students and provide resources for inquiry. This image of the teacher shapes the narrative of the research.

The educational opportunities afforded to those in incarcerated environments impacts our societal landscape (Castro & Brawn, 2017). The classroom should be a place of thinking, discussing, and dialoguing. Additionally, the researchers and teacher highlight the importance of humanizing language when discussing people in incarcerated environments (Stern, 2014). Therefore, the researchers refer to the youth discussed in this study as students instead of inmates. Furthermore, Mr. Peet has made community in a place that is less than desirable.

For dark folx, thriving cannot  happen without a community that is deeply invested in racial uplift, human and workers’ rights, affordable housing, food and environmental justice, land rights, free or affordable healthcare, healing, joy, cooperative economic strategies, and high political participation that is free of heteropatriarchy, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, sexism, ageism, and the politics of respectability (Love, 2019, p. 65).

Mr. Peet’s classroom is a place where students and their backgrounds are valued and respected.

Furthermore, teaching in incarcerated environments should be seen as complex and unpredictable (Castro & Brawn, 2017). Teachers typically are the only teacher of their subject in the building, which is true for Mr. Peet.  Additionally, students do not have normal distractions like Wifi/internet, cell phones, parties, and school extracurricular activities (Scott, 2013). Furthermore, incarcerated students are not typically considered candidates for post-secondary education (Castro, Brawn, Graves, Mayorga, Page, & Slater, 2015). Mr. Peet does work in an environment promoting college readiness. He co-teaches community college courses for his incarcerated students. However, student perception of incarcerated classrooms draws from teacher and environmental stereotypes. “Analysis reveals how even well-intended practices in prison spaces pose obstacles to seeing incarcerated individuals as potential postsecondary students and degree completers” (Castro et al., 2015, p. 13). The presenters believe incarcerated environments with thoughtfully designed education programs “can create communities committed to personal growth, social responsibility, and engaged citizenship” (Ginsburg, 2014, p.33). Moreover, education in incarcerated environments that helps students with strong written and oral communication skills, such as inquiry based instruction, empowers them. Empowered students have the ability to represent and advocate for themselves in public spaces outside of incarceration (Lewen, 2014).

Classroom Practices

Mr. Peet instructs United States History chronologically. Each unit the teacher has the students write inquiry questions while reading an overview of the upcoming material. The teacher believes this allows the students to preview and/or review material and allows all students to start the unit with a base of prior knowledge. Students have stated writing inquiry questions as the teacher believes this gives them ownership in the lesson. “Hey, that’s my question!” is a resounding sound in Mr. Peet’s classroom. The teacher has reported, and researchers have recorded in field notes students are more engaged when student inquiry questions are used. The teacher provides research sources from multiple perspectives to students based on student-written inquiry questions. Bias is often discussed in the classroom. The teacher reported different levels of inquiry questions are written and answered based on student reading levels. Most of the students read below grade level. Resources provided by the teacher include photographs, art, music, speeches, news articles, and news’ broadcasts relating to the students’ interests. The nature of the provided resources and student written questions allows the teacher to differentiate for the variety of students present in the classroom. The teacher collects work daily and uses the feedback as a formative assessment. Due to the nature of Midwestern Juvenile Justice Center, summative assessments are not used.

Students report they often have not participated in their former social studies classrooms. Student feedback of Mr. Peet’s classroom is extremely positive. The teacher sets high expectations for all students. The researchers had Mr. Peet, affectionately known as “Mr. P” by his students, ask the students to write out why they enjoyed his class and participated in discussions and assignments. One student stated, “Mr. P teaches history in a very unbiased way. He never states opinions without refuting and clarifying both sides.” Another stated, “Mr. P is very knowledgeable of the subject. He makes it where I actually enjoy coming to school again.” Other comments were, “I like history the way you (Mr. P) teach” and “It’s (class) fun and I enjoy the fact that Mr. P actually makes it fun and makes it easy to understand.” Based on field notes and teacher reflection, many of the students have previously felt school was not the place for them.

Results

As this study is longitudinal in nature, we will discuss the results from data collected thus far. We should note that due to the nature of incarcerated secondary classrooms, the teacher’s student population changes daily. The average time in a classroom is 14 days. Some students are members of the classroom for over a year. Additionally, some students rejoin the classroom throughout the school year. Furthermore, the researchers see youth who are incarcerated as a protected group. This study focuses on the teacher’s interpretation of classroom practices and student engagement.

Findings indicate inquiry-based learning in an incarcerated secondary social studies classroom environment is structured and teacher- dependent.  Mr. Peet’s United States History classroom ranges from seventh- twelfth graders. Students in this setting are not allowed to use the internet and have limited access to research materials. The teacher is responsible for providing needed materials for student inquiry. The teacher states the following as key components to structuring his classroom: “I usually use primary source pictures from the era or topic to spark interest and meaningful discussion” and “I find materials that I know are interesting and then tailor lessons to meet standards.” Additionally, he comments, “I do vocabulary exercises, and focus on the reading and analyzing primary and secondary sources.” Due to school policies, students are issued writing materials at the start of each class. Homework is not assigned as hardback textbooks and pencils are not allowed in student bedrooms due to safety concerns.

The teacher reported an increase in student engagement when inquiry based teaching practices are employed. Researchers recorded the following as key components of student engagement: a safe space for classroom discussion, the constant posing of “why?” to students, the posting of inquiry questions related to the topic everyday (student generated when applicable), and the modeling of good inquiry questions, sources of information, and identifying bias.

Additionally, the teacher noted increased engagement from students on release days from incarceration when inquiry based learning was used. The researchers recorded this in field notes as well. The teacher noted in previous experiences, students were understandably disengaged on release days. The students appeared to make the most use of their time in Mr. Peet’s class. Mr. Peet often states he hopes the students carry their often new found love of United States history back to their home public school.

Furthermore, an increase in individual student engagement is observed when the student’s own inquiry question is used during the lesson. Increased engagement is measured by student participation in classroom discussion and student answers to inquiry based questions. All inquiry question responses are required to use textual evidence. Textual evidence comes from teacher-provided resources.

The researchers observed empowerment, questioning, and relationships are the key components of inquiry-based learning in an incarcerated classroom environment and teacher-reported student engagement. The teacher reported relationships with the students being of the utmost importance for inquiry based instruction. The student centered approach to instruction empowers students daily. Finally, challenging students to question the history they are taught increases engagement and inquiry-based learning. Researchers used field notes, teacher interviews, and student work samples to determine key components.

Conclusion

            The researchers understand the complex nature of Midwestern Juvenile Justice Center and acknowledge the troubling rates of incarceration for Black and Brown young men. The researchers believe the abolitionist teaching style of Mr. Peet should be replicated and employed in the teaching of youth who find themselves incarcerated or in alternative school settings. Mr. Peet models how to successfully teach inquiry in a space where individuals voices are often kept quiet. The researchers feel strongly about the use of student-centered practices and inquiry-based instruction in environments where rights have been diminished.

References

Castro, E. L., Brawn, M., Graves, D., Mayorga, O., & Page, J. (2015). Higher education in an era of mass incarceration: Possibility under constraint. Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs, 1 (2), 13-31.

Castro, E.L. & Brawn, M. (2017). Critiquing critical pedagogies inside the prison classroom: A dialogue between a teacher and a student. Harvard Education Review, 87 (1), 99-121.

Ginsburg, R. (2014). Knowing that we are making a difference: A case for critical prison programming. Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, 64 (1), 33-47.

Kendi, I. (2019). How to be an anti-racist. Penguin Random House.

Klonsky, A (2019, November 7). The lifelong damage we do in Cook County when we jail kids as young as 10. Chicago Sun Times. https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/11/7/20953943/cook-county-juvenile-temporary-detention-center-jtdc-child-offenders-audy-home-amanda-klonsky?fbclid=IwAR30eR5LSOHgqYlAnc4OLAzNPc0HzYsdnHV5bOG1mhRRWlmC-DsfI7zyguY  

Lewen, J. (2014). Prison higher education and social transformation. Saint Louis University School of Law Review, 33 (1) 353-362.

Lochner, L. & Moretti, E. (2003). The effect of education on crime: evidence from prison inmates, arrests, and self-reports. American Economic Review, (94)1, 155-189.

Love, B. (2019). We want to do more than survive: Abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom. Beacon Press.

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Scott, R. (2013). Distinguishing radical teaching from merely having intense experiences while teaching in prison. Radical Teacher, 95 (1), 22-32.

Stern, K. (2014). Prison education and our will to punish. Saint Louis University School of Law Review, 33 (1), 443-459.

Student Achievement Division (2013). Capacity building series. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/CBS_InquiryBased.pdf

U.S. Departments of Education and Justice. (2014). Guiding principles for providing high quality education in juvenile justice secure care settings. Washington, D.C.

Yin, R. K. (2013). Case study research: design and methods (5th edition.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications,

Integrating Climate History into the Global History Curriculum

Kristen Bradle, Jessica Hermann and Dean Bacigalupo

Rationale: This package was created as a resource to assist educators who are teaching the 9th grade New Jersey World History or 9th and 10th grade New York State Global History and Geography curriculum. The resources and guiding questions are
aligned with the New Jersey and New York Learning Standards and the academic skills required on the New York State Global History and Geography Regents examination. The resources highlight the impact of climate change on human
societies as an enduring issue that reemerged at different points in history. These resources contain strong transdisciplinary connections between Social Studies, Science, and STEM/STEAM.

The impact of climate change on human societies is one of the most pressing topics affecting the world today. Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is demanding government and corporate action to prevent a climate catastrophe. Goals in designing these materials were to interest students in the past and to engage them as active citizens in the present empowered with historical knowledge.

The question of how to respond to climate change has been contentious as some political leaders in the United States and other countries have challenged the science that explains the threat of climate change to human civilization. Some have dismissed proposals to restrict the emission of greenhouse gases claiming it would injure economies and because “We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem.” In reference to the Corona virus, Donald Trump tweeted in all caps, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.” Students will have to respond to this assertion as educated citizens, future parents, and community leaders.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/03/24/trump_we_cant_have_the_cure_be_worse_than_the_problem_142750.html
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1241935285916782593

Enduring Issues: The activities in this packet engage students in exploring a number of Enduring Issues in human history.
https://www.engageny.org/sites/default/files/2-enduring-issues-chart.pdf

Human Impact on the Environment: Includes environmental degradation, deforestation, desertification, global warming, destruction of ozone layer, pollution, extinction of species/loss of species, loss of biodiversity, diversion of rivers/water sources, use of alternative energy sources, impact of policies on sustainability, and
spread of disease.

Impact of Environment on Humans: Includes impact of climate, impact of natural disasters, and impact of policies designed to deal with natural disasters.

Impact of Technology: Includes consequences of technology use for people and consequences of technology use for the environment.
Impact of Industrialization: Includes consequences of industrialization.

Impact of Globalization: Includes consequences of interdependence.

Social Studies Frameworks: The following New York State Frameworks are addressed in this series of climate activity sheets:

CLASSICAL CIVILIZATIONS: EXPANSION, ACHIEVEMENT, DECLINE: Classical
civilizations in Eurasia and Mesoamerica employed a variety of methods to expand and maintain control over vast territories. They developed lasting cultural
achievements. Both internal and external forces led to the eventual decline of these empires. Geographic factors encouraged and hindered a state’s/empire’s expansion and interactions. Students will investigate how geographic factors encouraged or hindered expansion and interactions within the Greek, Roman, and Mayan civilizations.

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL GROWTH AND CONFLICT: During the postclassical era, the
growth of transregional empires and the use of trade networks influenced religions and spread disease. These cross-cultural interactions also led to conflict and affected demographic development. Networks of exchange facilitated the spread of disease, which affected social, cultural, economic, and demographic development. Students will map the spread of the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) as it was carried westward from Asia to Africa and Europe. Students will evaluate the effects of the
Black Death on these regions

CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: Innovations in agriculture, production, and transportation led to the Industrial Revolution, which originated in Western Europe and spread over time to Japan and other regions.
This led to major population shifts and transformed economic and social systems.

GLOBALIZATION AND A CHANGING GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT (1990–PRESENT):
Technological changes have resulted in a more interconnected world, affecting economic and political relations and in some cases leading to conflict and in others to efforts to cooperate. Globalization and population pressures have led to strains on the environment. Technological changes in communication and transportation systems allow for instantaneous interconnections and new networks of exchange between people and places that have lessened the effects of time and distance. Students will investigate the causes and effects of, and responses to, one infectious disease (e.g., malaria, HIV/AIDS). Population pressures, industrialization, and urbanization have increased demands for limited natural resources and food
resources, often straining the environment. Students will examine strains on the environment, such as threats to wildlife and degradation of the physical environment (i.e., desertification, deforestation and pollution) due to population growth, industrialization, and urbanization.

Science and STEM/STEAM Transdisciplinary Connections: The NYS P-12 Science Learning Standards with STEM/STEAM practices and crosscutting concepts guidance document that was referenced to inform connections with middle and high social studies can be found at: http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/program
s/curriculum-instruction/p-12-science-learningstandards.pdf

 Transdisciplinary connections for middle school include 3 inquiries: Earth’s Systems, Weather and Climate, and Human Impacts can be found on pages 48-50.
 Transdisciplinary connections for high school include the inquiry focused on
Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems and can be found on pages 67-68.

Sample Lesson Introduction
Below is a visual Do Now activity that displays the impact and affect climate change has had on the world. This provides students with the evidence and visual understanding that the climate change has resulted drastic changes to our ecosystems. The website below, created by NASA, displays a series of before and after pictures of different climate change “hot spots” around the world. Within these pictures, visible changes, such as rising levels of water can be seen. https://climate.nasa.gov/images-of-change?id=709#709-christmas-tree-harvest-inashe-county-north-carolina

DO NOW: You will examine a series of images on the board, while viewing these images fill out the chart below.

Topic: Old Kingdom Egypt
AIM: What environmental change caused the downfall of Old Kingdom Egypt? These documents explore the effect of desertification in the past.

Map of Old Kingdom, Egypt
Statue of Pharaoh Menkaure (center)
Pyramid of Djoser
Temple of Djoser

Document 1: Desertification of Egypt
“Tomb paintings and inscriptions hint that the environment became more arid toward the end of the Old Kingdom, as some plants disappeared and sand dunes crept close to river settlements. Data drawn from cores in the Nile basin confirm that the climate began to dry around 2200 B.C.”
Source: Did Egypt’s Old Kingdom Die—or Simply Fade Away?

Document 2: “During the last 10,000 years or so, desertification, punctuated by temporary reversals, has driven people out of what was once a well-watered savannah covering vast areas of the present Sahara into smaller areas fed by rivers and near surface groundwaters.”
Source:(PDF) The Desertification of the Egyptian Sahara during the Holocene (the Last 10,000 years) and Its Influence on the Rise of Egyptian Civilization

Document 3: Desertification of the Sahara
“7,300 to 5,500 years ago: Retreating monsoonal rains initiated desiccation in the Egyptian Sahara, prompting humans to move to remaining habitable
niches in Sudanese Sahara. The end of the rains and return of desert conditions throughout the Sahara after 5,500 coincides with population return to the Nile Valley and the beginning of pharaonic society . . . The climate change at [10,500 years
ago] which turned most of the [3.8 million square mile] large Sahara into a savannah-type environment happened within a few hundred years
only, certainly within less than 500 years,” said study team member Stefan Kroepelin of the University of Cologne in Germany.”
Source: https://www.livescience.com/4180-saharadesert-lush-populated.html

Document 4: Effects of Drought and Desertification on the Egyptian Empire
“When a drought brought famine to the land, there was no longer any meaningful central government to respond to it. The Old Kingdom ended with the 6th Dynasty as no strong ruler came to the throne to lead the people. Local officials took care of their own communities and had no resources, nor felt the responsibility, to help the rest of the country. As the 6th Dynasty passed away, Egypt slowly tumbled into the era now classified by scholars as the First Intermediate Period . . . At the end of the 6th Dynasty, there was no longer a central government of note and Egypt entered a period of social unrest and reformation known as The Frist Intermediate Period (2181-2040 BCE) during which Egypt was ruled regionally by local magistrates who made and enforced their own laws. The rise of these local officials and the power of the priesthood were not the only causes of the collapse of the Old Kingdom, however, in that a severe drought toward the end of the 6th Dynasty brought famine which the government could do nothing to alleviate. Scholars have also pointed to the exceptionally long reign of Pepi II of the 6th Dynasty as a contributing factor
because he outlived his successors and left no heir to the throne.” Source: https://www.ancient.eu/Old_Kingdom_of_Egypt/

Questions: The civilizations you examined today made advances in their societies.

  1. How have environmental factors impacted the societies you examined today?
  2. How did the advances civilizations made contribute to environmental consequences?
  3. How have these advances caused a long-lasting impact that is negatively affecting societies today?
  4. Identify a similarity or a difference between the events, ideas, or historical developments presented in documents 1 and 2.
  5. Explain a similarity or a difference in the events, ideas, or historical developments
    presented in these documents. Be sure to use evidence from both documents 1 and 2 in your response.

Topic: Collapse of Akkadian Empire
Aim: What did the Curse of Akkad teach us about the impact of climate on society?
These documents examine the effect of drought caused by a changing local environment.

“For some time, researchers attributed the collapse to political disintegration and invasion by hostile groups. Some paleoclimate records indicate that a catastrophic drought also occurred around this time and suggest that climate factors beyond the control of the empire played a role in its demise.” Source: Drought and the Akkadian Empire

“Instead of rain, the Akkadians and their subjects were baked by dry, hot winds from the north. Precipitation fell by 30 percent, and crops withered in the field; the raw wind picked up the topsoil and blew it south. With their surplus dwindling, the fields barren, and laborers consuming what was left, at some point the Akkadians decided the game was up. Many of the Akkadians moved south, likely as word filtered back that the Euphrates, though diminished, continued to flow, supplying irrigation
water to the fields there. Some refugees became pastoral nomads, moving with their herds in search of fodder.

