2017 started off a little rough emotionally, but school-wise it started off well. The first block of the year was a lot of fun for everyone.
Grade 4-Local History
Parks’ block began by looking at the Native American tribe that inhabited our area before the European settlers came, which was the Catawba Tribe. We visited the Charlotte Museum of History which had some information on the tribe (and a TON of information on the beginnings of Charlotte, the biggest city that we are near and the where many of the NC history stories that we have read about take place). He then looked at the town that we live in, Cornelius, and how it has changed over the years. Our area was drastically changed in the 60s when the area was flooded to build a lake. We visited the Energy Explorium for our area which had a terrific history of the area and pictures of the area before and after the lake was built. He finished up the block with a study of his choice which was Blackbeard, a pirate who resided in NC. Overall, I think Parks really enjoyed the block.
Grade 6- Economics/Business
Sawyer’s block focused on business using the book Striker Jones. I am not a business person. When I did this block with Sims, I used this book and Sims really enjoyed it! Well, Sawyer did too. Each chapter had vocabulary and insightful questions that got everyone discussing business! During the field trip to the Charlotte Museum of History, the guide spoke about bartering and trading which was perfectly timed with her chapter. She also interviewed several people about their jobs and what kept them at their jobs (she was pretty shocked to find out that money was not enough to keep people at their jobs). She wrote a business letter to Jelly Belly about her love for their product! We also went to watch the new movie, “The Founder.” After that movie, she wasn’t so sure how she felt about being a part of a big business in her future!
Grade 8-US History 1910-Modern Times
I wanted to try to make history more relevant for Sims during this block, and I think it worked. We did history backwards. I had him look at 2016 (the year that he turned 13) and describe historical events and his life. We then went back in 10 year increments to look at what happened during that decade. He also interviewed people of different ages. During each interview, he asked: in what year was the person 13? what and where were the activities that the person participated in? what big events in history does the person remember? what was an event that had a big impact on the person’s life? anything else that the person wanted to add? Most people did not know what was going on in the country, such as the depression, the vastness of the wars, the economic ups or downs, etc. Three of the four field trips tied in very nicely with this block for him. The Charlotte Museum of History was filled with information on the area from the present time back to the 1700s. The movie, “Hidden Figures,” went through civil rights, the cold war, and the space program (and many more historical events). Finally, the Energy Explorium went through the impact of electricity through the US and many other changes in the US over the past 100 years. Like Sawyer, we had SO many amazing discussions, looked through videos, and made so many connections during this block. Sims also learned how to make a simple power point presentation during this block as a way to make an outline for the century.
I love it when all three blocks come together so nicely. They all had pieces that tied them together. We read about many business practices during our local history and US history blocks that put what Sawyer was learning into real life. We learned how the small town that we live in was impacted by events happening around the US.