Why Do We Have Minority History Months?

Black History Month,Asian American Month,Native American Month.Hispanic American..etc. I think that is because the real history is rarely taught. Sometimes it is taught without talking about the problems that people had in this country. Native Americans who survived the two new worlds coming together, suffered a lot that has never been taught. We don’t teach history and geography well. Many students never grasp the idea of the global exchange that is the world today.

Try this method. We have lots of ways to explore our histories today. We have technologies and books and real and virtual field trips.

USE THE DATE?

I had a teacher who used dates. She would say 1492? What was happening in the world?

We had to learn to create something that would tell her this information.  Some students would have the dates before and after.You could not just memorize the data in a book or a chapter. It was a very interesting way to learn about what was going on in the world. ( Dr. Dannie Starre Townes- Virginia State University.

We had to learn what the leading influences were in the time frame that she gave us and then we had to present it to others.

Triangle_Trade

I had a principal who had a book, the “Book of Where”, and she encouraged us to let students explore the travel of their families through the years.
The Book of Where: Or How to Be Naturally Geographic: Neill Bell
Published by Scholastic Inc, 1994
ISBN 10: 0590480154 / ISBN 13: 9780590480154

We made family maps and did International Day and learned about many cultures. Also the National Geographic had taught me to let kids draw a free hand map of the USA.

The family map was personal. It could be national or international. Cultural elements were inserted. Recipes were collected and shared.We shared family stories and history.

We explored geography and the US.

Now there are new ways to explore our history, our roots, our family stories.

Who are the people in your family ?

Where did the family originate?

Have you and your family always lived in the USA?

Where in the USA has your family lived, visited, what are the places that people have gone to school, and or work and or family vacations?

Is there another country that your family originated from? More than one?

Geography is a template for learning about the world.

Museums do tell the stories , the Smithsonian does workshops for interested people and there are exhibits. The Smithsonian had the exhibit years ago, Seeds of Change that used plants to tell the story of two worlds merging. Two old worlds merging and changing culture, or not from each other. The map above is a very simplified diagram. We have tools and technology now to tell the story better. There are new ways to explore museums. There are new ways to explore cultures. Google Cultural Institute

The Google Cultural Institute is a way to learn about cultures. You can explore using technology as in this virtual tour of Egypt.. (This is a view of the great Pyramids of Giza.)

There is this project that lets you learn from artifacts in a museum. It is the Smithsonian project X3D.

“The SIx3D viewer offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.”

“With few exceptions, SIx3D also offers access to these data sets. Hailed by many as the third industrial revolution, 3D technology is molding a new K-12 STEM model. Students can use the same tools as professionals to become creators themselves. Whether students are printing invaluable museum objects or inventions of their own design, we hope the chance to bring objects to life will give students the opportunity to create imaginative and innovative work.”

To help you introduce 3D and its possibilities to your students, Smithsonian educators are working on new resources for K-12 classrooms.

Rather than glimpsing art & photography in the confines of rectangular frames, step into them in virtual reality with the Google Cardboard for supported smart phones. Here is the link to start those explorations.

Traditional Museum Resources? So many museums online.

This is one that lets us frame the thinking about the two old worlds that came together.

Seeds of Change: Five Plants That Transformed Mankind was a 1985 book by Henry Hobhouse which explains how the history of the world since Columbus linked America to Europe and has been changed by five plants.[1] It describes how mankind’s discovery, usage and trade of sugar, tea, cotton, the potato, and quinine have influenced history to make the modern world. The museum used that book as a beginning way to tell us the story ,it was fascinating!!

The focus  seeds are: sugar, corn, the potato, disease, and the horse, selected says Viola “because of the human dimension to their story.” From the exhibition has also came another book called “Seeds of Change,” edited by Viola and and Carolyn Margolis, assistant director of the museum’s quincentenary programs. ( You may notice that tobacco , which was a seed of change was not addressed.

