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Stories of Learning: Christopher Columbus Creates 21st Century Explore

Yesterday, Silvia Tolisano of Langwitches Blog (The Magic of Learning) shared an incredible story of learning.  After reading through her post I asked if I could share the story here and she graciously agreed.  Siliva and the fifth grade teacher she worked with did an incredible job of letting her students take charge of their learning.  It has been so successful that her students want to continue learning and connecting their knowledge about Christopher Columbus.  I love that Silvia’s story of learning begins with a glimpse of what the planning for the learning looked like.  Silvia lets us peek inside the intentional planning and organizing of the learning.  Using an iPad and the iThoughtsHD app, Silvia and the fifth grade teacher planned a unit on Christopher Columbus that went beyond the textbook and exposed them to authentic research,  multiple perspectives, and the opportunity to come up with their own conclusions about the “hero” status of Christopher Columbus in the United States.  The results are truly incredible. You can read this awesome story of learning at my blog Stories of Learning or directly from Silvia’s blog.

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Death in Rome

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, History, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 20-10-2010

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What it is: Death in Rome is an interactive history experience from the BBC.  The game takes place in the year 80AD where Tiberius Claudius Eutychus is found dead in his apartment.  Students must put their sleuth skills to work as they investigate clues scattered around the room to solve the mystery.  They have until dawn to crack the case.  In addition to clues in the room, students can “talk” to modern-day experts for additional information, and interrogate witnesses.

How to integrate Death in Rome into your curriculum: Death in Rome is a fantastic exercise in critical thinking, reasoning, and deduction.  Students will learn about ancient Rome, using clues to solve a mystery, and find out how engaging and interesting history can be.  Death in Rome would make a great partner activity.  Students can work together in teams to solve the crime.  When each team has cracked the case, they can share the strategy they used and the clues that tipped them off to the solution.  If you don’t have access to a lab setting, solve the case as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Students can take turns at the board acting as investigators and leading the investigation.  As the game progresses, those students at their seats can make note of the clues and offer conjectures as to what the clues reveal about the death.

Tips: Because of the subject matter, this game probably isn’t appropriate for students under the age of 10.  I recommend playing through the game yourself to decide if it is appropriate for your age group.  Older students will enjoy playing investigator!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Death in Rome in your classroom!

Comments (2)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely, Beth O'Connor, Thomas Baker, Teresa Heithaus and others. Teresa Heithaus said: @ktenkely Thank-you for the link on Death in Rome. Has my wheels turning! http://bit.ly/9oM1KQ […]

[…] iLearn Technology suggest ways in which the game might be integrated into your teaching: “Death in Rome is a fantastic exercise in critical thinking, reasoning, and deduction.  Students will learn about ancient Rome, using clues to solve a mystery, and find out how engaging and interesting history can be.  Death in Rome would make a great partner activity.  Students can work together in teams to solve the crime.  When each team has cracked the case, they can share the strategy they used and the clues that tipped them off to the solution.  If you don’t have access to a lab setting, solve the case as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Students can take turns at the board acting as investigators and leading the investigation.  As the game progresses, those students at their seats can make note of the clues and offer conjectures as to what the clues reveal about the death.” […]

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