Those who remained at Tell Leilan left no trace. As the decades went by, sand and dust gradually entombed the acropolis. When the winds and drought finally abated, some three hundred years later, new settlers moved in.” -Eugene Linden, The Winds of Change

Questions:

  1. What was “The Curse of Akkad”?
  2. Use specific quotes from the text to explain what happened as a result of the climate change the Akkadian Empire experienced.
  3. How did Akkadians adapt/respond to the changing climate?

Topic: Mayan Civilization
Aim: Did consequences of climate change play a significant role in the downfall of the Mayan Civilization? Climate change played a critical role on the collapse of the Mayan Civilization.

Document #1: Chart of Evaporation: Scientists have reconstructed climate at the time of the Mayan civilization by studying lake sediment cores from the Yucatan Peninsula (Hodell et al. 1995; Curtis et al. 1996; Hodell et al. 2005). It is possible to
reconstruct changes in the balance between precipitation and evaporation (P−E), a common indicator of drought, by measuring oxygen isotope data from the shells of gastropods and ostracods. Lake H2O molecules containing the isotope 18O evaporate less easily than H2O molecules with 16O. Thus, during periods of strong evaporation, the lake water becomes enriched in 18O (values of δ18O are high). These isotopic values are incorporated into the growing shells of gastropods and ostracods that
live in the lake.

Another proxy for P−E is the percent of sulfur in the lake sediments. Evaporation concentrates sulfur in the lake water. If the sulfur concentration becomes high enough, salts such as gypsum (CaSO4) will start to precipitate from the lake water
and add sulfur to the lake sediments. The variations of sulfur percentage match the variations in oxygen isotopes closely. Corroborating one paleoclimate proxy with another is an important check on proxy records and gives us more confidence in them.

Scientists reconstructed changes in the balance between precipitation and evaporation using the percent of sulfur in sediments and the oxygen isotopes of shells of gastropods and ostracods from Lake Chichancanab on the Yucatan Peninsula (Hodell et al. 1995)

Document 2: Effects of Deforestation on Mayan Civilization: “Results from simulations with a regional climate model demonstrate that deforestation by the Maya also likely induced warmer, drier, drought‐like conditions. It is therefore hypothesized that the drought conditions devastating the Maya resulted from a combination of natural variability and human activities. Neither the natural drought or the human‐induced effects alone were sufficient to cause the collapse, but the
combination created a situation the Maya could not recover from. These results may have sobering implications for the present and future state of climate and water resources in Mesoamerica as ongoing massive deforestation is again occurring.”
Source: Oglesby, R. J., T. L. Sever, W. Saturno, D. J. Erickson III, and J. Srikishen (2010). “Collapse of the Maya: Could deforestation have contributed?” J. Geophys. Res., 115, D12106, doi:10.1029/2009JD011942.

“Deforestation led to lower rainfall and higher temperatures; both factors would have been detrimental to Mayan life. The reduction in rainfall means it would have been more difficult for the Maya to store enough water to survive the dry season, while the warmer conditions put more stress on evaporation, vegetation, livestock, and people. These effects occurred during both the wet and dry seasons but were much larger during the wet season, when they were also arguably more
important. This is because the Maya societal structure depended on storage of water during the wet season, which in turn provided for them during the dry season.” Source: AGU Journal

Document 3: Effects of Drought on Mayan Civilization: “Recent data indicate that a major drought at this time may have been a key factor in the collapse. Research along the Holmul River, which runs through several bajos and connects 10 major Maya cities, indicates that between A.D. 750 and 850 the river either dried up or became swampy, perhaps as a result of a long period of drought” [Sever and Irwin, 2003; T. P. Culbert, personal communication, 2002].

Document 4: Reduction of Rainfall and Wetland Formation: Researchers from Arizona State University analyzed archaeological data from across the Yucatan to reach a better understanding of the environmental conditions when the area was
abandoned. Around this time, they found, severe reductions in rainfall were coupled with a rapid rate of deforestation, as the Mayans burned and chopped down more and more forest to clear land for agriculture. Interestingly, they also required massive amounts of wood to fuel the fires that cooked the lime plaster for their elaborate constructions—experts estimate it would have taken 20 trees to produce a single square meter of cityscape. Smithsonian magazine Accelerator mass spectrometry dates chart and conceptual model of wetland formation. (Credit: T. Beach et al., University of Texas at Austin)

Document 5: Lake Bottom Sediment Core from Yucatan Peninsula: Bands located on sediment core help indicate periods of drought and periods of rainfall based on the coloring of the bands. Below, is a piece of lake bottom sediment core from the Yucatan Peninsula, displaying periods of drought during the time of the Mayan
collapse.

Picture source: The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather, and the Destruction of Civilizations by Eugene Linden.

Questions for Mayan Document Series:

  1. How did deforestation and drought play a critical role in the decline and eventual collapse of the Mayan Civilization?
  2. How does science aid historians in understanding important changes in climate that have affected civilizations?
  3. Based on the research presented in this document series, did consequences of climate change play a significant role in the downfall of the Mayan Civilization?

Topic: Roman Empire (27 BC-476 AD)
Aim: How did shifts in climate lead to the decline of the Roman Empire?
During the establishment and peak of the Roman empire Europe was enduring a period of climate stability. When Rome began experiencing colder, unstable weather, deadly epidemics led to a decline in civilization.

Document 1: Climate Change Background
“Climate change did not begin with the exhaust fumes of industrialization, but has been a permanent feature of human existence. Orbital mechanics (small variations in the tilt, spin and eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit) and solar cycles alter the amount
and distribution of energy received from the Sun. And volcanic eruptions spew reflective sulphates into the atmosphere, sometimes with long-reaching effects. Modern, anthropogenic climate change is so perilous because it is happening quickly and in conjunction with so many other irreversible changes in the Earth’s biosphere. But climate change per seis nothing new.” Source: Smithsonian

Document 2: How Favorable Climate Led To The Rise of the Roman Empire
“It turns out that climate had a major role in the rise and fall of Roman civilization. The empire-builders benefitted from impeccable timing: the characteristic warm, wet and stable weather was conducive to economic productivity in an agrarian
society. The benefits of economic growth supported the political and social bargains by which the Roman empire controlled its vast territory. The favorable climate, in ways subtle and profound, was baked into the empire’s innermost structure.”
Source: Smithsonian

Document 3: Climate and The Fall of The Roman Empire
“The end of this lucky climate regime did not immediately, or in any simple deterministic sense, spell the doom of Rome. Rather, a less favorable climate undermined its power just when the empire was imperiled by more dangerous enemies— Germans, Persians—from without. Climate instability peaked in the sixth century, during the reign of Justinian. Work by dendro-chronologists and ice-core experts points to an enormous spasm of volcanic activity in the 530s and 540s CE, unlike anything else in the past few thousand years. This violent sequence of eruptions triggered what is now called the ‘Late Antique Little Ice Age,’ when much colder temperatures endured for at least 150 years. This phase of climate deterioration had decisive effects in Rome’s unravelling. It was also intimately
linked to a catastrophe of even greater moment: the outbreak of the first pandemic of bubonic plague.” Source: Smithsonian

Document 4: Levels of Precipitation in the Roman Empire
The Fall of the Roman Empire was affected by a period of cooling, known as the Little Ice Age. This period of cooling greatly affected the way people lived. Source: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Source: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/)

Document 5 and 6: Favorable Flooding of the Nile Creating Stable Conditions
Source: The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
“Finally, unnoticed until not, Egypt, the Roman Empire’s breadbasket, spears to have enjoyed exceptionally favorable conditions for cereal production during this period . Nile river levels reflect precipitation over Ethiopia and East and Central Africa. Precious study has clarified the history of Nile floods down to 299 A.D., but that abundant evidence has never been exploited for climate history or economic performance. Before Rome annexed Egypt, all seven of nine securely recorded Nile floods in the earlier years of the first century B.C. were below average. For the next 329 years, from the annexation in 30 B.C. to 299 S.D., reliable documents allow an estimate of the annual flood in 199 different years, after which the available data become more scarce until 642 A.D. They show a subtle but significant pattern: The most favorable floods occurred when contrasted with those of the following period.”

Note: Dead Sea: Fluctuating sea levels reflect overall precipitation in the Levant. Although the chronology is fluid, recent work clearly confirms earlier findings of an early and late period of humid conditions, separated and followed by dry conditions
Note: Lake Van: Oxygen isotopes within our period indicate most humid conditions c. the first centuries B.C. and A.D. and c. the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., and dry conditions c. the third and seventh centuries.

Document 7: Favorable Conditions During the Roman Empire
Source: The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, The Roman Optimum: Stability from C. 100 B.C. to 200 A.D.
Exceptional climate stability characterizes the centuries of the Roman Empire’s rise; certain regions enjoyed unusually favorable conditions. In the western Roman Empire, the first century B.C. through the first and possibly second century A.D. were warmer than later centuries. Archaeological evidence from Britain, ice-core date from Greenland, and dendrodata about summer temperature.

Document 8: The Fall of the Roman Empire
Source: The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
We synthesize the results for the entire sweep of Roman imperial history in four multi-century phases, distinguishing between the western (approximately -9.34 to 22 degrees) and the eastern (22 degrees to 38.96 degrees) regions of the Empire. The written, archeological, and natural-scientific proxy evidence independently but consistently indicates that climate conditions changed during the period of the Roman Empire’s maximum expansion and final crisis. Rates of change shifted dramatically over time, from apparent near stasis under the early Empire to rapid fluctuations later in the Empire’s history.
Changes affected different parts of the Empire in different ways and at different times. Even though the different data sets are not in perfect agreement about absolute dating, they impressively converge about the sequence of events. In each case, the discussion moves from west to east.

Questions

  1. Why might an unprecedented period of chilling have major consequences on the Roman Empire?
  2. Why is it important river levels and flooding remain on a set schedule and stay predictable? If they do not, what effects might it have on society?
  3. Was the Roman Empire able to adapt to climate change?

Topic: Collapse of the Norse North Atlantic Network
Aim: How did climate change cause the Inuit civilization to prosper and the downfall of the Norse?
Climate change can cause one civilization to flourish while it causes another to collapse. Civilizations that are able adapt to climate change may prevail.

Medieval Warming Period 900-1250 A.D. created wealth and prosperity in Europe. During this time the peak expansion of Viking Influence occurred. This warming period caused the growing season to lengthen as population and trade expanded
throughout Europe. The Norse first ventured to Iceland starting in 874 when trees were plentiful. From Iceland they traveled to Greenland which had “better land for growing barley than Iceland, as well as birch and willow trees, and meadows to support livestock.” In an attempt to expand their influence some “Norse traders ventured to North America during the 350-year span of the Western Settlement
in Greenland” but “Norse ventures in the New World petered out” and the Norse were forced to return to Greenland and Iceland. The weather turning colder due to the Little Ice Age “eliminated the possibility that the Norse would colonize North
America.”

“Climate changes, and when it does, it favors some and penalizes others. This is what happened during the Viking Age. Starting between 1343 and 1345, Greenland suffered through ten cold years, culminating in the worst winter in five hundred
years in 1355. This led to the collapse of the western colony.” The Norse civilization slowly collapsed and starved as “short cold summers gave the Norse no opportunity to rebuild their flocks and grain supplies. For food, they relied on hunting and
gathering as well as farming…and relied on meat and milk to get them through the winter.”

“The Inuit flourished during this same period. The Norse could have survived the bad weather too if they had learned from the Inuit, who love it when the weather turns frigid because it gives them an ice platform from which to hunt ringed seals with harpoons when the mammals surface at breathing holes in the sea ice. Christian Norse likely regarded the shamanistic Inuit as unenlightened and beneath
them. The Norse could have adapted Inuit hunting methods and survived the Little Ice Age. Greenland colonies prospered during the warm years and became uninhabitable by agrarian people during the cold years. The Little Ice Age proved absolutely fatal to the Greenland colonies.” – Linden, The Winds of Change

Questions

  1. Would the world be different today if the Medieval Warm Period had continued and
    Greenland settlers had endured? Explain your answer.
  2. Why did the Inuit civilization survive the Little Ice Age while it caused the collapse of the Norse civilization?

Topic: The Fall of the Ancient Khmer Empire 802 CE-1431CE
Aim: What does Ancient Khmer infrastructure reveal about their collapse?
Through innovation the Khmer Empire tried to decrease the effects of climate instability but ultimately climate change prevailed and led to the fall of the Empire.

“The cause of the Angkor empire’s demise in the early 15th century long remained a mystery. But researchers have now shown that intense monsoon rains that followed a prolonged drought in the region caused widespread damage to the city’s infrastructure, leading to its collapse. From the beginning, water was central to the development of Angkor, which is often described as a “hydraulic city.” Channels and reservoirs were constructed to collect and store water coming from the hills, both for flood control and for distribution for agriculture. A system of overflows and bypasses carried surplus water to the Tonle Sap Lake to the
south of the city.

In the mid to late 1300s, Angkor began suffering from a persistent drought. This was followed by several years of unusually strong monsoon rains, producing extensive flooding with which the city’s infrastructure seemed to have been unable to cope.
The flooding caused serious erosion in the system, with links in it being systematically severed. To the south of the city, canals were choked with material
eroded from the center of Angkor.

The bridge at Angkor Thom was built from reused stone blocks from temples, with many of them carved in intricate ways. That they would take apart a temple and use it for something as mundane as a bridge suggests there is something seriously going
wrong. It has long been thought that the damage to the water management system put an end to a long period of decline at Angkor. As the flooding destroyed the infrastructure, the city of Angkor collapsed. In 1431, it was taken by the Siamese
army.

The medieval Khmer were confronted with a period of climatic instability that they had no experience of, and which fully changed the rules of the game that they had been playing for hundreds of years. A similar scale of challenge is now confronting
contemporary communities, as the climate begins to change.”
Show video for architecture and river:
https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/00000144-0a43-d3cb-a96c-7b4f433d0000
Source: Angkor Wat’s Collapse From Climate Change Has Lessons for Today
(https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/04/angkor-wat-civilization-collapsed-floods-droughtclimate-change/)

Questions

  1. How did infrastructure innovations created by the Angkor civilization help their civilization flourish and then aid in the collapse?
  2. What advantages do societies have today for surviving climate change that the Ancient Khmer Empire did not?

Document 1: The Rise of Genghis Khan and The Mongols. “On a research trip to Mongolia in 2010, Pederson, Hessl and their colleagues discovered a stand of stunted Siberian pine trees in the Khangai Mountains. The trees—some of which were still alive—were ancient, some more than 1,100 years old. Old trees provide a living history book of the climate. During warm, wet years, the trees grow more, and the rings inside the trunk that mark those years are wider. The opposite happens during dry years, when the rings would be narrow. Counting back to the late 1100s, just before the rise of Genghis Khan, the tree-ring data indicated that the Mongol steppes had been in the grip of an intense drought, one that could have helped drive the years of division among the Mongol tribes as they competed for scarce resources. But the tree-rings showed that the years between 1211 and 1225—a period of time that coincided with the meteoric rise of Genghis Khan, who died in 1227—were marked by unusually heavy rainfall and mild temperatures.” Source: Time Magazine

Document 2: “The transition from extreme drought to extreme moisture right then strongly suggests that climate played a role in human events. It wasn’t the only thing, but it must have created the ideal conditions for a charismatic leader to emerge out of the chaos, develop an army and concentrate power. Where it’s arid, unusual moisture creates unusual plant productivity, and that translates into horsepower. Genghis was literally able to ride that wave.” Source: PNAS Study, Amy Hessl

Document 3: Tree Ring Moisture: Tree ring moisture indicated the Mongols suffered severe drought and began dealing with a period of moisture when Genghis Khan was able to rise to power. Tree-ring drought reconstruction site (green cross) and inferred temperature site (white cross) are 50 km apart. Map of the Mongol Empire near its zenith (aqua) in 1260 CE. The ancient capital city of Karakorum (black triangle) and current capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar (black star). Source: PNAS

Questions

  1. How could change in climate lead to the emergence of a new leader?
  2. Why would climate altering from dry to damp help foster conditions where a civilization is able to thrive?
  3. Do we see a similar trend of unfavorable climate conditions, followed by favorable climate conditions leading to the emergence of powerful leaders elsewhere in history?

