Thursday, July 28, 2016

Many Gods, One Logic: Animated Hindu Concepts

Here are two terrific animated clips that explain two concepts in Hinduism--the idea of many gods and the idea of Brahman or oneness.  One runs less than two minutes and the other less than four.

Both come from a YouTube channel called Epified. I found them on another blog about Hinduism.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

100 World Leaders: Great Website

National History Day (NHD) developed a terrific interactive website featuring 100 leaders from Ashoka to Ronald Reagan.

You can filter the leaders by time period, country, and type (political, economic, military, religious, etc). Clicking on a leader gives you a flashcard with a picture and basic biographical information, along with a summary and a short bulleted list about the leader's significance.

National History Day teachers also created some lesson plans for both middle and high school students.  One plan calls for students to create a "fakebook" page for one of the leaders that might be a unit you are studying.

My thanks to Liz Ramos for tweeting the link.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Rethink the Lecture

Rethink the lecture!

Studies show that our brain waves flatline when we listen to lectures.

Dr. Matthew Stoltzfus, a chemistry professor at Ohio State University, argues that we need a revolution in education that moves us away from the "mere transference of information."

But he cautions that technology in and of itself might not be the answer.  He notes, for example, that the technology that uses flipped videos based on models, first developed by Sal Khan, are still lectures.

Instead, Stoltzfus argues that we should only use technology when it's necessary for student learning and stimulates discussion and increases brainwave activity?

Here's Dr. Stoltzfus' engaging fourteen minute TedEd talk. My thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending me the link.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Changing Role of Women Throughout History: Great Documentary

How did the role of women change over time?

That's the question that historian Amanda Forman tries to answer in this terrific documentary series from BBC. It's available now for streaming on Netflix.

Forman's tries to answer three questions throughout the series: why did civilization become almost exclusively male, why have almost all civilizations put limits on women's sexuality, movement and liberty, and what makes the status of women so susceptible to the dictates of politics and economics. 

The first episode called Civilization begins about 8000 years ago in central Anatolia in the early neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük. Archeologists believe that this early society had no social hierarchy and that women were equal to men. They see no evidence of a ceremonial center or "chiefly house."

Indeed all the houses are similar in size and height signifying no one enjoyed a special status. In addition, burial sites show that women ate the same diet as men and did similar labor as men because of the wear and tear on their bones. They also show communal ties, but not blood ties, suggesting that the idea of family might have been very different.
By Omar Hoftun (Own work)  via Wikimedia Commons

In addition figurines, particularly the so-called seated woman of Çatalhöyük, suggest that some women might have served as deities. Forman wonders if a woman, rather than a man, might have been god in early society. This evident gender equality disappears in later millennia, especially in Mesopotamia where  women became increasingly more invisible.  Veiling, for example, became prominent, almost 1000 years before Islam. Law codes, like Hammurabi's Code, cemented the new hierarchy.

But nowhere did the role of change so much as it did in Greece. Here, according to one historian, women were restricted as much as the Taliban restricts women today.

This first episode is ideal for students. It's a great review of classical history and clearly demonstrates the graphic changes in the status and role of women over time. The three other episodes in the series includes Separation, Power, and Revolution. Here's the  trailer for the series and below that is Part I from Civilization.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Battle of the Somme: Resources

The Battle of Somme, the deadliest battle of WWI in which over one million men were killed or wounded, started 100 years ago on July 1, 1916.

It lasted five months and was fought in France near the Somme River, about 125 miles from Verdun.

Here are some resources for reviewing the battle.