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A Thousand Words Worth

Aesthetic realism is a philosophy that helps teachers and students make sense of the complex world we live in - its systems, its people, its places, and its things. This lesson will investigate the historical and socio-economic context for the emergence of these principles as a beacon of light for all of humanity and the power of photographic art to educate a nation and the world.


Is There Any Such Thing as a Just War?
Examining War and Morality

Should wars ever be fought? Are there ever circumstances that call for the use of deadly force? Through the use of video and Internet resources, students will learn about the "Just War" theory, examine a specific example of what is commonly considered to have been a Just War, develop their own moral viewpoints on war and relate their beliefs to current international situations.


The Great College Search
(Do I Really Have to Think about This?)

It's really never too early for students to begin thinking about college. Through activities presented in this lesson, students will become familiar with the many phases of the college application process, including choosing schools that suit their needs and desires, understanding the standardized test requirements, constructing an effective entrance essay, and procuring strong letters of recommendation.



In the Shadow of Death

This lesson examines the progression of events leading to the Holocaust, in which over six million Jews and others were killed as a result of discrimination, hatred, and prejudice. The lesson will introduce students to the initial labeling and classification of Jews through the use of images on the Web. Students will then gather additional information about the history and effects of the Holocaust on survivors through the use of video and Web sites. This lesson would ideally accompany a literature study of Elie Wiesel's NIGHT or Anne Frank's THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL.



Struggling to Survive: Life in Sarajevo

Through the activities in this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the impact that wars have on society. They will use Web sites to gain information about Sarajevo, create characters using what they learn from watching video clips and viewing news footage online, and they will participate in whole-group role-playing activities.


The Salt of Life

In this lesson, students will examine the Tuareg culture of Africa, and the ways in which the Tuareg have adapted to the harsh desert environment in which they live. Using video and Internet resources, students will examine the development of the salt trade in Africa, and its relevance to the Tuareg. Students will also examine how advances in technology have impacted both the salt trade and the lives of the Tuareg people.


Rites of Passage

In this lesson, students will examine the rites of passage observed in American society, then compare and contrast them to rites of passage in other societies. Using AFRICA, the eight-hour series presented by Thirteen/WNET New York’s Nature series and National Geographic Television, as well Internet activities, students will learn about rites of passage in two modern day West African cultures, and how slavery served as a rite of passage for many West African people in the past. This lesson can be used as an introduction to a larger unit on slavery or West African culture and history.


Rainforest Rock

In this lesson, students will examine the history and culture of the Baka, an indigenous people who live in the rain forest of southeastern Cameroon. The Baka culture is now threatened by their relocation to small villages at the edge of the forest. Students will explore AFRICA, the series presented by Thirteen/WNET New York’s Nature series and National Geographic Television, as well as Internet resources, to enhance their knowledge of the rain forest and the people who call it home. By examining the music of the Baka, students will gain an understanding of music as a reflection of culture and environment, and development multimedia presentations that focus on the future of the Baka, their music, and the rainforest.


Coney Island: The Great Escape

Through the activities presented in this lesson, the students will take a trip back to the New York City and Coney Island of the 1910's and 1920's. They will become familiar with the life and society of that time by reading family histories from Web sites, reading and examining primary source documents, and creative writing. Once they have gotten a sense of the time period, they will juxtapose it against their existence today, examining the similarities and differences in the two societies.


The Brooklyn Museum of Art

This is a cooperative learning activity in which students create a newspaper about The Brooklyn Museum of Art. Each student in the group takes on the role of a different type of newspaper creator. The computer is used to publish the finished product.


Celebrating Women: Toni Morrison

In this lesson, students conduct research on Toni Morrison's life, her work as a writer, and the major contributions her writings have made to the field of literature.


Creating a Logo for RAGTIME

The student challenge in this lesson is to design a new logo for the musical version of RAGTIME. After researching background information about RAGTIME on Thirteen Online's GREAT PERFORMANCES Web piece, Creating Ragtime, students visit other relevant Web pages to see examples of contemporary theater memorabilia.

The Dewey Decimal System -- Cataloging Collections

In this lesson students will gain a better understanding of the Dewey Decimal System. They will see why using it electronically will make finding specific books for research papers a less intimidating experience. The Internet will be used to demonstrate how the Dewey Decimal System is used at The Central Library at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York.



Digital Divide

In this lesson students will study the "Digital Divide" through comparison with other historical "divides" such as race, gender, and poverty. After studying and comparing a number of solutions to previous "divides," groups of students will propose and implement their solutions to the "Digital Divide."