Topic: Bubonic Plague
Aim: Was the Bubonic Plague pandemic driven by climate change?
The Bubonic Plague (1346-1353) was a result of weather effects due to climate change during the Little Ice Age (1303-1860)

Document 1: The Spread of the Black Plague
“From 1347 to 1353, a second plague pandemic called the Black Death swept across Europe, killing some 25 million people there and another 25 million in Asia and Africa. But plague is not naturally found in Europe. The disease is endemic to Asia, where the bacterium is found among small animals (rodents) and their fleas. It’s possible the disease was reintroduced to Europe multiple times following Asian climate events. The world was suffering through a second plague pandemic as
effects of quick succession of floods and droughts. The rodents likely played a role in moving the disease between harbors. Instances of quarantining ships—a practice developed in the late 14th century in response to the Black Death—could have saved
at least a few port towns during the centuries of the second pandemic.” Source: Plague Pandemic May Have Been Driven by Climate, Not Rats

Document 2: The climate causes of the Black Plague
“Rapid shifts between warm and cool throw ecosystems out of balance, unleashing pests and microbes, and ruining crops. During the Little Ice Age global temperatures dropped between 0.5 and 1 degree centigrade. Flooding in China’s river valleys “one of the greatest weather-related disasters ever known,” since the floods led to the deaths of roughly 7 million people…made Asia a petri dish for the next iteration of the plague in 1332. The years following saw severe drought, setting up the climate seesaw that would cause the rapid increase and collapse of various rodent populations, both of which could have brought the plague into contact with humans.
Weather played a role in releasing the Black Death from China and Mongolia, where it had been bottled up in rodent populations. Before it made its way down the Silk Road to Crimea, the plague killed an estimated 35 million people in China.
Then, in about 1346, it began to move west. The plague and other epidemics made several return visits over the next few centuries. All these traumas were direct and indirect effects of the Little Ice Age.” Source: Linden, The Winds of Change

Questions

  1. Would the world be different today if the Medieval Warm Period had continued and
    Greenland settlers had endured? Explain your answer.
  2. Why did the Inuit civilization survive the Little Ice Age while it caused the collapse of the Norse civilization?

Topic: Medieval Europe
AIM: How did building Cathedrals during the Middle Ages impact the environment?
Deforestation places strains on the environment with major consequences.


Document 1: The Notre Dame Cathedral: The Notre Dame Cathedral was built in Paris, France in 1163. On April 15, 2019 a structure fire broke out under the roof in the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Document 2: “The trees that made up the roof’s wooden structure were cut down around 1160, and some sources estimate that the beams accounted for 13,000 trees, or about 21 hectares of medieval forest, many of which had been growing since the
800s or 900s. “You have a stage in France where deforestation was a problem; these buildings consumed huge amounts of wood.” That’s according to Columbia University art historian Stephen Murray, who spoke with Ars Technica. All that
wood, he said, supported an outer roof of lead— until the wood burned and the roof collapsed.” Source: Notre Dame Cathedral will never be the same, but it can be rebuilt

Document 3: “The wooden roof, which burned in the fire, was built with beams over 850 years old, comes from secular forests. Most of the large 12thcentury trees were cut for construction, making them a deciding factor in the current state of the trees on French territory. Another major problem is the large-scale deforestation that was taking place at that time. Many trees have grown since the 7th century, which means that much of the wood destroyed in Dombrand was destroyed 1,300 years ago. For the construction of churches castles and ships needed large quantities of wood, leaving a large part of the wood in French forests as felled.”Source: SUMBER projections for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral. What the
architects say about the lack of a crucial element

Questions

  1. Is it possible to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral roof today replicating its original structure using the same original materials? Explain your answer.
  2. What environmental impact did the construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral have on the environment at the time of its original construction? How did it impact the environment?

Topic: Industrial Revolution
AIM: How did the advancements made during the Industrial Revolution impact the environment?
The Industrial Revolution started mid-18th century in England. and has had a lasting impact on climate. These documents focus on how new industries produced new problems with pollution, problems that continue today.

Document 1:

Document 2: Political Cartoons

Document 3:
“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river… fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollution of a great (and dirty) city.” – Charles Dickens, BLEAK HOUSE. The towns surrounding Manchester . . . re badly and irregularly built with foul courts, lanes, and back alleys, reeking of coal smoke, and especially dingy from the originally bright red brick, turned black with time. These east and north-east sides of Manchester are the only ones on which the bourgeoisie has not built, because ten or eleven months of the year the west and south-west wind
drives the smoke of all the factories hither, and that the working-people alone may breathe . . . Along both sides of the stream, which is coal-black, stagnant and foul, stretches a broad belt of factories and working-men’s dwellings . . . The cottages are
old, dirty, and of the smallest sort, the streets uneven, fallen into ruts and in part without drains or pavement; masses of refuse, offal and sickening filth lie among standing pools in all directions; the atmosphere is poisoned by the effluvia from these, and laden and darkened by the smoke of a dozen tall factory chimneys. – Condition of the Working Class in England, by Engels, 1845.

Document 4: “And what cities! … smoke hung over them and filth impregnated them, the elementary public services – water supply, sanitation, street-cleaning, open spaces, and so on – could not keep pace with the mass migration of men into the cities, thus producing, especially after 1830, epidemics of cholera, typhoid and an appalling constant toll of the two great groups of nineteenth century urban killers – air pollution and water pollution or respiratory and intestinal disease.” –
Hobsbawm, 1969, p. 86.

Document 5: Audio clip explaining how carbobased pollution causes glacial melting.
https://listenwise.com/teach/lessons/277-pollutionfrom-industrial-revolution-thought-to-melt-glaciers

Questions

  1. What environmental effect did the Industrial Revolution have on England’s environment? Note one environmental effect from political cartoons
    and one from the excerpts.
  2. What aspect of the Industrial Revolution caused these environmental effects? Explain your answer.
  3. Explain the historical circumstances that caused the environmental effects?
  4. Identify and explain a cause and effect relationship associated with the ideas or events in documents 1 and 2. Be sure to use evidence from both documents 1 and 2 in your response.

Topic: Climate Change and Disease
Aim: How did the eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia lead to a global pandemic?
Natural catastrophic events like a volcanic eruption can had long term widespread consequences.

Tambora is located in Indonesia. It erupted on April 9, 1815 causing lasting global effects; including a year without a summer in 1816.

Environmental Effects
“A powerful volcanic eruption in 1815 set off a chain of events, from extreme weather and crop failures to a global cholera pandemic. Mount Tambora erupted on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa. It belched millions of tonnes of rock, ash
and gas in April 1815, set off a tsunami, and killed about 100,000 people in the immediate aftermath. Then, as sulphur dioxide rose with the ash into the
stratosphere and circled the globe, the world was plunged into a volcanic winter that lasted three years. Crops failed in China, Europe and, eventually, America. In New York, it snowed in June. In the Alps, glaciers fingered out at unprecedented speed. Weird as it may seem, the Tambora explosion, unnoticed outside Java, not only unleashed devastating weather, destroying crops and communities around the globe. It also transformed cholera from a local nuisance in Bengal into one of the world’s most virulent and feared diseases.” Source: Relevant lessons from climate
change and a global pandemic in the 19th century

“The onset of volcanic winters jeopardized global food security and had climate effects that lasted years. It created a global pandemic that lasted years
and hurt the global economy.”

Rise of a New Disease
“In 1817, a global cholera pandemic suddenly erupted, a “phantom agent of death that was brutal, unknowable, and potentially limitless in its reach.” From India, a newly virulent strain of cholera spread to Myanmar and Thailand in 1819 and 1820
and Iran in 1822 before reaching France in 1830 and eventually the United States in 1832.”
Source: Relevant lessons from climate change and a global pandemic in the 19th century

“From India, a newly virulent strain of cholera spread to Myanmar and Thailand in 1819 and 1820 and Iran in 1822 before reaching France in 1830
and eventually the United States in 1832.”
Source: Relevant lessons from climate change and a global pandemic in the 19th century


“Drought brought on by the eruption devastated crop yields across the Indian subcontinent, but more disastrously gave rise to a new and deadly strain of
cholera. Cholera had always been endemic to Bengal, but the bizarre weather of 1816–17 triggered by Tambora’s eruption—first drought, then late, unseasonal flooding—altered the microbial ecology of the Bay of Bengal. The cholera bacterium, which has an unusually adaptive genetic structure highly sensitive to changes in its
aquatic environment, mutated into a new strain. This was met with no resistance among the local population, and it spread across Asia and eventually the globe. By the century’s end, the death toll from Bengal cholera stood in the tens of millions.”
Source: Tambora eruption caused the year without a summer: Cholera, opium, famine, and Arctic exploration.

Questions

  1. What climate reactions occurred as a result of the eruption of Mount Tambora?
  2. How did the eruption of Mount Tambora cause the cholera pandemic?
  3. How did the eruption of Mount Tambora affect the world economy

Topic: Water Resources
Aim: What will the United States do when the water in the Great Plains is gone?
Changing climate is affecting a vast area of the United States. The droughts and shorter growing season taking place in the Great Plains will have dire effects on the population. The main source of water in this area, the Ogallala Aquifer, is being
drained and dried. The unstable climate will affect water resources and agriculture in the United States.

“The Plains are made up of a broad range of ecosystems, including forests, rangelands, marshes, and desert. Climate change related impacts, including heat waves and extreme weather events, have disproportionate effects on vulnerable groups, including young, elderly, ill, and low income populations. In the Great Plains, remotely located populations, face greater challenges in responding to climate change because of a lack of development, public health resources, and access to other public services and communication systems. Language barriers for indigenous groups can also impact the ability to respond to climate extremes.”
Source: Climate Impacts in the Great Plains | US

“This is the breadbasket of America—the region that supplies at least one fifth of the total annual U.S. agricultural harvest. If the aquifer goes dry, more than $20 billion worth of food and fiber will vanish from the world’s markets. And scientists say
it will take natural processes 6,000 years to refill the reservoir.” Source: The Ogallala Aquifer: Saving a Vital U.S. Water Source

Impacts on Water Resources
“As patterns of temperature and precipitation change, the Great Plains region is expected to face increased competition for water supplies for use by homes, business, agriculture, and energy production. Water in this region comes largely from the High Plains Aquifer system, made up largely of the Ogallala aquifer. The High Plains Aquifer system is one of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world and underlies approximately 111 million acres in parts of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Nearly 30% of all irrigated lands in the United States reside above this aquifer, making it
one of the primary agricultural regions in the nation.
The High Plains Aquifer also provides drinking water for more than 80% of the residents living over the aquifer and is key to the region’s energy production. Long-term declines in the water level within the High Plains Aquifer have resulted from
greater water discharge than recharge. Discharge (or withdrawal) occurs largely by irrigation, which has resulted in an average water level decline of 14.2 feet since irrigation began around 1950. This translates to an 80 trillion gallon reduction in water storage within the aquifer. Recharge (or replenishing) comes primarily from precipitation. In the northern portion of the Great Plains, rain can recharge the aquifer quickly. However, with climate change, precipitation in the winter and spring is projected to increasingly fall in the form of very heavy precipitation events, which can increase flooding and runoff that reduce water quality and cause soil erosion. In the southern portion of the region, little recharge occurs, so declines in the aquifer’s water level are much greater (see figure of High Plains Aquifer). Climate change will worsen this situation by causing drier conditions and
increasing the need for irrigation.”

Topic: Natural Disasters
Aim: Can climate change trigger volcanic eruptions?
Researchers believe record rainfall attributed to climate change triggered the 2018 Kīlauea volcano eruptions in Hawaii.

Do Now: Read about the relationship between climate change and rainfall and answer question:
How does “human-caused climate change” lead to more intense rainfall?
“Human-caused climate change intensifies the heaviest downpours. More than 70% of the planet’s surface is water, and as the world warms, more water evaporates from oceans, lakes, and soils. Every 1°F rise also allows the atmosphere to hold 4% more water vapor. So when weather patterns lead to heavy rain, there is even more
moisture available for stronger downpours, increasing the risk and severity of flooding.
“– Climate Central,
https://www.climatecentral.org/news/report-pouring-it-on-climate-change-intensifies-heavy-rain-events

Map of Hawaiian Islands
Location of Kīlauea volcano

Instructions: Examine Document A, the abstract from a scientific report in the journal Nature, and Document B, an excerpt from a report on the study
published in the British newspaper The Guardian. An important role of the press is to translate technical language into conventional speech. After reading the two documents answer the guiding questions and discuss with our team whether The
Guardian
report adequately explained the scientific study.

Questions

  1. Where is the Kīlauea volcano and when did it erupt?
  2. According to the scientific report, what triggered the eruption?
  3. The scientific report cites “anthropogenic climate change” as a cause of the eruption. Based on context clues, what is “anthropogenic climate change”?
  4. What other evidence is there of volcanic eruptions triggered by intense rainfall?
  5. The headline in The Guardian article is “Record rain triggered 2018 Kīlauea volcano eruptions, says study.” In your opinion, are the headline and article an accurate summary of the scientific report?

Document A: Extreme rainfall triggered the 2018 rift eruption at Kīlauea Volcano
Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586- 020-2172-5
The May 2018 rift intrusion and eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i, represented one of its most extraordinary eruptive sequences in at least 200 years, yet the trigger mechanism remains elusive. The event was preceded by several months of
anomalously high precipitation. It has been proposed that rainfall can modulate shallow volcanic activity, but it remains unknown whether it can have impacts at the greater depths associated with magma transport. Here we show that immediately before and during the eruption, infiltration of rainfall into Kīlauea Volcano’s subsurface increased pore pressure at depths of 1 to 3 kilometres by 0.1 to 1 kilopascals, to its highest pressure in almost 50 years. We propose that weakening and mechanical failure of the edifice was driven by changes in pore pressure within the rift zone, prompting opportunistic dyke intrusion and ultimately facilitating the eruption. A precipitation-induced eruption trigger is consistent with the lack of precursory summit inflation, showing that this intrusion—unlike others—was not
caused by the forceful intrusion of new magma into the rift zone. Moreover, statistical analysis of historic eruption occurrence suggests that rainfall patterns contribute substantially to the timing and frequency of Kīlauea’s eruptions and intrusions.
Thus, volcanic activity can be modulated by extreme rainfall triggering edifice rock failure — a factor that should be considered when assessing volcanic hazards. Notably, the increasingly extreme weather patterns associated with ongoing anthropogenic climate change could increase the potential for rainfall-triggered volcanic phenomena worldwide.

Document B: Record rain triggered 2018 Kīlauea volcano eruptions, says study
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/22/record-rain-triggered-2018-kilauea-volcanoeruptions-hawaii-study
The spectacular eruptions of the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii in 2018 were triggered by extreme rainfall in the preceding months, research suggests. Scientists say the finding raises the possibility that climate breakdown, which is causing more extreme
weather, could lead to an increase in eruptions around the world. The 2018 Kīlauea eruptions were one of the most extraordinary sequences in at least 200 years, according to the scientists, with rifts opening, summit explosions and collapses, and a magnitude 6.9 earthquake. But the trigger was not known. However, several months of unusually high rainfall preceded the eruption, with one 24-hour
period setting a record for the entire US. This flood of water would have percolated down into fissures and pores in the rocks of the volcano, as far as 1.8 miles (2.9km) below the surface. The scientists calculated this pushed up the pore pressure inside
the rocks to the highest level in almost 50 years, weakening them and allowing magma to push up from below. The scientists also looked at eruptions of Kīlauea since 1790 and found that these historical events were twice as likely to happen in
the rainy season. Such a link has long been thought possible – JD Dana, one of the first geologists to visit Hawaii in the late 1800s, suggested the idea.
They also ruled out magma pressure from below triggering the eruption, because the surface had barely deformed, and the gravitational pull of the sun and moon, which can trigger eruptions. “All the circumstantial evidence points in the same direction,” said Jamie Farquharson, at the University of Miami, whose research is published in
the journal Nature. Rain has been linked to shallow eruptions in the past, such as at Mount St Helens in 1980, but this is the first time an impact at depth has been found.

Topic: Impact of Current Climate Change
Aim: How does climate change threaten the future of Kenya?
Climate change severely impacts Kenya. Kenya is dealing with erratic rainfall, extreme drought, and an increase in temperatures. Kenya is in extreme need of global action to help combat the challenges climate change brings to their everyday life.

Document 1: Projections of Kenya’s Future
Source: United States Agency of International Development

Document 2: Kenya Annual Average Precipitation Low
Source: United States Agency of International Development
(https://www.climatelinks.org/sites/default/files/asset/document/2018_USAID-ATLAS-Project_Climate-RiskProfile-Kenya.pdf)

Document 3: Historic Climate vs. Future Climate Projections (U.S. Agency of International Development)

Document 4: Effect of all Aspects of Life (U.S. Agency of International Development

Document 5: Primary Source Information: The Children of Kenya (Source: UNICEF)
“Our home was destroyed by the floods and we have nothing left. My parents cannot even afford to pay my older siblings’ school fees since we have no cows left to sell.”-Nixon Bwire, age 13, Tana River.

“Climate change is affecting us and, in the future if we are not involved, we will live in a desert. The rivers have dried up and sand mining has increased, this has caused many children to drop out of school to work loading vehicles for mines”-Samuel, age 14, Machakos

Idhila Mohammed carries her child on her back as she searches for food and water for her surviving cattle. “We had 180 cattle last year, but since the drought only 40 are left,” she said.
“In the few years that I’ve been here, the climate has really changed. Temperatures have gone up. The rainfall has dropped. As time goes by, things are getting worse and worse … It rains once in three months, that’s not normal. This has led to shortage of food and water, which has led to the death of animals. People lose their livestock and other people die due to starvation and hunger.” Lourine Oyodah, age 15, Lodwar

Document 6: Projection for Mombasa, an area in Kenya hit hard by climate change
Source: UNICEF https://www.unccd.int/sites/default/files/relevant-links/2017-
06/climatechangekenya2010web.pdf

Document 7: Documented Changes from 1967- 2012 (Source: Human Rights Watch)
Between 1967 and 2012, maximum and minimum average temperatures in Turkana County, in Kenya’s northwest corner near the border with Ethiopia, rose between 2 and 3°C (3.6 to 5.4°F), according to data from the meteorological station in Turkana’s capital. Rainfall patterns seem to have changed, with the long rainy season becoming
shorter and drier and the short rainy season becoming longer and wetter. Insecurity and conflict in the region are expected to get worse as grazing lands decrease.

At the same time, hydroelectric projects and irrigated sugar plantations in Ethiopia’s lower Omo River Valley threaten to vastly reduce the water levels in Lake Turkana, the world largest desert lake, and the source of livelihood for 300,000 Turkana residents. Some experts forecast that the lake may recede into two small pools, devastating fish stocks.

