Standard 2

Demonstrates the ability to integrate the concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures among the disciplines.

Artifacts:

Letter to Ms. Ilyas

Bill to Law for Wind Energy Lesson Plan

Student’s Poster for Political Candidate

Rationale: 

My liberal arts education not only provided me the tools to succeed as a historian, but also the tools to learn and teach other disciplines. Along with the History and Education requirements for my major and minor, I completed courses in the fields of science, performing arts, mathematics, and foreign language. This diverse knowledge base has helped me to connect social studies to a plethora of other disciplines of learning as a teacher.

My January 13-17, 2014 letter-writing assignment demonstrates my ability to integrate elements of both language arts and social studies. Social Studies is a broad discipline that combines elements of sociology, history, government, and economics; my letter-writing lesson plan allows me to assess my students’ development as writers and their understanding of our unit, “Teach a Girl- Change the World”. I taught my students how to write letters in preparation of a Skype interview with a former Pakistani teacher, instructing them to include a heading, salutation, body, closing, and signature. The students initially wrote letters to me, to allow me to formatively assess their abilities. Following the interview, they sent send letters to Ms. Illyas, thanking her for her time and explaining what they learned. Although our course’s focus was on gender inequality throughout the world, which falls under the Social Studies discipline, I included this letter writing exercise to encourage my students to develop their Language Arts skills, while also connecting the two disciplines.

A key component of this assignment is my students’ cognizance of the challenges that Pakistani girls face while seeking education. To understand these difficulties, students must evaluate these challenges as an historian with an understanding of the importance of individual action, place, and time on history. Pakistan’s geography, the impact of War in Afghanistan, the history of the Taliban in the Swat region, and women of all cultures’ quest for universal education are all historical and social factors that my students needed to consider while writing their letters. Skilled English writers can express themselves through a variety of well-developed texts, including letters. In order for my students to have most effectively thanked Ms. Ilyas for her time and explain their own knowledge of our unit, combined elements from both social studies and language arts.

The Braudel School of History, named after the French historian Fernand Braudel, emphasizes the impact of large-scale socioeconomic factors on history, such as environmental changes and economies. My lesson plan on the United States House of Representatives’ bill to law process combines elements of social studies with natural science, since my students debate the merits of eschewing energy from natural gas for wind energy. During this lesson, I taught my students the process of extracting energy from both natural gas and wind, emphasizing the transference of kinetic energy into electrical energy and noting the pros and cons of both sources of energy. The students then mimicked the U.S. House of Representatives by introducing a bill supporting wind energy, discussing its merits in sub-committees, discussing its merits on the House “floor”, and voting on whether to support it. Although the focus of this lesson was on the steps a bill must take to become a law, a fundamental understanding of the impact that natural gas energy has on our environment was essential to my students’ decision-making process during their vote. Indeed, this lesson illustrated how changes in our environment, especially those caused by  pollution from natural gas, influence public policy and government processes.

My students represented their understanding of different political candidates’ platforms through artwork during my poster assignment on political parties in the Unites States. During this lesson, my students combined their skills as social studies learners and artists by creating a poster project that was aesthetically pleasing, relevant to our lesson, and informative. For this lesson, I assigned my students a poster project that represented one of four political candidates (Hillary Clinton, Susan Collins, Angus King, and Paul Lepage) through either a drawing or photograph, while including their candidate’s views on the economy, education, environment, healthcare, and Iraq War. My students needed to use their skills as researchers to find this information on the Internet, then use their artistic skills to create a compelling representation of their candidate’s platform. A central tenet of art is that good art reflects life; in order for my students to have accurately reflected their assigned political leader, they needed to have used good research to create good art.

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