"Exquisite Corpse" Travel Illustrations

Students will research the geography and culture of various world locations and create drawings, collages, or computer graphics of a figure divided into three segments. Each segment of the students' figures will contain clues as to its geographic and cultural origins. Students will interchange segments to create "exquisite corpses."


Gotta Be Me

Using online content from the AMERICAN VISIONS episode entitled "The Promised Land," students will examine the importance of individual and group identity in framing the way people see the world. Students will create self-portraits, design a model society, and write essays.


Hard Times, Soft Sell

Students will explore the social, political, and artistic climate of the Great Depression. They will conduct surveys and interviews, and create and publish a variety of media about the Depression.


Immigrant Experience in America

Students will learn about immigration, Ellis Island, and tenement life from 1890 to 1924. Students will conduct online research and write an essay about immigrant life.


It Ain't Necessarily So

With the Gershwin opera PORGY AND BESS as its focal point, students will explore ways in which cultural, social, and historical perceptions shape and define characters in literature and drama. This lesson encourages students to examine the issues surrounding the characterization of African-Americans in books, film, and theater over the last century.


Mary Ann Patten: Clipper Ship Heroine

In 1856 Mary Ann Patten was sailing from New York to San Fransisco on a clipper ship when her husband, the captain became very ill and she had to take command of the ship. She bacame the first woman in history to take full command of a merchant sailing ship.


Memorials and Meaning: Connecting to the Past

Inspired by AMERICAN VISIONS online content, students will explore the historical and cultural meaning of memorials, with a focus on works and structures eulogizing the American Civil War. Using a variety of resources, students will also investigate how the Civil War impacted their community.


Paul Robeson: 20th Century Renaissance Man, Hero In Any Century

In this Web-based lesson, students explore several themes relevant to the life of Paul Robeson and the social, artistic, and political realities of the first half of the 20th century. Students identify local heroes in their communities, interview them, and publish profiles on their school's Web site.


Pharaoh Phonetics

What tales did the ancient Egyptians tell? How did they communicate and calculate? This multidisciplinary lesson plan will explore the roots of writing and numbering systems of Ancient Egyptians through the use of unique, interactive Internet resources.


Ship of Gold

In September of 1857 the steam ship SS CENTRAL AMERICA, filled with 578 passengers and crewmembers and 21 tons of gold from the California gold fields sank in a hurricane off the Carolina coast. Over one hundred years later, engineer Tommy Thompson began trying to solve the problem of finding and retrieving the lost treasure of the SS CENTRAL AMERICA. This lesson looks at events that were taking place in our country during this time period, and explores the innovative and individualistic traits that often define the American spirit.


Stocking up for the Next Millennium

Students look back on the inventions, concepts, cultural items, and literary contributions of the past one hundred years. As a class, the students determine the things that have survived through the 20th century, think about why these things have survived, and finally, compose a presentation based on the research they do in favor of one thing that should withstand the 21st century.


Story Time

This lesson is meant to be used in conjunction with the online serial Overboard, a 13-episode interactive "soap opera" that examines the nature -- and consequences -- of alcohol and substance abuse. This lesson will help students identify the elements that make for good storytelling, such as mood and characterization, and plot devices like foreshadowing. Through this lesson's activities, students will have opportunities to analyze, reflect, investigate, and create their own work.


Streamlines & Breadlines

Students will learn about the growth and development of U.S. cities from 1920 to 1940. Students will write an essay comparing two contrasting images from this time period.


The Three Gorges: Should Nature or Technology Reign?

In this lesson, students take the information from the sites and develop a cohesive argument about the benefits or disadvantages of the Three Gorges dam project in China.


Then and Now: Public Health from 1900 to Today

This lesson plan will examine the public health issues and diseases doctors faced during the 1900s. Throughout the 20th Century, the world has become a healthier place. Life expectancy has increased by almost 30 years. These changes can be attributed to improvements in public health and disease control, sanitation, immunization, better maternal and child health, and healthier lifestyles.


Vote For Me!

In this lesson, students conduct a research project on one American President. Focusing on personal and political details, they work in pairs to present selected information in a mock interview. The facts and figures collected by each group are compiled in a presidential facts database used to enhance student understanding of presidential characteristics and chronology.


What Will They Do?

After exploring an online soap opera for teens, students will use a Web discussion forum as a medium for exploring scenarios that deal with a variety of issues. The lesson is built on the premise that both adults and students communicate more openly and frankly when role-playing, and via electronic communication.

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