Document 8: Conditions in Kenya (Source: Kenya Climate Innovation)
For instance, the flooding in Naivasha, Kenya after the Karati River burst its banks caused 172 fatalities, displaced 283,290 people and left 84 people with severe injuries. Government data also shows that in the Tana River alone, 150,000 people
have been displaced and 16 killed due to flooding.
Furthermore, flooding is related to food scarcity fueled by decreased yields. The drought has also lead to decreased power and water supply to cities
in Kenya, including Nairobi.
One of the areas that has negatively been impacted by climate change is agriculture, which supports 75% of Kenya’s population and contributes to 21% of the country’s GDP. Given its high reliance on rainfall, it is adversely impacted by drought. For
instance, prolonged drought in 2016/2017 yielded low agricultural productivity that resulted in food prices increasing by a third.

Questions

  1. What major changes in climate has Kenya had to deal with?
  2. How has climate change affected Kenya?
  3. Have climate conditions improved and are conditions projected to improve? What do the climate projections suggest?
  4. Do the United States and other economically advanced nations have a responsibility to provide aid to Kenya? Explain.

Topic: Climate Change Impact on Sub-Sahara Desert
Aim: How is climate change affecting regions bordering the Sahara Desert?
Climate change in sub-Sahara arid regions has led to an increase in temperature, changes in rainfall levels, an increase in sea level, desertification, deforestation and the emergence of new diseases that will seriously impact human life, both in the
area and globally.

Document 1: Climate Changes and Impacts
Source: Climate change impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa: from physical changes to their social repercussions.

Document 2: Rising Sea Levels
Source: Climate change impacts in Sub-Saharan
Africa: from physical changes to their social repercussions

Document 3: Is Africa sleepwalking into a potential catastrophe?
Source: BBC. The African continent will be hardest hit by climate change. There are four key reasons for this:
 First, African society is very closely coupled with the climate system; hundreds of millions of people depend on rainfall to grow their food
 Second, the African climate system is controlled by an extremely complex mix of large-scale weather systems, many from distant parts of the planet and, in comparison with almost all other inhabited regions, is vastly understudied. It is
therefore capable of all sorts of surprises
 Third, the degree of expected climate change is large. The two most extensive land-based end of-century projected decreases in rainfall anywhere on the planet occur over Africa; one over North Africa and the other over southern Africa
 Finally, the capacity for adaptation to climate change is low; poverty equates to reduced choice at the individual level while governance generally fails to prioritize and act on climate change

Document 4: Deforestation in Sub-Saharan Africa: At the end of 1990, Africa had an estimated 528 million hectares, or 30 percent of the world’s tropical forests. In several Sub-Saharan African countries, the rate of deforestation exceeded the
global annual average of 0.8 percent. While deforestation in other parts of the world is mainly caused by commercial logging or cattle ranching the leading causes in Africa are associated with human activity. Developing countries rely heavily on wood fuel, the major energy source for cooking and heating. In Africa, the statistics are striking: an estimated 90 percent of the entire continent’s population uses fuelwood for cooking, and in SubSaharan Africa, firewood and brush supply
approximately 52 percent of all energy sources. Source: African Technology Forum

Document 5: Deforestation: It is difficult to imagine that such vast ancient woodlands are at risk of extinction. But they are disappearing at an alarming rate. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), indigenous (also
known as “old-growth”) forests in Africa are being cut down at a rate of more than 4 mn hectares per year — twice the world’s deforestation average.
According to the FAO, losses totalled more than 10 percent of the continent’s total forest cover between 1980 and 1995 alone. Source: “Saving Africa’s
Forests, ‘The Lungs of The World’
by Michael Fleshman.

Document 6: Desertification: Desertification is defined as the persistent degradation of dryland ecosystems by climatic variations and human activities. Simply put, desertification is the process by which fertile lands become deserts, typically because of drought, deforestation or inappropriate agriculture. Desertification affects up to 30 percent of land worldwide, and 1.5 billion people around the world depend on land at risk from desertification for their main source of food or income. Seventy-four percent of these people already live in poverty.

In sub-Saharan Africa, desertification may force up to 50 million people to flee their homes by 2020. Since 1923, the Sahara Desert has expanded by 10 percent, especially affecting people living in the Sahel region. Dryland covers 65 percent of the African continent, and 70 to 80 percent of people in Ethiopia and Kenya are threatened by
desertification. Source: The Borgen Project

Document 7: Desertification: Desertification is most severe in Africa. Arid lands account for two-thirds of the African continent, and three-quarters of the continent’s drylands that are used for agriculture have already begun to lose productivity. A total of 45 percent of Africa’s population lives in drylands that are susceptible to desertification, according to the United Nations Development Program’s Drylands Population Assessment II. In Kenya, a three-year drought has withered crops and killed livestock, leaving thousands of people without adequate food supplies. Two-thirds of the country’s land has been severely affected by the drought, and over 40 percent of Kenya’s cattle and up to 20 percent of its sheep and goats have perished,
according to the Arid Lands Resource Management Project, a government initiative. In neighboring Tanzania, widespread tree felling threatens to transform much of the country’s forest into desert. In early January, Vice President Omar Ali Juma called attention to the worsening problem, noting that the country is losing between 320,000 and 1.2 million acres of forest land each year to the expansion of agricultural lands and to increased demand for fuelwood. Livestock herders also contribute to the deterioration of Tanzania’s forests by moving their herds from arid areas in the north to the vegetation- and water-rich forests of the south.

Questions

  1. What climate problems are affecting Africa?
  2. Why are deforestation and desertification threatening the survival of sub-Saharan Africa?
  3. How can deforestation and desertification in Africa be prevented

Topic: Pandemics
Aim: How does the world’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic illustrate about the possibilities for responding to climate change? The response to the Corona Virus pandemic led to an unintended decrease in human causes of climate change.

“Levels of air pollutants and warming gases over some cities and regions are showing significant drops as coronavirus impacts work and travel.

With global economic activity ramping down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is hardly surprising that emissions of a variety of gases related to energy and transport would be reduced.”
Source: Coronavirus: Air pollution and CO2 fall rapidly as virus spreads

“Traffic levels in the [New York] city were estimated to be down 35% compared with a year ago. Emissions of carbon monoxide, mainly due to cars and trucks, have fallen by around 50% for a couple of days this week according to researchers at Columbia University. They have also found that there was a 5-10% drop in CO2 over New York and a solid drop in methane as well.”

In Los Angeles, New York, Manila and Milan, the skies clear as air pollution drops. In Venice, the canal water is clear enough to see fish, and dolphins are returning. What would the world be like if we decided to pursue this trend?

Less asthma and cancer, fewer lung and heart diseases, fewer deaths. More beauty in our lives. A slowing of global emissions.” Source: Opinion |Does Coronavirus Bring a New Perspective on Climate Change?

“People in the northern Indian state of Punjab are reacting with awe at the sight of the Himalayan mountain range, which is now visible from more than 100 miles away due to the reduction in air pollution caused by the country’s coronavirus
lockdown.” Source: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/himalayasvisible-lockdown-india-scli-intl/index.html
Video: Coronavirus lockdown: What Impact on the Planet?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVYdWhzAbD0

Questions

  1. What response to climate change did the coronavirus cause globally?
  2. How did this pandemic lessen the effects of climate change?
  3. As countries plan to restart their economies, what are some changes they should consider in light of unintended consequences of quarantine?

East Africa Confronts New Climate Change Plague
Aim: How has climate change caused the worst Desert Locust in over seventy years in the Horn of Africa?
Rising numbers of Desert Locusts in East Africa are a threat to food security and livelihood. Kenya is experiencing the worst Desert Locust infestation in over seventy years.

Document 1: Desert Locusts. “The eighth plague that the Judaic God launched against the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Old Testament story of Exodus was swarms of locust. The locust covered the sun and devoured everything green in
the fields. This immense locust swarm is a direct result of global warming and climate change. Warming of the Indian Ocean produced record heavy rainfall in the region from October through December, accelerating the breeding and growth of
the desert locust.
Source: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/3/5/1924511/-World-Confronts-New-Climate-Change-Plagues

Document 2: Effects of Desert Locusts. “Kenya is battling its worst desert locust outbreak in 70 years, and the infestation has spread through much of the eastern part of the continent and the Horn of Africa, razing pasture and croplands in Somalia and Ethiopia and sweeping into South Sudan, Djibouti, Uganda and Tanzania. The highly mobile creatures can travel over 80 miles a day. Their swarms, which can contain as many as 80 million locust adults in each square kilometer, eat the same amount of food daily as about 35,000 people.”
Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/21/world/africa/locusts-kenya-eastafrica.html?searchResultPosition=1

Document 3: “Rising numbers of Desert Locusts present an extremely alarming and unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa. It is the worst outbreak of Desert Locusts seen in the region for decades. Tens of thousands of
hectares of croplands and pasture have been damaged in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia with potentially severe consequences in a region where 11.9 million people are already food insecure. The potential for destruction is enormous.” Rising
temperatures also mean locusts can mature more quickly and spread to higher elevation environments. Given that many locusts are adapted to arid regions, if climate change expands the geographic extent of these lands, locusts could
expand their range as well. “Therefore, in general, locust outbreaks are expected to become more frequent and severe under climate change,” said Arianne Cease, director of the Global Locust Initiative at Arizona State University. Source:
http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1258877/icode/

Questions:

  1. How has climate changed caused faster breeding and growth of Desert Locust?
  2. How have increased swarms of Desert Locust devastated life in Kenya?

Topic: Climate Change
Aim: Can the world reverse global warming?
“Socratic Seminar CRQ “Task: Have students seating arranged to participate in a Socratic Seminar Using specific details from each document, students should discuss:

  1. What is the goal of each author?
  2. How do youth become important in affecting change?
  3. If you had Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., and Greta Thunberg over for a dinner party- what would they say to each other? What would they say to you? (Think about each person’s goals, methods, areas of agreement, areas of disagreement, etc.)

Informed Action/Extension activities: Donald Trump (Republican) and Joseph Biden (Democrat) will need to present a plan to address climate change as they try to appeal to American voters. Research each candidate’s
policy proposals/actions on climate change and prepare a graphic organizer to illustrate these with you class. What policy proposals and decisions do you agree with? Disagree with?

“My message is that we’ll be watching you.”
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side
of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m
one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are
collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is
money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
“For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and
solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

Who is Greta addressing in this speech?
Who are “us” that Greta is referring to?

You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the
situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to
believe.
“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50%
chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible
chain reactions beyond human control.
“Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping
points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the
aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking
hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely
exist.
“So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the
consequences.
“To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the
best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had
420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already
down to less than 350 gigatons.
“How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some
technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be
entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.
“There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here
today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature
enough to tell it like it is.
“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.
“We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the
line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

Why does Greta think current climate change initiatives will fail?
“And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is” What is ironic about
this statement?
What “change” is Greta alluding to?

Document I: Climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, addressed the U.N.’s Climate Action Summit in New York City on September 23, 2019. Here’s the full transcript of Thunberg’s speech, beginning with her response to a question about the message she has for world leaders.

Questions
1) In your opinion, was Greta Thunberg’s speech effective in moving young people to take action against climate change?
2) What part(s) of Greta’s speech had the strongest impact? Why?
3) Greta Thunberg was 16 years old when she delivered this speech to the United Nations. Does this fact make her speech more or less powerful?
Explain.

Document 2: Statement by Martin Luther King Jr. at the Youth Leadership Conference, April 15, 1960
Background: Over two hundred student and adult activists gathered at Shaw University for an Easter weekend youth conference to discuss the growing
sit-in movement. King issued this statement at a press conference on the opening day of the meeting. The following day, King addressed a mass meeting at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. During the three-day conference, youth leaders voted to create the Temporary Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

This is an era of offensive on the part of oppressed people. All peoples deprived of dignity and freedom are on the march on every continent throughout the world. The student sit-in movement represents just such an offensive in the history of the Negro
peoples’ struggle for freedom. The students have taken the struggle for justice into their own strong hands. In less than two months more Negro freedom fighters have revealed to the nation and the world their determination and courage than has occurred in many years. They have embraced a philosophy of mass direct nonviolent action. They are moving away from tactics which are suitable merely for gradual and long-term change.

Today the leaders of the sit-in movement are assembled here from ten states and some forty communities to evaluate these recent sit-ins and to chart future goals. They realize that they must now evolve a strategy for victory. Some elements which
suggest themselves for discussion are:

1) The need for some type of continuing organization. Those who oppose justice are
well organized. To win out the student movement must be organized.
2) The students must consider calling for a nation-wide campaign of “selective buying.” Such a program is a moral act. It is a moral necessity to select, to buy from these agencies, these stores, and businesses where one can buy with dignity and self-respect. It is immoral to spend one’s money where one cannot be treated with respect.
3) The students must seriously consider training a group of volunteers who will
willingly go to jail rather than pay bail or fines. This courageous willingness to go to
jail may well be the thing to awaken the dozing conscience of many of our white
brothers. We are in an era in which a prison term for a freedom struggle is a badge of honor.
4) The youth must take the freedom struggle into every community in the South without exception. The struggle must be spread into every nook and cranny. Inevitably this broadening of the struggle and the determination which it represents will arouse vocal and vigorous support and place pressures on the federal government that will compel its intervention.
5) The students will certainly want to delve deeper into the philosophy of nonviolence. It must be made palpably clear that resistance and nonviolence are not in themselves good. There is another element that must be present in our struggle that then makes our resistance and nonviolence truly meaningful. That element is reconciliation. Our ultimate end must be the creation of the beloved community. The tactics of nonviolence without the spirit of nonviolence may indeed become a new kind of violence.

Questions

  1. What was the purpose of “sit-ins” of the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement? Why was it important for students to become involved?
  2. What is a climate strike?
  3. What are similarities and differences between the climate strikes of today and the sit-ins of the 1960’s?

Document 3: American Antiquities Act of 1906, 16 USC 431-433
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of
antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon
conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits
of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe.
Sec. 4. That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act. Approved, June 8, 1906.
President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law on June 8, 1906.

Read the following quotes from President Theodore Roosevelt. Choose one of these quotes. For this quote:

  1. Define the historical context behind President Roosevelt’s words.
  2. Explain and give examples of how the Antiquities Act (1906) could be used to improve the situation(s) Roosevelt brings attention to.

Quote #1: “We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the
time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still
further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding
the fields and obstructing navigation.”

Quote #2: “But we are, as a whole, still in that low state of civilization where we do
not understand that it is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the
destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals— not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening.”

Socratic Seminar CRQ “Task: Have students seating arranged to participate in a Socratic Seminar. Using specific details from each document, students should discuss:
1) What is the goal of each author?
2) How do youth become important in affecting change?
If you had Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., and Greta Thunberg over for a dinner party what would they say to each other? What would they say to you? (Think about each person’s goals, methods, areas of agreement, areas of disagreement, etc.)

Informed Action/Extension activities:
1) Donald Trump (Republican) and Joseph Biden (Democrat) will need to present a plan to address climate change as they try to appeal to American voters. Research each candidate’s policy proposals/actions on climate change and prepare a graphic organizer to illustrate these with your class.
What policy proposals and decisions do you agree with? Disagree with?

2) A great project is launching a Climate Emergency Campaign in your community. The Climate Emergency Campaign asks local governments to declare a climate emergency. Students can lobby school boards to mandate teaching how climate change threatens local communities and human civilization. In 2017, Hoboken, New Jersey was the first city in the United States and the third city in the world to
declare a Climate Emergency. Hoboken is located on the Hudson River flood plain and suffered serious damage during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The Climate Mobilization website has a sample Climate Emergency resolution.



Revealing Hidden Figures in Social Studies: Using Trade Books to Teach Women’s Contributions throughout History

Nefertari Yancie and Rebecca Macon Bidwell

University of Alabama at Birmingham fff

As society has changed, women’s roles have also changed. Women and their impact on history have been largely ignored in traditional textbooks (Clabough, Turner, & Carano, 2017). According to the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), including women in the dialogue about history is important for helping students develop their own identities (NCSS, 2010). Set in the segregated South, the movie Hidden Figures (Melfi & Gigliotti, 2016) told the story of four female mathematicians battling both racism and sexism at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the 1960s. Stories such as the one told in Hidden Figures integrate women into the curriculum. Social studies trade books are one teaching tool that can be used to spotlight women’s roles in history.

            This article describes how to use trade books to integrate women into the middle school social studies curriculum. The activities described take students through a series of steps to read and analyze trade books depicting women throughout history. The three women discussed in the activities are Catherine the Great, Hatshepsut, and Joan of Arc. Following a brief literature review about the benefits of using trade books in the middle school social studies classroom, the authors provide three different activities used to integrate women into classroom instruction. The steps and resources to implement the three activities are given.  Additionally, an appendix is provided that contains a list of other trade books about women and their impact on history.

Benefits of Using Trade Books in the Social Studies Classroom

            Teachers should utilize a variety of resources to actively engage students in the middle school classroom (AMLE, 2010). Trade books are one resource social studies teachers can use to examine historical figures and events in more depth (Schell & Fisher, 2006). Most social studies textbooks dedicate only a column or a page to a historical figure. In contrast, the text and illustrations in trade books enable students to explore the values, biases, and idiosyncrasies of people from the past (Edgington, 1998). This makes it easier for students to make an emotional connection with historical figures (McGrain, 2002).