‘IMAGINE a world without pizza, Swiss chocolates, or French fries! Even harder, imagine Italy without the tomato or the {cowboy} without his horse,” says Herman J. Viola, the father of the massive new show “Seeds of Change” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

The ideas merged and produced an expanded concept for the exhibition “Seeds of Change” that would focus on five seeds chosen from a list of nearly l00. As Viola says, this exhibition focuses on “an exchange of peoples, animals, plants, and diseases between Europe, Africa, and the Americas” over 500 years that began when the New and Old Worlds met.Mr. Viola, curator of the 400-object show, notes that before Columbus encountered the Americas none of those fixtures of modern life had been discovered.

Article excerpt

‘IMAGINE a world without pizza, Swiss chocolates, or French fries! Even harder, imagine Italy without the tomato or the {cowboy} without his horse,” says Herman J. Viola, the father of the massive new show “Seeds of Change” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Mr. Viola, curator of the 400-object show, notes that before Columbus encountered the Americas none of those fixtures of modern life had been discovered.

Learning history can be fun!!

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What is History?

“History is for human self-knowledge. Knowing yourself means knowing, first, what it is to be a person; secondly, knowing what it is to be the kind of person you are; and thirdly, knowing what it is to be the person you are and nobody else is. Knowing yourself means knowing what you can do; and since nobody knows what they can do until they try, the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.” R. G. Collingwood

Knowing other people’s stories helps us to understand sometimes their ways of seeing the world and their elements of culture. Simply we can cite, food , shelter, clothing, systems of education, and customs or traditions. But it can get much more complicated than that. See here . Elements of Culture.  We made T-Shirts to define regions in the US. Other countries may also have regional differences, linked by the language, land and available food sources.

What is Geography and what does that have to do with History?

How Do We Learn it? Why Study Geography?

Sometimes, even effective, fun award-winning web and mobile study apps aren’t enough to sustain motivation to study Geography, if you don’t see its relevance to your life. It is not just about beautiful visuals and interesting places, The truth is that geography is a highly relevant and important type of knowledge for anyone to have.

Here are some top reasons why you should study more geography.

  1. Global Awareness /Where is that place?
    Let’s be honest: we all care about what other people think of us. That’s why our first important reason for studying geography is that it makes you look smart. Knowing basic geography can help you avoid embarrassing moments, impress a people, increase your knowledge of the world that we live in. In addition you see and hear about lots of places that are dots on the map. What do you really , really know about the places and the people who live there?

2. Put the News in Context
How are you supposed to understand the news if you don’t know geography? Knowing geography helps put current events in context. Recently there has been a lot of news about immigrants. Who are they , why do they come, where do they come from and what do we need to know about them or immigration in an historical sense. I was amazed to be in a city in Europe from which many Italians came and to see their letters of credit on a rope that was put up into the ceiling each night. This was when Italians were coming to America in droves from Naples.

For example, knowing that Hong Kong is a city in southern China can begin to help a person understand why it is politically different from the rest of China: it’s geographically isolated.

Hands on a globe

3. Chart the Course of History
Geography not only puts current events in perspective, it help us understand history. A person can’t understand World War II without understanding the roles of the continental Russian Winter or the English Channel. Geography shapes the course of world history. Want to better understand history? Study geography.

The various months help us to know the history in the United States of the groups who were brought here, who were already here, and those who immigrated here. I learned oter people’s history too. Here is a reason that people immigrate.

4. Build Navigation Skills
The most basic skill in navigation is understanding the “lay of the land.” Studying geography helps develop spatial thinking. Those skills could come in handy if you get lost driving around town or in the wilderness!Whoa.. did I forget the GIS? ESRI skills? You can build a story of the places you are studying on a map.GIS 1

5. Travel Smart Whether doing Virtual or Real Travel.
Without a basic sense of geography, it’s impossible to get the most out of travel experiences. If you’re heading to Spain, do you want to see misty mountains, rocky coastlines, or searing-hot cities? These questions will decide whether you head to Torla, Basque Country, or Sevilla. Study up before your next vacation or VR Experience..You don’t want to do eye candy where you just look at pretty pictures without the content.

iho

6. Understand Your Home
Geography allows you to understand the place where you live in the context of the world as it is. Why did people settle in your town? What is the cultural heritage of your town ? Your region?The people who live there? I just found out that the city that I grew up in was the home of slavery. Alexandria , Virginia. People were sold from that city to the south. I never knew that!.It was not taught to me. I went to a Catholic School at first, run by Irish Priesrs and nuns from the Oblate Sisters of Providence. I knew the history of Ireland, and of New Orleans from where the nuns came.

