Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sample Lesson Plan

January 25, 2012 

Today, we explored historical events by connecting them to today's date (in history) and then looked at one prominent news story prior to watching a video by Stephen Hawking. The kids worked on the assignments given and ended the day by reading their favorite novels. 

Today in History:
    • Robert Burns, Scottish poet, b. 1759 
      • Discussion: We discussed Robert Burns, a little about him, and then read some of his poetry. 
      • Assignment: 
        • Write a short biography of Robert Burns, include your favorite poem and what it means to you. 

    • Transcontinental Telephone Svs. est. 1951
      • Discussion: We discussed what we knew about Alexander Graham Bell and then watched a student report video on his life on YouTube.
      • Assignment: Answer the following questions: 
        1. How did Alexander Graham Bell's telephone change the world? 
        2. If you were going to invent something, what would it be and why? 
        3. What systems do we need to support inventors and entrepreneurs in our society? 

    • King Henry VIII secretly wed Ann Boleyn - 1533
      • Discussion: We reviewed what we learned on King Henry VIII from prior history units and from our travels in England. We then watched the documentary, The Private Life of King Henry VIII
      • Assignment:
        • List and describe all of King Henry VIII's wives 

    • World's largest diamond unearthed (Star of Africa / Cullinan diamond)
      • Discussion: After reading the news story, we talked about our visit to the Diamond Museum in Antwerp. 
      • Assignment: 
        • Draw a picture of the Cullinan I, II, and III (describe each) 
World News

Obama's State of the Union Address
      • Discussion topics: 
        • Obama's campaign strategy 
        • Job claims (e.g., 4 million jobs vs. 3.378 million) 
        • DJIA down 20% 2007 - 2009
        • Housing bubble
        • NINJA Loans (No income, No job, (No) assets)
        • What is a Bear Market? 
        • Ninja + Occupy = X (Solve for "X")
        • 1984 George Orwell
      • Assignment: 
        • After conducting your own research on these topics, create a project to convey your answers to the below questions: 
          1. How did the economy recover after the Great Depression? (easy)
          2. How could our present-day level of technology lead to and ultimately support an Orwellian-type state? (medium)
          3. Could the Occupy Movement lead to anarchy? (medium-difficult)
          4. If yes, what would happen to the world's resources? (difficult)
Popular Science Video 

During lunch, we generally watch documentaries and educational videos. On today's calendar was "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking", which fascinated the kids. They watched the segment on Aliens and asked to continue with Time Travel this evening. 

This lesson plan is easily adaptable, and provides varying levels of challenging goals and structure for student learning needs. It included a variety of presentation formats (video, Internet research, cross-curricular discussions) and accommodated both of my children (ages 13 & 16). 

The theme was to investigate historical events by associating them with today's date. The news stories provided multiple points of entry for diverse intelligences and interests; both were allowed to conduct their own investigation and present their findings. 

The objective for today's lessons were to: 

  • Compare and contrast historical similarities and differences 
  • Use discovery science and research to investigate how technological development affects our society 
  • Correlate geography, environment, and time periods 
  • Conduct research of greater depth than has been done in previous learning environments. 

    Going forward, I will give them more choice in selecting subtopics to investigate within larger units. 

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