Trade books allow students to examine the content material in meaningful ways. The pictures, text, and other primary sources in a trade book work together to focus on a historical figure, event, or topic (Lynch-Brown, Short, & Tomlinson, 2014). This enables students to infer, problem solve, and make predictions. Biographical trade books present students with situations and/or obstacles that historical figures faced. Students think critically when they can place themselves in the shoes of the person and ask, “How would I have handled this?” This question and similar ones should be answered based on evidence from the text and the pictures, as well as further research on the part of the students. These processes reflect the current emphasis on literacy-based practices and inquiry-based teaching advocated for in the C3 Framework (NCSS, 2013). 

The simpler word and sentence structure in trade books make them useful when teaching social studies content. Struggling readers and ESL students find it easier to read and understand the content (Clabough, Turner, & Wooten, 2015). The easier readability level aids in comprehension, which allows struggling readers to grasp the essential content. The illustrations in trade books also facilitate the students’ ability to generate meaning of the text (Clabough et al., 2015). The different components in trade books allow students at all academic levels to be successful when learning social studies content. In the next sections, three activities are provided that allow students to connect in meaningful ways to female historical figures. The activities highlight the unique challenges women faced as their positions in society changed.

Finding Clues about Catherine the Great

An important benefit of working with trade books is that students are able to see multiple layers of historical figures. Social studies teachers often teach abstract traits such as progressiveness, fairness, and ruthlessness. There are people in history who encompass all of these characteristics, and trade books can help students to examine the social, political, and cultural context under which these people were shaped. As a result, they can also come to understand that all people are riddled with contradictions (Fresch & Harkins, 2009).

A trade book that shows complexity and depth in a historical figure is Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia (Vincent, 2009). Much focus is paid on Catherine’s reign, as she seized power from her husband and ruled Russia as a progressive queen for over 30 years. The following activity provides students with an opportunity to foster their analytical skills by examining the reign of Catherine the Great. The teacher begins the activity by reading the trade book aloud to the class. Students focus on the part of the book where Catherine shows herself to be a strong, arguably ruthless, leader who also embraced reforms, such as creating schools for young girls and encouraging the use of modern sciences and medicines.

After the reading of the text, the students are divided into pairs. Each pair is given two pictures of Catherine the Great and a graphic organizer. There is a prompt on the graphic organizer that reads as follows: “Catherine the Great was a queen who was controversial. What kind of ruler was she? Use clues from the pictures to answer the question.” The graphic organizer consists of two boxes that are side by side. Each box contains a different picture of Catherine the great and space for students to write down at least four “clues” about the pictures. The teacher informs the students that they only use the images for the clues to help them answer the prompt. For each detail, students should also briefly explain their reasoning by using evidence from the trade book to support their claims. A sample graphic organizer is provided in the next section.

Possible Student Example of Graphic Organizer

The teacher brings the class together to discuss the clues they discovered in each picture and what they believe the details say about Catherine the Great as a ruler. This is an opportunity for students to share and learn from each other. They can explain their thinking processes and also defend their ideas with evidence from the paintings and the trade book. After the discussion, the teacher provides students with the instructions for the writing activity. Students write two paragraphs that consist of five to eight sentences each. Using clues from their graphic organizers as supporting details, they compare and contrast Catherine the Great’s two leadership styles. The writing piece also needs to include how students believe Catherine should be remembered as a ruler. The authors have given an example of the writing activity in the next section.

Possible Student Example of Writing Activity

Catherine the Great had two aspects to her style of leadership. She was an avid learner of the Enlightenment philosophers and wanted to learn about their philosophies to make the lives of her subjects better. Political thinkers were invited to Russia, and Catherine would speak with them about their ideas. This resulted in her creating reforms such as opening schools for girls. However, Catherine the Great also had another side to her leadership style.

Catherine could be very controlling. While Catherine did use the military to expand the borders of Russia, she also used the military to take control of Russia from her husband, Peter. The Church’s land and wealth were taken over, which meant the Church had to answer to her. Catherine was progressive-minded, but she did not do much to help the millions of serfs in Russia. However, there are other reasons history should remember her as a good ruler. She was smart enough to take power from her husband because he was not ruling in the best interest of the people. Politicians and other nobles appreciated that she listened to them, and the common people were grateful for the reforms that were established in Russia. Catherine had absolute control over Russia, but so did other rulers of countries during the same time period. During this time, a person had to be strong to rule, and Catherine showed she had the strength to keep power.

This activity is beneficial to students because it utilizes trade books in a manner that usually cannot be done with textbooks. Textbooks usually provide superficial information about a historical figure, barely scraping the surface of how the time period’s culture, traditions, and politics shaped the person’s decisions and actions. Trade books can bring historical figures to life by allowing students to see the contradictions that exist within people. For instance, Catherine the Great fully embraced the Enlightenment philosophies, while at the same time doing very little to ease the oppression of Russian serfs. Activities with trade books allow students to see figures from the past as three dimensional and requires them to think on a higher level (Brooks & Endacott, 2013; Edgington, 1998). The analysis of the seemingly divergent aspects of Catherine’s personalities may lead students to understand that history is not black and white, but many shades of gray.

Dedicating Hieroglyphics to Hatshepsut

Janice Trecker (1973) offered insight into how little women were featured in U. S. History high school textbooks of the 1960s. As a result, when asked to name women from American history, students could name very few. Today’s history textbooks may include more women, but the information remains limited (Allard, Clark, & Mahoney, 2004). Trade books are resources teachers can use to fill the gap often left by textbooks. The rich content and pictures provide students with material that demonstrates how women have not only contributed to history but accomplished great deeds.     

A trade book that illustrates a woman in a leadership role is Hatshepsut: His Majesty, Herself (Andronik, 2001). Hatshepsut’s life is explored, from her childhood to her rise as a successful female pharaoh. The following activity highlights the section of the book where Hatshepsut has her greatest temple built, the “Holy of Holies.” The teacher reads aloud how the carvings on the walls of the temple depicted Hatshepsut’s life, accomplishments, and how the gods chose her to rule. The will of the gods was often interpreted by priests and inscribed on walls of temples, along with great stories about the prowess and great attributes of the pharaoh. This activity has students create their own inscriptions for the wall of Hatshepsut’s temples. They use hieroglyphics to tell about her life and great deeds. The message in the hieroglyphics are supported by evidence in the trade books. It is recommended that the teacher provides students with a copy of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet and symbols that mean entire words, such as “pharaoh.” Examples of Egyptian hieroglyphics can be accessed at https://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_egypt/hieroglyphics_examples_alphabet.php and http://www.landofpyramids.org/egyptian-hieroglyphics.htm.

Students use the hieroglyphics as a guide. They pretend to be scribes who are instructed to engrave into the walls of the Holy of Holies why Hatshepsut is such a great ruler.  The hieroglyphics are drawn on paper that is provided by the teacher. The drawings must use a combination of the alphabet and symbols to describe Hatshepsut’s accomplishments and her attributes as a leader. The “engravings” must be supported by at least two details from the trade books. See the following as an example.

Possible Examples of a Student Engraving

After completing the hieroglyphics, students write a paragraph that consists of six to ten sentences. The paragraph must explain the meaning of the hieroglyphics, and students must cite at least two details from the text to support their claim. In addition, they are to express whether they believe it was an accomplishment for a woman to attain the position of pharaoh during this time period. Students give at least one reason to support their answer. The authors provide a possible example in the following section.

Possible Example of a Student Paragraph

Hatshepsut was a woman who declared herself pharaoh and reigned over Egypt at a time when women were not supposed to rule by themselves. She even dressed as a man by wearing a short kilt instead of a long dress and tied a gold beard to her chin. The hieroglyphics show this by the man and woman side by side next to the symbol for crown. Many Egyptian pharaohs wanted to be remembered by building great monuments. Hatshepsut built a famous temple that is called the Holy of Holies, which is portrayed by the symbol for a temple. The temple was built under the watchful eye and blessing of the god Horus. The falcon represents him. It was an accomplishment for Hatshepsut to attain the position of pharaoh during this time period. In ancient Egypt, there was not a word in the language for a female ruler so by becoming pharaoh she carved her own place in history by ruling Egypt for 22 years.

Trade books provide an in depth look into the lives of historical figures (Edgington, 1998). Textbooks tend to glance over events that define and shape the lives of a person. This activity allows student to examine such pivotal moments and examine how culture, the time period, and societal norms shape a historical figure’s actions and decisions. It is important for students to be able to view people from the past in historical context (Brooks & Endacott, 2013; Colby, 2010). By knowing the political, social, and cultural customs of the era, students gain insight into why people made certain decisions as well as better understand the ramifications of a woman taking a leadership role of the pharaoh.

Tweeting with Joan of Arc

            Social studies textbooks often give limited versions of stories that deserve to be told in greater detail. Trade books can be used to tell the accounts of people and events in a manner that students find engaging and interesting (McGrain, 2002). This is especially true with biographical trade books about women. The challenges women faced were as unique as the methods chosen to meet them. Students will find themselves invested in the lives of these historical women as they learn about the courage it took to succeed in a male-dominated world.

            Teachers can use the trade book Joan of Arc to help foster students’ empathy as they explore the values, beliefs, and courageous actions of a teenage girl (Demi, 2011). This activity focuses on the section in the trade book when Joan was captured by the Burgundians, put on trial, and executed. The teacher reads aloud to students and shows the illustrations of Joan’s journey from arrest to execution. Then, each student is given a “Tweet” handout. The worksheet resembles a tweet with some of the same features students would find on an actual Twitter account. Students assume the role of a person from Joan of Arc’s time and write a tweet as the historical figure. They should use all of the literary mechanisms employed by Twitter, such as the acronym LOL, which stands for “laugh out loud.”

            The teacher instructs students to send a tweet to the Burgundian or the French people where they are stating their opinion about the fate of Joan of Arc. A prompt should be included on the handout. A possible prompt may include the following. “Dear (insert French or Burgundian people), I feel what happened to Joan of Arc was (insert a descriptor)! Joan of Arc…” Students support their opinion about what happened to Joan at the hands of the Burgundians. They are required to use at least one supporting detail from the book to support their opinion. There is a 50-word count, which does not include the prompt. This word limit challenges students to edit their work so it must include the most relevant information.

The hashtag comment at the end of the tweet should reflect the message and its overall tone. For instance, if a student’s tweet is angry, the hashtag comment should reflect the same emotion. After completing the activity, the teacher brings the class together and allows students to read their tweets aloud. The authors have provided a possible example of a tweet in the next section.

Possible Student Example of a Tweet

Trade books draw students into the lives of biographical figures. In order for students to respond empathically, they need to be able to see another’s perspective (Ashby & Lee, 2001). The ability to see perspectives and express empathy is essential in social studies. If students are going to be engaged in the classroom, they need to connect and care about the historical figures being studied (Brooks, 2008). When students become invested in the lives of people from the past, they want to understand the decisions that were made, and this may lead to a deeper and more meaningful exploration and understanding of the content. Trade books are a resource that bridges the gap left by textbooks while at the same time helping to develop skills, such as empathy, that are necessary in the social studies classroom.

Closing Remarks

            Social studies teachers face the challenge of engaging students in the middle school classroom. It can be difficult to encourage middle school students to find meaning and relevance in people, places, and events that existed hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Too many history textbooks tend to treat important historical figures and events like a 30-second bulletin on a news broadcast. Biographical trade books allow students to experience the lives of historical figures in depth. Through the pictures and text, students are able to make emotional connections with people from the past (Schell & Fisher, 2006). Historical figures are no longer names mentioned briefly on a page but become real people who faced obstacles and triumphs. Students have a better chance of empathizing with historical figures’ situations, challenges, and choices (Ashby & Lee, 2001).

            Trade books also provide social studies teachers the opportunity to highlight the many women that have shaped history. Often, textbooks underrepresent women and their contributions to society (Allard, Clark, & Mahoney, 2004). Activities like those discussed in this article allow students the opportunity to utilize trade books to examine the lives of women in meaningful and interactive ways. This makes the inclusion of people from all backgrounds and cultures essential. An appendix is given that contains additional trade books focusing on women. AMLE’s This We Believe (2010) places an emphasis on diversity in culture, background, and gender. Trade books and associated activities enable students to have a more diverse view of history than may be possible with social studies textbooks.

References

Allard, J., Clark, R., & Mahoney, T. (2004). How much of the sky? Women in American high school history textbooks from the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. Social Education, 68(1), 57-67.

AMLE. (2010). This we believe: Keys to education young adolescents. Westerville, OH: Author.

Ashby, R. & Lee, P. (2001). Empathy, perspective taking, and rational understanding. In O. L. Davis Jr., E. A. Yeager, & S. J. Foster (Eds.), Historical empathy and perspective taking in the social studies (pp. 1-21). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Brooks, S. (2008). Displaying historical empathy: What impact can a writing assignment have? Social Studies Research and Practice, 3(2), 130-146.

Brooks, S. & Endacott, J. (2013). An updated theoretical and practical model for promoting historical empathy. Social Studies Research and Practice, 8(1), 41-58.

Clabough, J., Turner, T., & Wooten, D. (2015). Up, up, and away: Using heroes of flight with middle graders. Tennessee Reading Teacher, 40(2), 5-14.

Clabough, J., Turner, T., & Carano, K. (2017). When the lion roars everyone listens: Scary good middle school social studies. Westerville, OH: Association for Middle Level Education.

Colby, S. R. (2010). Contextualization and historical empathy. Curriculum & Teaching Dialogue, 12(.5), 69-83.

Edgington, W. D. (1998). The use of children’s literature in middle school social studies: What research does and does not show. Clearing House, 72(2), 121-126.

Fresch, M. J., & Harkins, P. (2009). The power of picture books: Using content area literature in middle school. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Lynch-Brown, C., Short, K., & Tomlinson, C. (2013). Essentials of children’s literature (8th ed.). London, UK: Pearson.

McGrain, M. (2002). A comparison between a trade book and textbook instructional approach in a multiage elementary social studies class. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1268&context=ehd_theses

Melfi, T. & Gigliotti, D. (2016). Hidden Figures [Motion picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox Studios.

NCSS (2010). National curriculum standards for social studies: A framework for teaching, learning, and assessment. Silver Spring, MD: Author.

NCSS. (2013). The college, career, and civic life (C3) framework for social studies state standards: Guidance for enhancing the rigor of K-12 civics, economics, geography, and history. Silver Springs, MD: Author.

Schell, E. & Fisher, D. (2006). Teaching social studies: A literary-based approach. London, UK: Pearson.

Trecker, J. L. (1973). Women in U.S. history high school textbooks. International Review of Education, 19(1), 133-139.

Three Trade Books Referenced in the Article

Andronik, C. M. (2001). Hatshepsut: His majesty, herself. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Demi. (2011). Joan of Arc. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Children.

Vincent, Z. (2009). Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia. London, UK: Franklin Watts Publishing.

Appendix of Additional Trade Books Focusing on Women’s Roles in History

Empress Cixi

Price, S. S. (2009). Cixi: Evil empress of China? London, UK: Franklin Watts Publishing.

Frida

Brown, M. & Parra, J. (Illustrator). (2017). Frida Kahlo and her animalitos. New York: NY: NorthSouth Books.

Jane Addams

Stone, T. L. (2015). The house that Jane built: A story about Jane Addams. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Mulholland, L., & Janssen, C. (Illustrator). (2016). She stood for freedom, the untold story of a civil rights hero: Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. Salt Lake City, UT: Shadow Mountain.

Josephine Baker

Powell, P. H. & Robinson, C. (Illustrator). (2014). Josephine: the dazzling life of Josephine baker. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.

Marie Curie

Demi. (2018). Marie Curie. New York: NY: Henry Holt and Co.

Mary Tudor

Buchanan, J. (2008). Mary Tudor: Courageous queen or Bloody Mary? Danbury, CT: Children’s Press.

Michelle Obama

Parker, M. G. & Birge, M. (Illustrator). (2009). I am Michelle Obama: The first lady. Atlanta, GA: Tumaini Publishing LLC.

Queen Victoria of England

Whelan, G. & Carpenter, N. (Illustrator). (2014). Queen Victoria’s bathing machine. New York: NY: Simon & Schuster.

Sara Roberts

Goodman, S.E. & Lewis, E.B. (Illustrator). (2016). The first step: How one girl put segregation on trial. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Sacajawea

Willard, J. (1918/2017). Bird Woman (Sacajawea) the guide of Lewis and Clark: Her own story now first given to the world. Los Angeles, CA: Enhanced Media Publishing.

Teaching the Movie “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Karen Snyder

OBJECTIVES: Students will judge if All Quiet on the Western Front accurately portrays the ways young men were influenced to join armies in World War I. They will view a section of the film, All Quiet on the Western Front, and judge whether it accurately portrays the costs of war and the attitude towards war. Students will be able to judge the physical and psychological pressures placed on the soldiers in the trenches. Through a gallery walk, they will be able to determine the effects of World War I and evaluate whether the war was worth the costs.

LESSON 1 AIM: How were young men influenced to join the war effort?

