For my PowerPoint project, I created a student activity that will be used to introduce the topic: Early European Explorers of the New World. This project was designed for students in the 5th grade.
In this project, I used digital video clips from Discovery Education to introduce the topic, and to give the students some factual background about various explorers. This approach lends itself to encouraging the disciplined mind as the introductory videos actually lead the students to focus on the important topic: Early European Explorers. The subsequent videos then lead the students even closer to identifying the most important content: Who were the early European Explorers specifically. After watching these videos, students have actual names and faces to put towards this. In the first project activity, students are asked to create a Venn diagram. This tool helps students to organize the details of the subject. It also provides them an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the facts. However, rather than just regurgitating facts, requiring students to compare and contrast 2 of the explorers forces them to do a slightly more complex analysis, and requires them to spend more time in their study of the men.
Asking students to create a mock interview of an explorer is another method of teaching some of the same material, but with a different approach. They will need to know specific facts and details about their explorer which they will discover through their research. Creating their own video of the interview allows the students to demonstrate their deeper understanding of the explorer as a person. He has been humanized a little. The student can dress like him, and answer personal questions about him—as if they are the explorer himself. Synthesis is perhaps starting to happen here.
In the Journaling activity, we are using an interdisciplinary approach—combining writing with social studies—to create a new understanding of the experiences of the Early Explorers. Again, this is hopefully allowing students to feel a connectivity with the Explorer and the people around him. The student is beginning to imagine himself in the situation, imagining his feelings and thoughts. Synthesis is taking place as the student realizes the humanity of these people. They aren’t just a character in their Social Studies book, but were a real human being.
Finally, the glog allows for the students to bring their creativity to the front, and enables them to demonstrate a new understanding and appreciation for the Early European Explorer.