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Day 77: Optimism
By Mark Heintz
Dec 5, 2019

Day 77

End the semester on an optimistic note.

Over the holiday break, I spent some with my family. My uncle, dad, mom, and sister are all former teachers. They were asking about the topics that are covered in AP Human Geography. After a few minutes, they got the general vibe that the course can highlight some of the horrific things that humans have done to the planet and each other. While that isn’t true for every topic, it can dwell on the horrors.

I want to end the semester on an optimistic note. Before the close of the semester, the students will attempt to solve a global problem and cite what they can do to help. To do this, the students researched a global issue they were interested in. Just from doing this in one day, the students learned an incredible amount.

 

Difficulties to Decide

At the beginning of the year, I wanted students to be in charge of their learning. I wanted them to make decisions. With this project there are a lot of possible global issues to research. A wrote down a few of the students concerns:

  • Too many things are interesting.
  • There are too many problems in one area.
  • The issues are complex and difficult to summarize.
  • The history of the area is deep and not easily distilled to one clear narrative.
  • There isn’t an easy solution.

Each one of these problems highlights what I want in a learner. They are having difficulties and persevering through them. They are making sense of the world that is around them. While not always easy, they are attempting to sift through the complex world in which we live.

Learning in One Day

Here are a few of the things they learned in one day:

  • Variances between Hong Kong and China
  • Opium War in China
  • Quebec attempted to break away from Canada
  • French colonized Canada and much of the United States
  • Chemical weapons are used in Syria
  • UN wants to stop it, but it isn’t effective
  • USA attempts to stop the flow of immigrants through Mexico
  • Europe is having a difficult time coming together over solutions to climate change

I didn’t get around to each group. There was more than what I gathered. But, they were in command of their learning. They made decisions and continued to learn through the end of the period. Not a bad day.

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