Activity 2: Segment from All
Quiet on the Western Front.
Answer the following questions as you view the video. (Beginning of him to shot of empty classroom –
eight minutes – 0:00 – 9:45)

1. What are some of the phrases
that the professor uses to urge to boys to enlist?

2. What are some of the images that the boys have of soldiers?

3. What are the boy’s feelings as
they throw their books around and march out of the room?

4. What does the empty classroom symbolize?

5. How does the speech by the
Professor reflect German
nationalism?

6. The Professor said, “I believe it will be a quick war, with few
losses.” How does this opinion
reflect the views of most Europeans about World War I?
Professor Kantorek’s speech:
“Now, my beloved class, this is
what we must do. Strike with all
our power. Give every ounce of
strength to win victory before the
end of the year. It is with
reluctance that I bring this subject up again. You are the life of the
fatherland, you boys. You are the
iron men of Germany. You are the gay heroes who will repulse the
enemy when you are called upon
to do so. It is not for me to suggest
that any of you should stand up
and offer to defend his country. But I wonder if such a thing is going
through your heads. I know that in one of the schools the boys have
risen up in the classroom and
enlisted in a mass. But, of course, if such a thing should happen here
you would not blame me for a
feeling of pride. Perhaps some will say that you should not be allowed to go yet that you are too young, –
that you have homes, mothers,
fathers – that you should not be
torn away. Are your fathers so
forgetful of their fatherland that
they would let it perish? Are your mothers so weak that they cannot
send a son to defend the land
which gave them birth? And after
all, is a little experience such a bad thing for a boy?

Is the honor of wearing a uniform something from which we should
run? And if our young ladies glory
in those who wear it is that
anything to be ashamed of? I know you have never desired the
adulation of heroes. That has not
been part of my teaching. We have sought to make ourselves worthy
and let a claim come when it
would. But to be foremost in battle is a virtue not to be despised.
I believe it will be a quick war that there will be few losses. But if
losses there must be then let us
remember the Latin phrase which must have come to the lips of many a Roman when he stood embattled in a foreign land: ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.’ ‘Sweet and
fitting it is to die for the
fatherland.’ Some of you may have ambitions. I know of one young
man who has great promise as a
writer and he has written the first act of a tragedy which would be a
credit to one of the masters. And he is dreaming, I suppose of following in the footsteps of Goethe and
Schiller, and I hope he will. But
now our country calls. The
fatherland needs leaders. Personal ambition must be thrown aside in
the one great sacrifice for our
country. Here is a glorious
beginning to your lives. The field of honor calls you. Why are we here? You, Kropp, what has kept you
back? You, Mueller, you know how much you are needed? Ah, I see
you look at your leader. And I, too,
look to you, Paul Baumer and I
wonder what you are going to
do.”
Activity 3: Joining the Army
Even before the United States
entered World War I, many young people were eager to become part
of the action. One was Alphonzo
Bulz, a teenager in Western Texas who later served in Europe with
the 36th (Texas) National Guard
Division. Here he tells about how
he learned about the war and
decided to join the army.  
Questions:
1. Why did Alphonzo Bulz want to join the war?

2. In what ways did wartime
propaganda influence Bulz’s decision to join the army?

3. How is this propaganda similar
to the arguments used by the
Professor in the film, and in “A Call for Arms”?  
 “We didn’t have the radio and TV the way we do today. Why, we got
our information from what we
used to call the ‘drummers.’ These were the [salesmen] who’d go
through all the towns in places like West Texas selling all the
merchants their merchandise. They would paint such a dark picture
[of] what was going on there that
we all felt the Kaiser was going to
invade America. And all those awful things the Germans were doing to the Belgians. . . Then we’d hear
how they were riling up the
Mexicans so that they’d want to
fight us. I was only seventeen then, but I thought I better go over there and fight so that I wouldn’t be no
slave to any foreign country. Of c
ourse, my family wasn’t about to
let me go, so one day I stopped off
at the baker’s shop on my way to
high school. He was a good buddy
of mine, so I left my books at his
shop and told him to hold them for me because I was going to be gone a couple of days. A couple of days – that was a funny one. I was gone about two years. Now, I didn’t have any money, so I went down to the
railroad yard and hopped a freight train to Waco, then grabbed
another to [Fort] Worth. I told the
recruiting sergeant there that I was twenty-one. I lied you see; I had to get in. I told him I wanted to join
the infantry so I could fight those
Germans, and they said fine. Well, when my daddy found out where I was, he came down to get me to
come back home. ‘Al,’ he pleaded, ‘We need you at home. What do
you want to go over there to France for, get all shot full of holes? We
love you at home, boy.’ ‘No, Dad,’ I answered, ‘I don’t want to go back home. I want to go to war, show the Kaiser that he can’t fool around
with Americans.’ Poor Dad, he tried so hard for about an hour to get me to go home. But finally he gave
up. ‘Well, son, if that’s the way you feel,” he said, “remember one
thing: if you love God and your
country, and you do your duty,
you’ll come back safe.’ And he was right.” Source: Berry, H. (ed.) Make the Kaiser Dance: Living Memories of a Forgotten War: The American Experience in World War I, pp. 291-295

LESSON 2 AIM: How did the attitude of soldiers change after being in battle?

  Activity 1: Students read the
poem “The Soldier” silently
followed by the class reading the
poem aloud.
If I should die, think only this of
me:
That there’s some corner of a
foreign field
That is ever England.
There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust
concealed;
A dust whom England bore,
shaped, made aware,
Gave, once her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing
English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no
less
Gives somewhere back the
thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams
happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness
In hearts at peace, under an
English heaven.

Source: Brooke, Rupert
The Complete Poems of Rupert
Brooke (1933)
Activity 2: Segment from All
Quiet on the Western Front.
Soldier: (shocked) Dead. He’s dead.

Katczinsky: Why did you risk your life bringing him in?

Soldier: But it’s Behm, my friend.

Katczinsky: (admonishing) It’s a
corpse, no matter whose it is.
Questions
1. What are the soldiers doing?
2. Why were the boys surprised at their friend’s death?
3. What does Katczinsky mean?
4. Who is right in the dialogue
when the boys bring back Behm’s
body?
Activity 3:
“Dulce Et Decorum Est.”
  Questions
A. Distribute the poem and have
students read it alone. Answer
any questions about the
vocabulary. When the students are ready, read the poem aloud as a
class.

B. Read the questions first so that
it is clear what they are to look
for.

C. Put students into pairs. Have
each group answer one of the
following questions, quoting the
lines that support their
answers.

Questions
1. Where is the poet going? Where has he come from? (To their
“distant rest.”
They have travelled from the
front line: “Till the haunting flares we turned our backs.”)

2. How did he and the other
soldiers feel? (Very tired – “Drunk with fatigue”)

3. How do the soldiers look?
(Like old beggars; weak and
malnourished; knock-kneed,
covered in blood:
“Blood-shod”, in bare feet and
barely able to walk “Many had lost their boots/ but limped on. . . all
lame”)

4. What do the soldiers try to
do to protect themselves? (put on
their gas masks: “An ecstasy of
fumbling / Fitting the clumsy
helmets just in time”)

5. Does every man mange to fit his helmet in time? (No: “But someone still was yelling out and
stumbling”)

6 What happens to the man? (He
dies in agony: “flound’ring like a
man in fire or lime”)

7 What lasting effect does this
incident have on Owen? (He still
sees the man in his dreams: In all my dreams, before my helpless
sight, / He plunges at me”)

8 What is Owen’s final message? (If you saw such a thing you would
never repeat the slogan, Dulce at
Delcorum Est – there is no glory in war)  
“Dulce Et Decorum Est”
Source: C. Day Lewis, ed., The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen (1963)
Bent double, like old beggars
under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags,
we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we
turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep.

Many had lost their boots But
limped on, blood-shod. All went
lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, out stripped Five-Nines that dropped
behind. Gas! Gas! Quick boys! –An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the
clumsy helmets just in time; But
someone still was yelling out and
stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. . . Dim, through the misty panes and thick green
light, As under a green sea, I saw
him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He
plunges at me, guttering, choking,
drowning. If in some smothering
dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could
hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted
lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, — My friend,
you would not tell with such high
zest To children ardent for some
desperate glory, The Old Lie: Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.* * (“It is fitting and proper to die for one’s country.”

Culminating Activity: Using their notes, the students will write several paragraphs explaining who they think was right.

LESSON 3 AIM: What were some of the emotional costs of the war?

Activity 1: Discuss the
psychological pressures that can
lead to insanity
1. Distribute the handout,
“Psychiatrists Case Study”

2. As students watch the film, they are to fill out the case study. They
are psychiatrists and are to write a clinical description of the conditions the soldiers are exposed to.

3. Show the film from the death of
their friend to the point where the soldiers are about to attack.
(Chapter Seven – 10 minutes – 26:35 – 36:35)

4. Have the students describe the
conditions in the trenches.

5. Start the film again, run it until the fade out. (Chapter Seven – seven minutes – 36:35 – 43:35) What
were the soldiers exposed to? How could this exposure lead to “shell shock?” Discussion.  
“A Psychiatrist’s Case Study” There has been an outbreak of
“shell-shock” in the German army. This is a situation where soldiers go insane. You have been called in to
complete a study of the conditions
that the soldiers face in the
trenches. Describe what you see the soldiers exhibiting as you watch
the film clip.
Physical Conditions:
Chance of injury:
Food:
Weather – it’s effect on the
soldiers:
Sleeping conditions and the effect
of these:
Privacy (or lack of) and its effect: Deaths and their effect:  
Summary: Each student will
pretend that they are a soldier in
World War I fighting in the
trenches, and are trying to describe this warfare to a loved one at
home. They may use any media
they want, e.g. letter, poetry, song, artwork.

LESSON 4 AIM: Was the war worth the costs?

Activity 1: Gallery Walk
1. Organize documents around the classroom: Texts should be displayed “gallery-style” – in a way that allows students to disperse themselves
around the room, with several students clustering around a particular
text. Texts can be hung on walls or placed on tables. The most important factor is that the texts are spread far enough apart to reduce significant crowding. Students should be given a definite time to be spent on each
prompt, e.g. two minutes. A timer can be used.

2. Instruct students on how to walk through the gallery: Students will
take the gallery walk on their own. They should fill out the question sheet as they rotate around the room. One direction that should be emphasized is that students are supposed to disperse themselves around the room. Be ready to break up clumps of students.

3. Assess: As the teacher, it is important to make sure that the students
understand each prompt, thus, it is important that you monitor the
stations while the students participate. Ask some students to explain
what they see. You may need to clarify or provide a hint if students don’t understand or misinterpret what is posted at their station. Read the
students’ writing (Specific problems may be that, in “Parade to War,
Allegory” the soldiers faces resemble skulls or in John Singer Sargent’s
painting some of the soldiers have their hands on other’s shoulders – this is because they have been blinded. They should also be aware of the
figures in the foreground and background of Sargent’s painting).

4. Reflect: Have students break into small groups to discuss what they
have seen. They should discuss how each document reflects an aspect of
the costs of World War I. As a group they should decide which document is the most important, explaining why.

5. Class Reflection: A representative from each group will explain to the
class which document their group decided was the most important. They will give reasons to defend their choice.
Station 1: How was Ypres affected by the war?
Station 2: How were participating countries affected by World War I?  
Station 3: What was the result of “A Call for Arms”?

Station 3: What was the result of “A Call for Arms”? “Untrained though they were (the conscription laws exempted them from service until their studies were complete), they volunteered almost to a complete body to form the new XXII and XXIII corps, which in October 1914, after two months of drill, were thrown into action against the regulars of the British army near Ypres in Belgium. The result was a massacre of the innocents (known in Germany as the kindermord bei Ypern), of which a ghastly memorial can be seen to his day. In the Langemarck cemetery, overlooked by a shrine
decorated by the insignia of Germany’s universities, lie the bodies of 36,000 young men interred in a common grave, all killed in three weeks of fighting; the number almost equals hat of the UnitedStates’ battle casualties in seven years of war in Vietnam. Source: Keegan, J. A History of Warfare, pp. 358-359

Station 4: What was the affect of poison gas?

Station 4: What was the affect of poison gas?
The aftermath of a mustard gas attack in August 1918 witnessed by the artist John Singer Sargent. Poison gas was probably the most feared of all weapons in World War One. Poison gas was indiscriminate and could be used on the trenches even when no attack was going on. “What we saw
was total death,” wrote a young German soldier named Willi Siebert in a
letter to his son. “Nothing was alive. All of the animals had come out of
their holes to die. … You could see where men had clawed at their faces,
and throats, trying to get breath. Some had shot themselves.”
Source: Everts, Sara “When Chemicals Became Weapons of War.”

 Refugees from Belgium flood into Holland.

Station 5: How did the war affect civilians? The magnitude of the wartime refugee crisis is difficult to establish with precision. It was characterized by multiple flows of human beings, and therefore an imaginary census at a given point in time would underestimate the real total of those who were displaced. Nevertheless, data from different countries suggest that at least 10 million people were displaced either internally or as a result of fleeing across an international frontier. Source: Gatrell, Peter Refugees | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)

Shell Shock

Station 6: How did the losses of World War I affect the soldiers? By 1917 the French army had lost nearly 1,000,000 dead, and after another disastrous offensive in Champagne in April, one half of its fighting divisions refused to obey further orders to attack. The episode, loosely described as mutiny, is better represented as a large-scale military strike against the operation of an unbearable probability; four out of nine Frenchmen enlisted in the fighting-units suffered wounds or death by the war’s close. At the end of that year, the Italian army, which its government had committed to war against Austria in May 1915, went the same way; it collapsed in the face of an Austro-German counteroffensive and was effectively immobilized until the armistice. The Russian army, its casualties, uncounted, had by then begun to ‘vote for peace with its feet,’ in Lenin’s phrase. Lenin’s political victory in the Petrograd Revolution of October 1917 could not have occurred but for the military catastrophes the army had undergone in East Prussia, Poland, and the Ukraine, which dissolved the units on which the constitutional government counted for support. Source: Keegan, J. A History of Warfare, pp. 359-362

References:

All Quiet on the Western Front. Directed by Lewis Milestone.  Universal Studios, 1930.

Berry, H. (1978, ed.).  Make the Kaiser dance: Living memories of a forgotten war—The American experience in World War I.  Doubleday: New York.

Brooke, R (1933). The complete poems of Rupert Brooke. London: Sidwich & Jackson.

Eksteins, M.  (1989). Rites of spring: The great war and the birth of the modern age.  New York. A Peter Davison Book/Houghton Mifflin Company.

Everts, S. (2015). “When chemicals became weapons of war.” Retrieved from www.chemicalweapons.cenmag.org/when-chemicals-became-weapons-of-war 

Gatrell, P. (2017). Refugees. International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Retrieved from https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/refugees

Keegan, J. (1993).  A history of warfare.  New York, Random7). House.

Kostval, K.M.  (2017). Joining the fight: The United States enters World War I. National Geographic History, March/April 2017, 78-87.

Lewis, C.D. (Ed.) (1963).  The collected poems of Wilfred Owen. London: Chatto & Windus. Trueman, C.N. (2015). Poison gas and World War I. retrieved from https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/the-western-front-in-world-war-one/poison-gas-and-world-war-one/

Economic Law or Political Policy?

Alan Singer
Hofstra University

A problem framing the economics curriculum is disagreement about what should be included and even when there is a consensus on topics and themes, how they should be presented. The Business Dictionary, the NCSS C3 Framework, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, and the New York State 12th Grade Social Studies Framework even offer very different conceptions of what economics is. In Social Studies for Secondary Schools (Routledge, 2014) I provide teachers with a very simple definition. “Economics examines how societies produce and distribute the goods and services that people, communities, and nations need to survive.” But of course, it is really complex, because how societies “produce and distribute the goods and services” involves individual, business, social, and political decisions, and competition between different interests, as does defining what “people, communities, and nations need to survive.” A good example is the debate over the regulation of industry to protect the environment and human civilization from the negative effects of climate change.

Business Dictionary: “The theories, principles, and models that deal with how the market process works. It attempts to explain how wealth is
created and distributed in communities, how people allocate resources
that are scarce and have many alternative uses, and other such matters
that arise in dealing with human wants and their satisfaction.”
Their focus is on the market process and does not include the role of labor in production or government regulation.  

NCSS C3 Framework: “Effective economic decision making requires that students have a keen understanding of the ways in which individuals,
businesses, governments, and societies make decisions to allocate human capital, physical capital, and natural resources among alternative uses.
This economic reasoning process involves the consideration of costs and benefits with the ultimate goal of making decisions that will enable
individuals and societies to be as well off as possible. The study of
economics provides students with the concepts and tools necessary for an economic way of thinking and helps students understand the interaction of buyers and sellers in markets, workings of the national economy, and interactions within the global marketplace.” Their focus is on economic
decision-making and cost benefits. They recognize the role of multiple
forces in the process, but don’t specifically cite workers or unions, or
discuss how programs that benefit one group can be catastrophic for another.  

Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul
Krugman: “The economy is everything that involves making or using
goods and services . . .Self-interest is still the best motivator we know – or more accurately, the only consistent motivator. So I’m for market
economies. But I’m for market economies with strong safety nets, with
adult supervision in capital markets, with public provision of goods the
private sector does badly. An idealized New Deal is about as far as I go.”
Krugman is a left-Keysnian who supports an active role for the government in regulating markets and meeting human needs, but he still relies on
market solutions.  

NYS 12th Grade Framework: “Economics, the Enterprise System, and
Finance” examines the principles of the United States free market
economy in a global context. Students will examine their individual
responsibility for managing their personal finances. Students will analyze the role of supply and demand in determining the prices individuals and
businesses face in the product and factor markets, and the global nature of these markets. Students will study changes to the workforce in the
United States, and the role of entrepreneurs in our economy, as well as
the effects of globalization. Students will explore the challenges facing
the United States free market economy in a global environment and
various policy-making opportunities available to government to address
these challenges.”

This is the worst of the definitions. First, the United States does not have a
free-market economy and never has. Second, the stress on individual
responsibility ignores the broader forces shaping our lives. Individuals,
especially children, do not choose to be poor, unemployed, or homeless.
Third, nothing is mentioned about competing interests or economic
inequality. Good points are recognition of global forces and a role for
government, but these are secondary in the,curriculum.

