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How We Got to Now: 6 Innovations That Made the Modern World

At Anastasis Academy, we are in the middle of the inquiry block “Where We Are in Place and Time.” During this block our students are exploring orientation in place and time, personal histories, explorations and migrations of humankind, and the relationships between the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations from local and global perspectives.  Serendipitously, Steven Johnson’s new book “How We Got to Now” just came out along with a PBS documentary. The timing could not have been better!! Steven looks at 6 innovations that made the modern world. In his telling about these 6 innovations, he demonstrates the inquiry approach in really brilliant ways. The interdisciplinary nature of this series is fantastic! I’ve been reading “How We Got to Now” (I highly recommend it!) and the students have been watching the new PBS documentary series by the same name as part of the inquiry unit. In addition to the book and documentary series, PBS has a brilliant How We Got to Now website for the classroom! What it is: How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson is a website from PBS. The resources on the site are meant to support the documentary series (or book) and recommended for 6th-12th grade. At Anastasis, we are using it with students as young as 3rd grade and they are all getting something out of it and loving the connections of history and these innovations. How to use How We Got to Now in the classroom: I love the way that Johnson explores innovation through these 6 lenses. Instead of offering up the typical “heroes” of invention, Johnson introduces students to concepts that span hundreds of years of invention and many of the unsung heroes. The six innovations include: glass, time, clean, light, sound, and cold. I’m telling you, the way that Johnson helps kids see connections in innovation and invention is brilliant! So much the way that inquiry works. The How We Got to Now site has a great “Big Ideas” section that leads students to dig deeper into the six innovations and has provocations for students to continue making connections, learning, asking questions, and even coming up with their own innovations. Students can explore and discuss how change happens and think about how we get to “next.” As I mentioned, our students at Anastasis are really loving this block. They are enjoying exploring Where We Are in Place and Time with the help of Steven Johnson and through the lens of these six innovations. It has led to a lot of additional lines of inquiry and has also prompted our students to create their own innovations and inventions for the “next.” As I was reading “How We Got to Now,” I couldn’t help but imagine a set of dominoes. Each innovation connects to something prior that sets off a chain reaction like the domino effect. I suggested to our classes that the students choose one of the six innovations to illustrate this way. The students will create a mini museum for our families to go through that is full of large cardboard dominoes with the inventions and catalysts of the chain reaction. The last domino will be their invention. I’m excited to see this come together! Tips: Watch full episodes of How We Got to Now online here. Are you interested in learning more about the inquiry model we use at Anastasis Academy? Join our conference in February! Early bird registration now available.

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Moon in Google Earth

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips | Posted on 20-07-2009

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What it is: Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission.  I have been following the moon landing on We Choose the Moon.  This is an incredible site that has allowed me to re-live (for the first time) the Apollo 11 mission as if it were happening today.  In honor of this historic day, Google released Google Earth 5.0 complete with Moon view.  With Moon in Google Earth you and your students can take tours of landing sites narrated by Apollo astronauts, view 3-D models of landed spacecraft, zoom into 360* photos of astronauts footprints, and watch rare TV footage of the Apollo missions.

How to integrate Moon in Google Earth into the classroom: Now that the moon has made an appearance in Google Earth, your students can experience the moon and Apollo missions up close and personal.  Space, astronauts, Apollo missions, and the moon were the stuff of legends before the space race took off.  Moon in Google Earth brings back the excitement of the space race allowing students to explore and discover.  This is an excellent virtual field trip to take your students on during any space or moon unit.  Use an interactive whiteboard to discover as a class.  Students can take turns being moon tour guides.  Students could also explore independently keeping their discoveries in a space journal and reporting back to others what they discovered on their journey to the moon.

Tips: Google Earth is a download.  If you need IT to perform downloads for you, be sure that Google Earth makes it on your list of must haves for the school year.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Moon in Google Earth in your classroom.Moon in Google Earth

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