Friday, October 31, 2014

A History of the World in 100 Objects - Discovery Ahead

We kicked off our new addition to our history curriculum, A History of the World in 100 Objects.  It is perfect for us and for how we learn best.  We are not completely abandoning A History of the Ancient World, but this will be used as a supplement rather than our core text.  

I simply adore the themes that run through this book, that humanity shares common DNA despite our skin colors, our religions and our cultures.  If we can focus on commonalities rather than differences, we can see that these carefully chosen objects from the collection at The British Museum, demonstrate that we are really not as different as we appear to be at first glance.

We began our study by reading the Preface and the Introduction last week.  We are using this as a working text.  Each girls is allowed to highlight and write in the margins.  They are uncomfortable doing this but I told them these are study skills that will help them in the future.  

This week we studied objects #1 and #2.  We read from the text.  We listened to the podcasts online.  We (me included) created double journal entries for each object.  Half the page is what we found interesting from the text/podcast.  The other half is reserved for what we learned from the supplemental materials or trips I will bring to each item.

To kick off our study, I wanted something grand.  I wanted to pack up our books and journals and pens and learn on site.  The Peabody Museum in New Haven is the perfect place to find similar objects to #1 and #2.  We read outside the Hall of Egypt and then went it.  Even though we have been here before, many times, when you visit a museum with a specific purpose there is always something new to discover.  The girls recorded their information and then we headed downstairs to the part of the museum that houses fossil records and 

Here again we run into difficulty with text vs. our personal beliefs.  I explained again that scientists believe that humans evolved from apes and that there is plenty of scientific studies that refute this.  But like the Big Bang theory, I try not to get bogged down in details.  I know that God designed this planet, just as he designed us in his own image.  Even if humans did not always look the way we do now, it is because God designed it to be so.

I was thrilled to discover a whole area dedicated to the Leakey family, who we read about in item #2.  We looked at replicas of the same stone tools that are sitting at The British Museum!  It was very very cool.  

This type of learning is very powerful.  This is where we came to work on our Periodic Table of Elements and as we walked into the museum the girls reflected on their time working with their friend, how much they missed her, and how much they remembered from that project.  I may not be able to find a replication of each of the 100 items in the book, but I will try to find as many as possible.  

We will also watch documentaries and do some old fashioned research at libraries to uncover additional information for some of these items.  It pleased me when the girls were telling Greg about their day and Grace commented that this book is so much better than the other book we were using (although I think it is not better, just a better fit) and that this learning is fun.

I am excited to move ahead to the next item and move ahead in our learning and begin to connect the pieces, the time periods, and the human experience that took place behind these 100 objects.  We have much discovery ahead.


Karen said...

I love that we are doing this together. We are absolutely loving it too! I am a bit jealous that you have such wonderful resources. :) I LOVE how the book is written, everything connected just like we all are.

Jessica said...

Me too! It has become the thing I focus most of my energy on because through this everything else will come, art, writing, reading, documentaries, field trips. This has been what I have been searching for and I just love it. I don't know what I am going to do for the swimming reindeer........but I have an idea for the clovis spear. I'll share whatever I find and I am making chart of each object and the resources we pull together for it to post as a class for others who want to do this.

Karen said...

Yes please!! I started a chart too with info. I'll be happy to share too. :)

Diane Knecht said...

This sounds like a wonderful resource. I definitely need to check it out. Looking forward to seeing your resources, etc. to be used with the book.

Jessica said...

I'm going to work on that today.

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