The idea of free markets is generally associated with 18th century Scottish Enlightenment thinker Adam Smith and his notion of an “invisible hand” self-regulating markets. Smith actually only mentioned the “invisible hand” once in “The Wealth of Nations,” his signature work. The idea was actually promoted by 20th century economists, including F.A. Hayek who described it as “spontaneous order” and Joseph Schumpeter who called it “creative destruction.” As a result of Smith, Hayek, and Schumpeter, free-market economists often describe the “invisible hand” and the supply/demand curve as “economic law.” According to Smith: “Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can … He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention … By pursuing his own interests, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good” (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/invisiblehand.asp).

Economists from Karl Marx through John Maynard Keynes and contemporary Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman argue that political policies and government decisions actually play a much more important role in shaping modern economies than hypothesized economic laws. Most political economists argue that government intervention in modern economies is a positive benefit to society although they disagree on how active the government’s role should be.

This series of activities are designed to involve economics students in discussion of whether “economic law” or political policy should govern modern economies. The articles are edited down to less than 500 words to meet the standard for fair-use replications. They were also selected as challenging, but within the literacy expectations of students who are ready to do college-level work.

Aim: Does economic law or political policy govern modern economies?

Do Now: Read the definition of the “Invisible Hand,” examine the cartoons, and answer questions 1-4.

Invisible Hand: The term “invisible hand” was introduced by Adam Smith in his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). It describes unobservable, or invisible, market forces that help the demand and supply of goods in a free market capitalist economy to automatically reach equilibrium (balance) at the most productive or beneficial level. – https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/definition/invisible-hand.  

Questions What is the origin of the term, the “invisible hand”?How is it supposed to operate?How are the depictions of the “invisible hand” in the cartoons similar and different?In your opinion, which cartoonist has a more accurate view of how the “invisible hand” of free market capitalism actually works? Explain.  

Introduction (Modeling — Reading with video): Tax policies are definitely government decisions and affect people and industries differently. Donald Trump argues that cutting taxes on the wealthy and on corporations will unleash productivity and create new jobs. He is generally supported by free-market advocates, primarily members of the Republican Party. This chart is drawn from an article from Time magazine (http://time.com/5030731/the-republican-tax-bills-winners-and-losers/). The page also includes a video presenting multiple views on tax cuts.

The Republican Tax Bill’s Winners and Losers

The ultra-wealthy, especially those with dynastic businesses — like President Donald Trump and his family — do very well under a major Republican tax bill moving in the Senate, as they do under legislation passed this week by the House . . . On the other hand, people living in high-tax states, who deduct their local property, income and sales taxes from what they owe Uncle Sam, could lose out from the complete or partial repeal of the deductions. And an estimated 13 million Americans could lose health insurance coverage over 10 years under the Senate bill.

Winners Losers
* Wealthy individuals and their heirs win big. The hottest class-warfare debate around the tax
overhaul legislation involves the
inheritance tax on multimillion-dollar estates. The House bill initially doubles the limits — to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples — on how much money in the estate can be exempted from
the inheritance tax, then repeals
it entirely after 2023. The Senate
version also doubles the limits but doesn’t repeal the tax. Then there’s the alternative minimum tax, a
levy aimed at ensuring that higher-earning people pay at least some
tax. It disappears in both bills. The House measure cuts tax rates for
many of the millions of “pass-through” businesses big and small —
including partnerships and
specially organized corporations — whose profits are taxed at the
owners’ personal income rate. The Senate bill lets pass-through owners deduct some of the earnings and
then pay at their personal income
rate on the remainder.

* Corporations win all around, with a tax rate slashed from 35 percent
to 20 percent in both bills — though they’d have to wait a year for it
under the Senate measure.

* U.S. oil companies with foreign
operations would pay reduced
taxes under the Senate bill on their income from sales of oil and
natural gas abroad. Beer, wine and liquor producers would reap tax
reductions under the Senate
measure. Companies that provide management services like
maintenance for aircraft get an
updated win. The Senate bill clarifies that under current law, the
management companies would be exempt from paying taxes on payments they receive from owners of
private jets as well as from commercial airlines.
* An estimated 13 million
Americans could lose health
insurance coverage under the
Senate bill, which would repeal the “Obamacare” requirement that
everyone in the U.S. have health
insurance. The projection comes
from the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office.
Eliminating the fines is expected to mean fewer people would obtain
federally subsidized health
policies.
* People living in high-tax states
would be hit by repeal of federal
deductions for state and local taxes under the Senate bill, and partial
repeal under the House measure.
That result of a compromise allows the deduction for up to $10,000 in
property taxes.

* Many families making less than $30,000 a year would face tax
increases starting in 2021 under
the Senate bill, according to
Congress’ nonpartisan Joint
Committee on Taxation.

* By 2027, families earning less
than $75,000 would see their tax
bills rise while those making more would enjoy reductions, the
analysts find. The individual
income-tax reductions in the
Senate bill would end in 2026.  

Questions
1. Based on this report, who
benefits the most from tax reform proposals?

2. Based on this report, who loses
the most from tax reform
proposals?

3. In your opinion, are these proposals fair? Explain.

4. Does government tax policy
support the idea that the “invisible hand” is operating or that
economies are driven by political
decisions? Explain.

Team A: Renewable Energy Is Surging. The G.O.P. Tax Bill Could Curtail That. Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/climate/tax-overhaul-energy-wind-solar.html  

Questions
1. Based on this report, who
benefits the most from current
economic policies?

2. Based on this report, who loses the most from current economic
policies?

3. In your opinion, are these
policies fair? Explain.

4. Does government policy support the idea that the “invisible hand” is operating or that economies are
driven by political decisions?
Explain.

The Republican tax bills moving through Congress could significantly hobble the United States’ renewable energy industry because of a series of provisions that scale back incentives for wind and solar power while bolstering older energy sources like oil and gas production.

The possibility highlights the degree to which the nation’s recent surge in renewable electricity generation is still sustained by favorable tax treatment, which has lowered the cost of solar and wind production while provoking the ire of fossil-fuel competitors seeking to weaken those tax preferences.

Whether lawmakers choose to protect or jettison various renewable tax breaks in the final bill being negotiated on Capitol Hill could have major ramifications for the United States energy landscape, including the prices consumers pay for electricity.

Wind and solar are two of the fastest-growing sources of power in the country, providing 7 percent of electricity last year. Sharp declines in the cost of wind turbines and photovoltaic panels, coupled with generous tax credits that can offset at least 30 percent of project costs, have made new wind and solar even cheaper than running existing fossil-fuel plants in parts of the country.

In different ways, direct and indirect, the House and Senate bills each imperil elements of that ascension. A Senate bill provision intended to stop multinational companies from shifting profits overseas could unexpectedly cripple a key financing tool used by the renewable energy industry, particularly solar, by eroding the value of tax credits that banks and other financial institutions buy from energy companies.

The House bill’s effects would be more direct, rolling back tax credits for wind farms and electric vehicles, while increasing federal support for two nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia. Fossil fuel producers are under little pressure in either bill and some would stand to benefit: The Senate legislation would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling, while a last-minute amendment added by Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, would allow oil and gas companies to receive lower tax rates on their profits.

The tension between new and old energy was on display this week at a White House event to promote the Republican tax legislation, where a coal plant employee from North Dakota thanked President Trump for a provision in the House bill that would drastically reduce the value of the production tax credit for wind.

“The production tax credit has destroyed the energy market, especially in the Midwest,” the employee, Jessica Unruh, who is also a state representative, told the president. “Wind production has really eroded our state tax base and replaced coal production when it comes to electricity production.”

The wind industry has warned that the House language, which would reduce the wind tax credit to 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, from 2.4 cents, and change eligibility rules, could eliminate over half of the new wind farms planned in the United States.

Team B: Inequality Is Not Inevitable by Joseph Stiglitz, NYT, June 28, 2014 SR1 http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/inequality-is-not-inevitable/?ref=opinion

Questions
1. Based on this report, who benefits the most from current economic
policies?
2. Based on this report, who loses the most from current economic
policies?
3. In your opinion, are these policies fair? Explain.
4. Does government policy support the idea that the “invisible hand” is operating or that economies are driven by political decisions? Explain.

An insidious trend has developed over this past third of a century. A country that experienced shared growth after World War II began to tear apart, so much so that when the Great Recession hit in late 2007, one could no longer ignore the fissures that had come to define the American economic landscape. How did this “shining city on a hill” become the advanced country with the greatest level of inequality?

Our current brand of capitalism is an ersatz capitalism. For proof of this go back to our response to the Great Recession, where we socialized losses, even as we privatized gains. Perfect competition should drive profits to zero, at least theoretically, but we have monopolies and oligopolies making persistently high profits. C.E.O.s enjoy incomes that are on average 295 times that of the typical worker, a much higher ratio than in the past, without any evidence of a proportionate increase in productivity.

If it is not the inexorable laws of economics that have led to America’s great divide, what is it? Part of the answer is that as World War II faded into memory, so too did the solidarity it had engendered. As America triumphed in the Cold War, there didn’t seem to be a viable competitor to our economic model . . . Ideology and interests combined nefariously. Some drew the wrong lesson from the collapse of the Soviet system. The pendulum swung from much too much government there to much too little here. Corporate interests argued for getting rid of regulations, even when those regulations had done so much to protect and improve our environment, our safety, our health and the economy itself. But this ideology was hypocritical. The bankers, among the strongest advocates of laissez-faire economics, were only too willing to accept hundreds of billions of dollars from the government in the bailouts that have been a recurring feature of the global economy since the beginning of the Thatcher-Reagan era of “free” markets and deregulation.

The American political system is overrun by money. Economic inequality translates into political inequality, and political inequality yields increasing economic inequality . . . So corporate welfare increases as we curtail welfare for the poor. Congress maintains subsidies for rich farmers as we cut back on nutritional support for the needy. Drug companies have been given hundreds of billions of dollars as we limit Medicaid benefits. The banks that brought on the global financial crisis got billions while a pittance went to the homeowners and victims of the same banks’ predatory lending practices.

The problem of inequality is not so much a matter of technical economics. It’s really a problem of practical politics. Ensuring that those at the top pay their fair share of taxes — ending the special privileges of speculators, corporations and the rich — is both pragmatic and fair . . . Widening and deepening inequality is not driven by immutable economic laws, but by laws we have written ourselves.

Team C: Big Mac Test Shows Job Market Is Not Working to Distribute Wealth by Eduardo Porter, NYT, April 22, 2015, B1, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/business/big-mac-test-shows-job-market-is-not-working-to-distribute-wealth.html?ref=business

Questions
1. Based on this report, who benefits the most from current economic policies?
2. Based on this report, who loses the most from current economic
policies?
3. In your opinion, are these policies fair? Explain.
4. Does government policy support the idea that the “invisible hand” is operating or that economies are driven by political decisions? Explain.

Some 15 years ago, searching for a consistent way to compare wages of equivalent workers across the world, Orley Ashenfelter, an economics professor at Princeton University, came upon McDonald’s. The uniform, highly scripted production methods used throughout the McDonald’s fast-food empire allowed Professor Ashenfelter to compare workers in far-flung countries doing virtually the same thing. The company also offered a natural index to measure the purchasing power of its wages around the world: the price of a Big Mac. Some of his findings are depressing. Real wages — measured in terms of the number of Big Macs they might buy, declined over the first decade of the millennium widely across the industrialized world.

Even before the financial crisis struck, the wages of McDonald’s workers in the United States, many Western European countries, Japan and Canada went nowhere between 2000 and 2007, a period of steady, though unspectacular, economic growth in most of the developed world. In the United States, real wages actually declined . . . Faced with a tightening labor market and besieged by a vocal, combative movement demanding higher wages for America’s worst-paid employees, McDonald’s, Walmart and other large employers of cheap labor have offered modest raises to millions of workers scraping the bottom of the job market.

The battle for public opinion is fought mostly on ethical grounds — pitting the healthy profits of American corporations and the colossal pay of their executives against bottom-end wages that force millions of workers to rely on public assistance to survive. But what is often overlooked in the hypercharged debate about corporate morality is how a similar dynamic is taking hold around the industrialized world.

Lane Kenworthy, a professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego, has disentangled the evolution of household incomes over the last three or four decades. The wages from work, he found, are playing a diminishing role for a growing swath of the labor force . . . A combination of sluggish employment and stagnant wages has forced more families to rely on the public purse in many developed nations. 

In Canada, for example, labor market earnings for the bottom fourth of the income ladder grew by roughly $25 a year between 1979 and 2007. Government transfers increased by $78. For Canadian households one rung higher — between the 25th and the 50th percent of the earnings distribution — there were no increases in labor market compensation. All gains came from the government. In Germany — often portrayed as the gold standard of the postindustrial labor market — the entire bottom half of households experienced shrinking earnings from work. They only got ahead because of rising government benefits.

Perhaps it is simply that the demand for skill in the modern job market has grown faster than its supply. The United States, notably, hasn’t increased educational attainment at the rate the labor market requires. And the economy simply doesn’t need as many less-educated workers as it once did.

Team D: Top 10% Took Home Half Of U.S. Income in 2012 by Annie Lowrey, NYT, September 11, 2013, B4

Questions
1. Based on this report, who benefits the most from current economic policies?
2. Based on this report, who loses the most from current economic
policies?
3. In your opinion, are these policies fair? Explain.
4. Does government policy support the idea that the “invisible hand” is operating or that economies are driven by political decisions? Explain.

The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of the country’s total income in 2012, the highest level recorded since the government began collecting the relevant data a century ago, according to an updated study by the prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty. The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels on record since 1913, when the government instituted an income tax. The figures underscore that even after the recession the country remains in a new Gilded Age, with income as concentrated as it was in the years that preceded the Depression of the 1930s, if not more so.

High stock prices, rising home values and surging corporate profits have buoyed the recovery-era incomes of the most affluent Americans, with the incomes of the rest still weighed down by high unemployment and stagnant wages for many blue- and white-collar workers.

The income share of the top 1 percent of earners in 2012 returned to the same level as before both the Great Recession and the Great Depression: just above 20 percent, jumping to about 22.5 percent in 2012 from 19.7 percent in 2011 . . . [R]icher households have disproportionately benefited from the boom in the stock market during the recovery, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than doubling in value since it bottomed out early in 2009. About half of households hold stock, directly or through vehicles like pension accounts. But the richest 10 percent of households own about 90 percent of the stock, expanding both their net worth and their incomes when they cash out or receive dividends.

The economy remains depressed for most wage-earning families. With sustained, relatively high rates of unemployment, businesses are under no pressure to raise their employees’ incomes because both workers and employers know that many people without jobs would be willing to work for less. The share of Americans working or looking for work is at its lowest in 35 years. There is a glimmer of good news for the 99 percent in the report, though. Mr. Piketty and Mr. Saez show that the incomes of that group stagnated between 2009 and 2011. In 2012, they started growing again — if only by about 1 percent. But the total income of the top 1 percent surged nearly 20 percent that year. The incomes of the very richest, the 0.01 percent, shot up more than 32 percent.

Team E: Health Care and Profits, a Poor Mix by Eduardo Porter, NYT, 1/9/13, B1 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/business/health-care-and-pursuit-of-profit-make-a-poor-mix.html

Questions
1. Based on this report, who benefits the most from current economic
policies?
2. Based on this report, who loses the most from current economic
policies?
3. In your opinion, are these policies fair? Explain.
4. Does government policy support the idea that the “invisible hand” is
operating or that economies are driven by political decisions? Explain.

Thirty years ago, Bonnie Svarstad and Chester Bond of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered an interesting pattern in the use of sedatives at nursing homes in the south of the state. Patients entering church-affiliated nonprofit homes were prescribed drugs roughly as often as those entering profit-making “proprietary” institutions. But patients in proprietary homes received, on average, more than four times the dose of patients at nonprofits. Writing about his colleagues’ research, . . .the economist Burton Weisbrod provided a straightforward explanation: “differences in the pursuit of profit.” Sedatives are cheap, Mr. Weisbrod noted. “Less expensive than, say, giving special attention to more active patients who need to be kept busy.”

This behavior was hardly surprising. Hospitals run for profit are also less likely than nonprofit and government-run institutions to offer services like home health care and psychiatric emergency care, which are not as profitable as open-heart surgery. A shareholder might even applaud the creativity with which profit-seeking institutions go about seeking profit. But the consequences of this pursuit might not be so great for other stakeholders in the system — patients, for instance. One study found that patients’ mortality rates spiked when nonprofit hospitals switched to become profit-making, and their staff levels declined.

These profit-maximizing tactics point to a troubling conflict of interest that goes beyond the private delivery of health care. They raise a broader, more important question: How much should we rely on the private sector to satisfy broad social needs? From health to pensions to education, the United States relies on private enterprise more than pretty much every other advanced, industrial nation to provide essential social services. The government pays Medicare Advantage plans to deliver health care to aging Americans. It provides a tax break to encourage employers to cover workers under 65. Businesses devote almost 6 percent of the nation’s economic output to pay for health insurance for their employees. This amounts to nine times similar private spending on health benefits across the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on average. Private plans cover more than a third of pension benefits. The average for 30 countries in the O.E.C.D. is just over one-fifth.

Our reliance on private enterprise to provide the most essential services stems, in part, from a more narrow understanding of our collective responsibility to provide social goods. Private American health care has stood out for decades among industrial nations, where public universal coverage has long been considered a right of citizenship. But our faith in private solutions also draws on an ingrained belief that big government serves too many disparate objectives and must cater to too many conflicting interests to deliver services fairly and effectively.