People settle in specific places because of the landscape. For example, cities are almost always built on a river or other reliable water supply. What is the history of the place you live? How has the geography affected the area? These are the questions to ask to gain a deep understanding of your home.

7. Get a Grasp on Globalization
Globalization has been one of the biggest forces in world history for decades. The saying “it’s a small world” reflects this change: the world is as big as it always was, but it’s just more interconnected than ever. Understanding the changes that have swept the world as a result of this interconnection is impossible without appreciating the geography on which it is taking place.

internet-of-things

8. Make Sense of Different Cultures
Human culture is fundamentally place-based: the land determines or influences the cuisine, clothing, architecture, even social relationships. Every aspect of a culture is affected by its geography.

Geography helps you understand and appreciate the incredible diversity of cultures around the world. Like with news, geography puts culture in context. To understand a people, you have to know something about their land.

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9. Prepare for the Future
Geographic skills guide important decisions every day. From architecture to politics to business, the physical landscape frames the debates happening today that will be in the history books tomorrow.

Most people don’t get to learn geography. It may be shared in the context of a place name on the news, or as  a part of personal history, if there is interest.

Do your personal exploration and share it with others.

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Food, Kids, Nutrition and Culture- The Accidental Science

Most people know me because of my interest in science, math , technology and engineering. But lots of people love me for my cooking.  My mother was a great cook. SHe said if you can read you can cook. But she was from the country and cooked things in season and in a particular routine. She was excellent. She cooked in the fashion of Edna Lewis. I was confused until I understood that there are regional ways of cooking that lots of people enjoy. I had a great experience cooking and teaching at the Smithsonian in a “Seeds of Change” garden project. That got me to the skills that I needed for the classroom. The parents and students and I wrote a lot of grants to get started. Every  classroom is a food network. The various diversity of ways to cook are apparent if you have a pot luck dinner.

Historically, the potato, corn, tomato , horse and disease were a part of what happened with the Columbian exchange when two old worlds came together and the cultures mixed. (I think we are not supposed to talk about tobacco.

We had the Monticello Gardens as a resource for plants, and you can explore that here.

http://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens/thomas-jefferson-center-historic-plants

I liked a wider range of foods and was always experimenting with food at home. Once in the classroom a teacher came from the Smithsonian. She was Japanese, cute, and was teaching and cooking all at the same time. I was jealous. She had everyone’s rapt attention and kids who were finicky about foods lined up to eat. That taught me a lesson. Hmn, the intersection of food, culture and hands on science. Great idea. I had to write grants to get the hot plates, utensils, pantry and money for spices and seeds. There are grants available from many places and I wrote to most of them.

4H , Parents and Principal.. There was help!!

My first help with cooking in the classroom was the 4 H. They had some kind of recipes that were very good and inexpensive.  My second help, was having a garden in the school that I taught in, which at the time was Long Branch Elementary. I think I said to a parent , I would like to have a garden. i was thinking about flowers , but there were strawberries growing in the back of the school near the park. So , all of a sudden parents and I were planning an early spring garden. Who knew it would be such fun? I don’t remember al of the parents, but Mr. Haithcock turned over the soil for us, and Nathan Lyon’s family helped me choose plants and one mother came in to teach me to harden plants before we set them out.

Nathan Lyon was just on the Today show. He is a chef. I don’t claim his skills, I think his grandmother influenced us all.

Cooking is an accidental science.

Did I mention Kolrabi…. I had no idea what it was. We had the soil tested by the 4H and we had written a grant so we had tools, gloves, shovels, sticks, seeds, and lots of garden resources. I think the hardest thing was to get the kids and the tools down to the field without injury. I was always worrying about some one getting hit with a shovel, but it never happened. We had buckets too. The hose only reached so far.You know what, we had fun!

