During our Africa unit in history class, we wrote a paper on an African country of our choice. For my paper, I chose the country of Somalia. The paper was to be more than 15 pages and would include general information, and information about colonial times, revolutionary times, and post-revolutionary times in the country. The research that every student put into these projects was amazing, just as the result was. When we had finished our research, we wrote the paper in sections, each one between 4 and 7 pages in length. I, personally, was amazed at the work I created. It was over 20 pages of information on Somalia including the revolution, the colonization, and the post-revolution events such as World War II, the incidents in the '90s with clan war, and the recent attempts at democracy.
To begin with, students learned about certain philosophers. The project was a roleplay scenario where each student would argue the opinion of that philosopher. Each student created an analysis of their assigned character and two others. Next, we created a testimonial that correctly and accurately portrayed the assigned character’s position. After practicing, we had a real act where we gave our testimonials and debated our position.
The purpose of this project, I believe was to educate ourslves on the different styles of government. As such, this project taught me a lot about the different types of government and the pros and cons of each one. Debating the types of governments was probably the best part because I got to debate against others, one of my favorite things to do. All in all, this project gave me great insight into the complex world of philosophy and government.
When we reached our Israel unit, we watched the 2002 film Promises. The film documents the journey of 6 children from ages 9 to 12 over four years. The children discuss what they feel, think, and see of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians over their claims to Palestine and the holy city of Jerusalem. Taking detailed notes, student were assigned in groups to the different characters. I followed Faraj through the film as he grew older. After we finished the film, we conducted another roleplay style debate where students took on the persona of the character that they followed. We discussed the basis and reasons behind our opinion why Palestine belonged to "us". I found that this project was another great opportunity to exercise debate skills and to delve into some small amount of world politics.
While we read about the Industrial Revolution, we had this small activity. After reading a series of handouts detailing different parts of the Industrial Revolution, we worked in groups of 2 or 3 to assemble the information into an editorial style paper. The paper detailed the pros and cons of the Revolution including such things as women's rights, working conditions, and pay. Along with the negatives there were many positives, such as modern architecture, the advent of the steam engine, and later, the dynamo, one of the first electricity generators. It never ceases to amaze me, the amount of progress mankind made in a short couple decades. Our world went from an unindustrialized, largely agricultural society, to a mega-metropolis style world in an amazingly short time.
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