Our trust appears undeserved, however. Our track record suggests that handing over responsibility for social goals to private enterprise is providing us with social goods of lower quality, distributed more inequitably and at a higher cost than if government delivered or paid for them directly.

Team F: Skilled Work, Without the Worker by John Markoff, NYT, 8/19 A1 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/business/new-wave-of-adept-robots-is-changing-global-industry.html

Questions
1. Based on this report, who benefits the most from current economic
policies?
2. Based on this report, who loses the most from current economic
policies?
3. In your opinion, are these policies fair? Explain.
4. Does government policy support the idea that the “invisible hand” is operating or that economies are driven by political decisions? Explain.

At the Philips Electronics factory on the coast of China, hundreds of workers use their hands and specialized tools to assemble electric shavers. That is the old way. At a sister factory here in the Dutch countryside, 128 robot arms do the same work with yoga-like flexibility. Video cameras guide them through feats well beyond the capability of the most dexterous human. One robot arm endlessly forms three perfect bends in two connector wires and slips them into holes almost too small for the eye to see. The arms work so fast that they must be enclosed in glass cages to prevent the people supervising them from being injured. And they do it all without a coffee break — three shifts a day, 365 days a year. All told, the factory here has several dozen workers per shift, about a tenth as many as the plant in the Chinese city of Zhuhai.

This is the future. A new wave of robots, far more adept than those now commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution. Factories like the one here in the Netherlands are a striking counterpoint to those used by Apple and other consumer electronics giants, which employ hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers.

Many industry executives and technology experts say Philips’s approach is gaining ground on Apple’s. Even as Foxconn, Apple’s iPhone manufacturer, continues to build new plants and hire thousands of additional workers to make smartphones, it plans to install more than a million robots within a few years to supplement its work force in China. Foxconn has not disclosed how many workers will be displaced or when. But its chairman, Terry Gou, has publicly endorsed a growing use of robots. Speaking of his more than one million employees worldwide: “As human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.”

Take the cavernous solar-panel factory run by Flextronics in Milpitas, south of San Francisco. A large banner proudly proclaims “Bringing Jobs & Manufacturing Back to California!” Yet in the state-of-the-art plant, where the assembly line runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are robots everywhere and few human workers. All of the heavy lifting and almost all of the precise work is done by robots that string together solar cells and seal them under glass. The human workers do things like trimming excess material, threading wires and screwing a handful of fasteners into a simple frame for each panel.

Such advances in manufacturing are also beginning to transform other sectors that employ millions of workers around the world. One is distribution, where robots that zoom at the speed of the world’s fastest sprinters can store, retrieve and pack goods for shipment far more efficiently than people. Robots could soon replace workers at companies like C & S Wholesale Grocers, the nation’s largest grocery distributor, which has already deployed robot technology.

Team G: What Happened to the American Boomtown?
by Emily Badger, NYT, Dec. 6, 2017, B3 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/upshot/what-happened-to-the-american-boomtown.html

Questions
1. Based on this report, who benefits the most from current economic
policies?
2. Based on this report, who loses the most from current economic
policies?
3. In your opinion, are these policies fair? Explain.
4. Does government policy support the idea that the “invisible hand” is operating or that economies are driven by political decisions? Explain.

The metro areas that offered the highest pay in 2000 have grown by some of the slowest rates since then, while people have flocked to lower-wage metros like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Charlotte, N.C. Similarly, the metros with the highest G.D.P. per capita are barely adding workers relative to much less productive areas. Some people aren’t moving into wealthy regions because they’re stuck in struggling ones. They have houses they can’t sell or government benefits they don’t want to lose. But the larger problem is that they’re blocked from moving to prosperous places by the shortage and cost of housing there. And that’s a deliberate decision these wealthy regions have made in opposing more housing construction, a prerequisite to make room for more people.

Compare that with most of American history. The country’s economic growth has long “gone hand in hand with enormous reallocation of population,” write the economists Kyle Herkenhoff, Lee Ohanian and Edward Prescott in a recent studyof what’s hobbling similar population flows now. Workers moved north during the Great Migration and west out of the Dust Bowl. The lure of the Gold Rush made San Francisco a boomtown after the 1850s. The rise of the auto industry helped triple the size of Detroit between 1910 and 1930. Other northern cities like Cleveland similarly swelled as they became manufacturing hubs. Los Angeles grew to a city of more than a million in the 1920s as film sets, oil wells and aircraft manufacturing promised opportunity. Seattle boomed after World War II, as Boeing did. Houston’s population took off as it became the center of the country’s energy economy.

A Passive Generation

Brooke Stock
Rider University

As United States citizens we are given the right to vote. This opportunity allows our country to be a democracy and gives people a voice in the government. As a young adult, one would think that our generation would choose to voice their opinions for the future, since it will affect our lives immensely. Unfortunately, many individuals among my generation do not see this as a priority. Young adults, from the ages eighteen to twenty-four have the lowest voting participation rates out of everyone who is eligible to vote. This is due to the Presidential Election in 2016 between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Young adults share their voice and opinions on politics, but when it comes to the polls, they do not vote. Many young adults also believe that they do not have to go and vote because they believe that their voices will not be heard. In this article, I discuss the reasons behind this lack of commitment to the polls. What is the reason that young adults right out of high school do not vote? Is it the lack of teaching politics in social studies classrooms? Or, is the focus of social studies classrooms too dedicated to teaching the same past events? Furthermore, could this turn out be evidence that social studies needs to be renovated? Maybe there needs to be a class that is dedicated to current events and individual responsibility as a citizen that all students must take. I can recall when I was a student in high school, my teachers never fully expressed the importance of voting because we were not old enough to vote at that point in our lives. The presidential election of 2016 should be a warning for adolescents and young adults that our votes, in fact, do matter. All votes matter, but when it comes to the future of the United States, the younger Americans need to vote so our concerns can be handled properly.

            I remember, too, when I was in high school four years ago and all my social studies teachers never emphasized the importance of voting. Teachers always briefly stated the importance of the rights that we have, one being the right to vote. Before the 2016 election, there was not a recent election where the younger generation believed that they had to vote. Since the outcome of the election, this was a wakeup call to many people. Many people just believed that the person that they wanted to win, would. When the outcome was the presidential candidate that they did not want, they were the first people to complain all over social media. How can someone complain if they did not actively practice their right to vote? From my past experiences in the field at Ewing High School, my cooperating teacher expressed to the students how important it is to vote. We collaborated on a lesson about Andrew Jackson and tracing his presidency from his actions as a common man to his actions as having “king-like qualities”. Our students were curious on our views on the past election and what we believed. Together, we were honest with them. We expressed how significant it is to do your research, hear everyone’s side, and develop your own beliefs. We discussed the voter turnout and why their vote will matter someday. It is important for students to be taught that when they are of age to go out and make their voices heard.

            After researching why, it is that the younger generation does not vote, I found out that the average age that voted in the 2016 election was fifty-seven (Strauss, 2018). These means that all the reforms and laws that the younger generation wants to be passed, will not. All new laws, reforms, acts, will be towards what the older generation needs. Carolyn DeWitt and Maureen Costello state that, “If there is one thing we believe in America, we believe in government of the people, by the people, for the people.” and later explain that American citizens, “…haven’t learned how to register to vote. They haven’t learned the best way to influence their elected representatives. They haven’t learned that they have power.” (Strauss, 2018). How can we be a democracy that countries want to mimic if we cannot get our own to get up and vote? Have Americans stopped caring or are we too lazy to vote?  Joel Stein explains the millennial turnout and states that he, “calls millennials the “narcissistic generation,” and Jean Twenge says they are the “me generation,” stuck to their phones and uninterested in politics.” (Dalton, 2016). I do believe that millennials and people who are younger are addicted to their phones. Social media overtakes people’s lives, day to day. Instead of going out to make sure their vote counts, they will voice their opinions on Twitter or Facebook hoping that by posting their opinion it will help the vote. I agree, it is essential to voice your opinions, but if you are not going to act, then why are you choosing to not vote?

            I always ask my peers why they do not bother to go vote because I understood the importance of this aspect my whole life. The answer I frequently receive is, “Because my vote won’t make a difference”. This answer, I personally feel is a selfish statement. Every vote matters no matter who you are or what you believe. If everyone who did not believe in their vote, voted, then the voter turnout would be completely different. Health care is so prominent because it is what most older people want for themselves. If the younger generation would go out and vote we could help our education systems and our futures. Caroline Beaton expresses that, “In 2016, we view engaging in politics as a personal choice, not a civic obligation.” (Beaton, 2016). This is accurate because many younger people see voting as an option and not an obligation. They believe it is not their civic duty to express what they want. If people were educated more on voting and constantly informed on the importance of it, I believe that they would go out and exercise their right to vote.

            I have hope for my generation in the 2020 election. The past election was, without a doubt, a wakeup call. This article is not intended to bash the younger generation, however, to express my aspiration for them to be more active participants in the future of our country. We are the future and I believe that we will come together as one fighting for what we believe.

References

Beaton, C. (2016) The science behind why millennials don’t vote. Retrieved from  https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinebeaton/2016/11/04/whymillennialsarentvoting/#34fb382e89c2

Dalton R. (2016). Why don’t millennials vote? Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/03/22/why-dont-millennials-vote/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9e68bea2c2ec

Strauss, V. (2018, September 20). Many young people don’t vote because they never learned how. Here’s a free class now in schools trying to change that. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2018/09/20/many-young-people-dont-vote-because-they-never-learned-how-heres-free-class-now-schools-trying-change-that/?utm_term=.b355d8c66fc0

The Other Facets of Sputnik: Not Just a Satellite

Matthew Maul
Rider University

On the night of October 4, 1957, Americans could tune in on their radios to hear a small sphere floating in orbit sounding off beeps as it goes along. Sputnik was the first human-made object to go into an orbit around Earth, and thus start something called the Space Race. For such a breakthrough technological achievement, however, it was somewhat limited in its own performance.  It could orbit and transmit radio signals back to earth, but beyond that, Sputnik was practically useless except for its role in Cold War Symbolism. It is this symbolism that is thought more often than not, then the education reform that comes after it. The launch of Sputnik is much more than the start of the Space Race; it was a catalyst for education reform and by my calculations, it will take another Sputnik to launch another wave of widely accepted reforms instead of the patchwork introduction of fixes like SGOs, Common Core, and PARCC.


            “It is essential to examine the America school system before the launch of Sputnik in 1957. Before 1947 and stemming out of World War Two American schools were still primarily influenced by Progressivist school of ideas and practices from John Dewey. Progressivism emphasized the concept that students could only learn when they had “internalized what they had gained through experience and practiced in their own lives.” (Olson, 2000) In the mid-1940s, a new group called the ‘Life-Adjusters’ began to challenge the progressivist idea and thus began to change them. The main reason being that progressive education failed the majority. This so-called failure along with these new ideas for education and its purpose were based in the 1918 study titled Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education. The goal of this new educational philosophy entitled ‘Life-Adjustment’ was to change the fundamental practices of the school. What fundamental practices did this study mean, it was no other than the core academic classes. By disregarding traditional academics, this meant that history, languages, science, and mathematics were less valued to instead focus on the concept of ‘fundamental processes.’ The fundamental process was the curricula and activities for the general student and would thus be the considerations for vocational education, use of leisure time, and other wholesome topics that would improve the capability of a student to live a good and productive life. What supported this study was a national education conference in 1945. From its findings, the committee has found that no more than 20% of students could be reasonably expected to ever attend college, with another 20% destined for a vocational program.  This means that only 40 percent of students can further their education and contribute to society; the other problem becomes the other 60%. The obvious recommendation was the adoption of the previously mentioned Life Adjustment education model. It, however, was not going to be all in favor of the Life Adjusters, as these beliefs were incorporated with some progressive concepts. The most important being the concept of tracking students by ability level on every topic. This meant that higher achieving college-and vocational school-bound kids could still get the same education while the other students can get a more general track in which they can succeed. In 1951 the Life Adjustment approach was formalized in the Educational Policy Commission’s report, Education for All American Children. (Bybee, 1997) Life-adjustment education was more utilitarian when compared to the previous progressive practices of earlier education models. The reason for this utilitarian nature is that schools were failing in preparing a majority of its student population for its future so this model instead focused on the needs of the general student. Its proposed curriculum was on functional experiences in areas such as arts, family living, and civic participation.  This kind of curriculum was more about preparing an active citizen instead of an educated academic. 

   
Now, when you examine these tracks based on the ability for the student you can draw a comparison to the modern day with Special Education with the process of inclusion and mainstreaming. The method of mainstreaming and inclusion is the result of placing students in the Least Restrictive Environment as a part of the requirements of the IDEA act. (Morin) Mainstreaming is the process of taking your kids with disabilities and putting them in a general classroom, hence the mainstream. This typically comes with some form of help for the student or that the student spends time in special education or resource classes. Without the IDEA act, special education would not have advanced as quickly as it did which thus leads us to why Sputnik was so important.


            The National Defense Education Act was spurred into creation off the impact of the Sputnik launch. The overall goal of this specific legislation was to change the country’s educational system to meet the standards of the national government concerning the nation’s defense. Regarding the national defense that meant the subject thought and focused on would have a direct benefit to those job fields. Thus, by increasing the standards of education, the United States hoped the changes would help them either compete or pass the Soviet Union. The importance of the NDEA, much like IDEA, is in the acceleration for reform it caused. The overall effects of NDEA are grants and federal aid for higher education and also a restructuring of school curriculum around that funding. Because of the scientific nature and international significance of Sputnik, the course requirements for students became aligned toward national security and jobs of that nature. Thus, the standard course load stiffened away from Life-Adjustment and added more Math and Science classes. If The Association of American Universities described the NDEA as “inspiring generations of U.S. students to pursue study in fields vital to national security and aide.” (American Association of Universities, 2006) Then it was effective in changing education as they knew it. And when you examine education curricula today, you see that the impact clear as day as almost every high school student for graduation shall have four years of math and 2-3 years of science by the time they do so.

The apparent result of Sputnik is not just in the historical context of historians of Devine and Dickson who propose a situation of American paranoia in retrospect to their calm leader, but rather the impact on education reform that we can see in the foundation of today’s schools. (Divine, 1993; Dickson, 2001) In an interesting article by a psychologist, he recognizes that there is a problem with modern educational reform. At the national level, the federal government spending on education has skyrocketed, with no comparable improvement in educational outcomes in such programs like Head Start, New Math, Nation at Risk, Goals 2000, Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, charter schools, Next Generation Science Standards, and Common Core? (Klemm). We have had little to show in terms of the results of these programs as we keep trying to create better-standardized tests and are even thinking of replacing the common core in many states even though it only came out in 2009. The problem with modern education reform may not be with the program, but with the implementation. If states are allowed to pick and choose on adopting or adapting these reforms based on the fear of losing government spending, then the speed and acceptance rate would be relatively minor and too late before it impacted most of the nation. Klemm later states in the previous article “I think the real problem is that students generally lack learning competencies. Amazingly, schools tell students more about what to learn than how to learn” (Klemm, 2014). This is something that can have a much more lasting impact because it is on the level of teacher adaptation. If we are teaching these competencies instead of solely content, we can make sure that students can turn into these lifelong learners. It is effortless for a teacher to teach Organization, Understanding, Synthesis, Memory, Application, Creativity because it involves no money, but instead an adaptation of a lesson plan. Organization can be as simple as upgrading our technology to a cohesive system like Google Classroom where students can access all work and assignments and the same can be said for teachers. Creativity can be new ways to teach a lesson or new activities.

It’s important to touch on memory, which is commonly related to tests. Instead of teaching kids to take these tests, let’s make them create better mental connections for better learning. If students can connect historical themes to present day events than they can more easily recall this knowledge for other subjects. The problem with social studies is the idea that we teach to one test, and then the student can forget that knowledge. If we work on creating these connections, they can easily recall this knowledge in other classes or everyday life. Instead of a focus on a national reform movement that is bogged down by politics, let’s do something that only teachers have control over, which is how we teach students.


            If we want to change education before national reform is ever sufficient, we as teachers must be proactive and as Social Studies teacher that may be the essential part of our jobs. If we can get tour students to transfer the Think like a Historian skill to other subjects, we can change their mind on the value of history.  So until we have another Sputnik, we are stuck in the process of revolution. (Kuhn 1962) We had Sputnik in 1957, We had The Nation at Risk in 1983, what is the next event to revolutionize education? The next logical step is the quick improvement in technology, which may drastically change how and where we teach. Whatever the next Sputnik is, to make sure it is a more effective reform like NDEA it takes us as Teachers to be open-minded and accepting to the changes. Because, whatever reform or new ideas are thrown our way, we still need to be ready to change for the sake of our students.

References:

American Association of Universities. (2006). A National Defense Education Act for the 21st century: Renewing our commitment to U.S. students, science, scholarship, and security.

Bybee, R. (1997).  The Sputnik era: Why is this educational reform different from all the others? Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education Symposium “Reflecting on Sputnik: Linking the Past, Present, and Future of Educational Reform.” Washington, DC.

Dickson, P. (2001). Sputnik: Shock of the Century. New York, NY: Walker Publishers.

Divine, R.A. (1993). The Sputnik Challenge. New York: Oxford University Press.

Klemm, W. R. (2014). Educational Reform and Why It Is Not Working. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/memory-medic/201407/educational-reform-and-why-it-is-not-working

Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Morin, A. (2014).  Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): What you need to know. Understood. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/special-education-basics/least-restrictive-environment-lre-what-you-need-to-know

Olson, L. (2000). Tugging at tradition. In V. Edwards (Ed.), Lessons of a Century: A Nation’s Schools Come of Age (94-118). Bethesda, MD: Editorial Projects in Education.