Our school was on the edge of  a lovely park and there was room for a garden. My principal at the time loved the idea.and we explored gardens mostly colonial gardens, as that was the first level of instruction.

CHILDREN FOOD AGRICULTURE NUTRITION OBESITY. mitocw EXPLORING FOOD

  • A photograph of a child eating dim sum.

    Food plays an important role in our culture and relationships. (Photo courtesy of John Catnach on Flickr.)

    We did this before MIT, but this is a great online course to think about the accidental science of cooking.

    The Exploratorium link is here.http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/index.html The food groups and tasks for kids and families are here to explore.

    This is a three part blog. I start with the spices and the herbs and you can do this here.http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/seasoning/index.html

    Discover how a pinch of curiosity can improve your cooking! Explore recipes, activities, and Webcasts that will enhance your understanding of the science behind food and cooking.
    Food and Culture
    As taught in: Spring 2011
    A photograph of a child eating dim sum.
    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/anthropology/21a-265-food-and-culture-spring-2011/Food plays an important role in our culture and relationships.
    Instructors:Prof. Heather Paxson
    MIT Course Number:21A.265
    Level:
    Undergraduate
    Course Features Assignments (no solutions)
    Course Description
    Explores connections between what we eat and who we are through cross-cultural study of how personal identities and social groups are formed via food production, preparation, and consumption. Organized around critical discussion of what makes “good” food good (healthy, authentic, ethical, etc.). Uses anthropological and literary classics as well as recent writing and films on the politics of food and agriculture.
    Mothers and fathers love a class cookbook or potluck dinner ..  starting with the ideas in the room, you can start interesting science development that is fun.

The Smithsonian, the Nation’s Attic , A Favorite Learning Place of Mine

 I must confess that I have been learning at the Smithsonian museums forever.
My mother went to the Baptist Church which started at 10 A.M. p on Sunday, and I was getting on the bus at that time to get to Washington DC, to be at the Smithsonian when it opened on Sunday. There are many Smithsonian Museums  so I would do the dance of which one before I departed from Alexandria , Virginia , and run happily to the museum of my choice. Mind you there is one Smithsonian museum I have never been to, but it is in New York. I intend to go there to it some day. I have former students working in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum NYC and of the museums in New York, I have never visited the American Indian Museum Heye Center (NYC)
I live within walking distance of the Mall , and so I rarely need to think about parking , weather
exceptions for that statement.
Learning Abour the world at the Smithsonian Summer  Camp

Smithsonian Summer camp

I used to have a funder who like me LOVED museums. But Jack Taub was in New York with a lot of different museums. Before he passed, we often shared the wonder of what museums can do as teaching institutions. I also had a friend John Scully who was at that time in charge of Apple and we thought a lot about museums as schools. What a wonderful thing that is. Often there are many people who never get to go to museums, or who get involved in the learning that is sustained , cultivated and nurtured by groups within the museum.
I attended the Summer Folklife Fesitval and found a way to infuse myself into a group going to India, on a Fulbright. Who knew a museum was a place to further learning and that it might be possible for me to go to India. I did and we visited about 26 cities officially, we also took a side trip to Nepal.
We were a group of teachers learning about the country of India. What a wonderful experience and extension of the exhibit that was about India on the mall. I think it was what made me geographically
interested in the rest of the world and it gave me a new perspective on cultures. We visited schools, and communities in many cities in India. We also absorbed the culture. In the mornings we read the newspapers and learned what was important in the news in India. We studied religions, yoga, the food and drink, and clothing. We learned history of India that is not a part of regular school teaching.
The Tiger of Mysore? The British influence on India. We visited museums and archeological places.
it was the experience of a lifetime for me. It is a huge country and transportation then was sometimes a bit difficult. Technology was not so widespread then. India
Our task was to collect information about the games and education in India. We visited many cities in various parts of India. I cannot tell you which was the most interesting part of India, and I cannot share my photos because I have not converted them into modern images. I was carrying a Nikon with eight lenses. I loved getting up in the morning early to go take photos before our classes, lectures and excursions. A group of us had guidebooks, and resource and we studied each city in depth before we arrived there. India is bigger than the imagination from the caves, to the architecture to the intricate weavings and the many religions.  I found the markets intriguing , and the things to buy amazing, arts and crafts, so intricate and beautiful.
The Smithsonian Taught me about Seeds of Change, two old worlds coming together.
Another stunning example of how the Smithsonian educates is the work that was done around the Columbus Quincentennary.

