Friday, August 29, 2014

Agricultural Revolution

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." The advent of agriculture is the single most significant event in human history. Without agriculture, none of what we take for granted today would be possible—the good, the bad or the ugly. Agriculture, the domestication of animals and plants, allowed a chain of events to occur that catapulted culture into "civilization." By choosing to follow the path created by agriculture, humanity, while tapping into its vast, but until then latent, talents moved from individual self sufficiency ten thousand years ago to at best regional and at worst, global self sufficiency today. But domestication is a two way street. Just think how many people dread power outages (I mean they're fun for a while, but a protracted power outage would be a real challenge). And what would happen if the grocery stores failed to open for a month? This unit will allow students to explore this period of truly revolutionary change and explore its consequences both intended and unintended. The links below offer some more insight into this pivotal time period. This site from WSU aka WaZoo is the closest to local that I've got on my site so far. It outlines the Agricultural Revolution very well and it's nice to be able to tap into experts in our own backyard. You should check it out regardless of who you root for in the Apple Cup. Also of interest is this encyclopedia-type article about the history of agriculture. It does a good job of relating the many issues relating to the development of agriculture and you can learn a lot of jargon to boot. Jared Diamond, writer of such books as Guns, Germs and Steel and Collpase, had this to say about the Agricultural Revolution.

Early Humans

This unit is about the human need to answer the questions: "What does it mean to be human" and "How did we get here?" Throughout the year we focus on creation stories from around the world. This unit relates the creation story that science tells. Concurrent to this exploration the class is arranged into "cave clans." One wall of the room is devoted to this simulation. Each clan is given a part of the wall—its territory—to fill with land forms and plant, animal and mineral resources. As the unit progresses, the class reflects their learning in the world they create on our wall, adding technological and cultural characteristics as they earn them. One day is devoted to trying our hands at cave art, as the room is transformed into a darkened cave, the doorway reduced to a mere crawlspace. Using small flashlights as torches, students find alcoves beneath their desks lined with a simulated rock surface and etch their own designs, reminiscent of those from Lascaux, upon the "rock." Here is a great website for human ancestry. Another good place to look for more information on the story of Hominid Development is Donald Johannson's site. If you're interested in rock art, here is great site to explore paleolithic art from around the world. Of course you should be deeply interested in this topic. It is, after all, the symbolic representation of the world that is a prime differentiator between humans and other members of the aminal kingdom. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ancient Rome

Rome eram non constructum in a dies. Notitia in is iunctum ero hic nunc.

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BBC World News

  • Top Iraqi militant leader 'killed'
  • Fugitive Iraqi militant leader Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former right-hand man to Saddam Hussein, has been killed, Iraqi officials say.
  • Police 'foil Melbourne terror plot'
  • Australian police say they have broken up an Islamic State-inspired plot to attack a World War One centenary event, arresting five teenagers.
  • Gun battles in Mexican border city
  • Gun battles lasting several hours break out on the streets of Reynosa, a Mexican border city that has been plagued by drug cartel violence.
  • Russian opposition parties to unite
  • The political party founded by murdered Russian dissident Boris Nemtsov says it will form a loose anti-Putin alliance ahead of 2016 elections.
  • Email claim over Kiev killings
  • A group calling itself the Ukrainian Insurgent Army says it was behind the deaths of two anti-government figures in Kiev this week.
  • Obama appeal to Gulf states on Libya
  • President Obama says Gulf nations should use their "influence" to help resolve the instability in Libya, warning that military action is not enough.