October 26, 1991 – May 23, 1993

Museum: Natural History Museum, Studying Seeds of Change

Examined the exchange of plants and seeds between the Old and New Worlds following Columbus’s discovery of America in 1492. Themes include the introduction of horses, sugar, and disease to the New World and the introduction of potatoes and corn to the Old World. Introductory film, on first floor, What a joy it was to be on a committee and work with Smithsonian researchers and to go to the Smithsonian for updates and involvement. Just the information about the origin of foods in the world  was quite interesting.  I even had a chance to teach and cook with kids in the museum as a teacher in the summer program and we actually had a garden, we were helped by gardeners , but we tended to the garden on the Smithsonian grounds raising traditional crops during that summer.

THere was history too, so exciting. There were real emeralds brought in and gold from the conquistadors, and the examination of the diseases that weakened the natives of America,

[Learning About Each Other]

Sharing Our Differences;
Learning From Each Other


From Two Worlds to One World

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”

So what does that mean to people living in the world today? Why is Columbus an important person? Why do we celebrate something that happened over 500 years ago?

Here is a place that is of the Smithsonian, and is probably a surprise to most people the SERC Learning Lab. Parents and children happily studied on the dock, we were real scientists at work.

The Sant Hall of Science 

SERC  Smithsonian Research Center

The Smithsonian Information Center in the Castle is centrally located at 1000 Jefferson Dr., SW, Washington, D.C. Ten of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., span an area from 3rd to 14th Streets between Constitution Avenue and Independence Avenue, approximately 1 mile (1.6 km)
There are convenient places to rest, to picnic to , eat,  and to learn on the outside of the museums too. I was educated by Smithson’s legacy. My schools were not so good , but the museum staff people and their work gave me a world wide education.
There are busses to the far museums, but you have to metro to the Zoo.National Zoo
The National Zoo is at 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., approximately 30 minutes by car or public transportation from the National Mall. Public parking is available for a fee.
Zoo directions »Anacostia Community Museum
The Anacostia Community Museum is located in Fort Stanton Park at 1901 Fort Place, SE, Washington, D.C. Free public parking is available.
Anacostia Community Museum directions »Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
The Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located at 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, Virginia, near the intersection of Rts. 50 and 28. Public parking is available for a fee.
Udvar-Hazy Center directions 
The mall is this wonderful green expanse of lawn that stretches from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and I have footsteps all over that Mall. There are besides the museums, special events, and classes and outeach to teachers. So I was there a lot.  Sometimes I would go in and gaze at the tomb of the founder of the Smithsonian , James Smithson in the castle.
Here is the website to the Smithsonian. http://www.si.edu/ It has always been the A in STEM for me. So when people ask me what about the Arts in STEM I know that they have no idea of my background. The Smithsonian Museums are my learning landscape. I have taken countless children to the various exhibits, workshops and demonstrations at the museums.
My favorite thing to do in the summer used to be to take the workshops that are so powerful that they
give for teachers.My mother used to tease that she saw me standing in line in the snow for various exhibitions. Not true. Parent thought that I worked for the Smithsonian to get kids interested in traveling there. I did teach using the resources of the Smithsonian. Here is a link to the study of air and space by very small students who loved the whole experience.Air and Space

The Smithsonian seeks to bring content experts and educators together to help strengthen American education and enhance our nation’s ability to compete globally. The Smithsonian serves as a laboratory to create models and methods of innovative informal education and link them to the formal  education system.