“As a mapmaker, I can have more impact on an election than a campaign. More of an impact than a candidate. When, I as a mapmaker, have more of an impact on an election than the voters, the system is out of whack.”
Republican redistricting consultant following 1990 Census
I don’t think we spend enough time having kids explore the whole gerrymandering thing as part of our government / civics engagement instruction. David is right. And I don’t think enough of us understand the power that redistricting can have on the democractic process.
Quick primer. Gerrymandering is the legislative act of creating voting maps that favor your particular political party. And according to a recent Wired article, it usually involves one of two different tools: Read more
It’s becoming easier and easier to find primary source evidence online. And while many of you are stopping in at places like Google Public Data and GapMinder, it can still be difficult to find digital sources that specifically target the use of data and statistics. So most social studies teachers probably don’t integrate as many of those types of evidence as they should.
So it was great hearing today about the newly updated Statistics in Schools program for K-12 teachers and students from the US Census Bureau. Using current and historical data, the Census Bureau provides teachers the tools to help students understand statistical concepts and improve their data analysis skills. The program offers free online activities and other resources in geography, history, and sociology.
Over the past two years, Read more
Gapminder is an organization promoting sustainable global development by encouraging the use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.
Basically it’s a tool you and kids can use to compare and contrast countries around the world. So . . . teaching geography, world history, economics, comparative government? GapMinder is a tool you and your kids need to be using.
At GapMinder, you can access a variety of tools, lesson plans, and videos that help students understand the world and can help you generate a wide range of problems for your kids to solve.
One example of a lesson plan that uses GapMinder data can help your kids to think about the gaps in the world today and challenge their preconceived ideas about how the contemporary world looks. The exercise can also be used to stimulate an interest in using statistics to understand the world.
How to use the activity: Read more
We’ve had the discussion before. Wikipedia is not evil. Wikipedia is not revisionist history. Wikipedia is not an attempt by SPECTRE to take over the world. It’s just an encyclopedia, just one of the many online tools useful for quick overviews of basic foundational knowledge.
And for settling bar bets, of course.
So . . . Wikipedia is your friend. It really is. As is World Book. And Encyclopedia Britannica.
And if you feel comfortable agreeing with that statement, go ahead. Click the Read More link. Cause I’ve got a very cool interactive Wikipedia-based timeline that you need to check out. If you’re not comfortable with the Wiki idea, I’m okay with that. You might enjoy Scholarpedia or Infoplease as alternatives.
But you won’t get the cool timeline tool. Just saying. Read more
I’m a history guy. My shelves are full of history related titles. (Current reads? The Wright Brothers and the Oregon Trail.) I taught US history to 8th graders and World History to college kids. Did my graduate research on the Kansas Mennonite reaction to World War One.
But my first love was political science. I earned my high school government credit by campaigning for Kansas governor John Carlin and registering voters in Garden City. Graduated with a BA in political science and thought briefly about taking the civil service exam so I could apply to the State Department.
Several weeks ago, I was called to task by a secondary government teacher because there’s not enough civics and government stuff on History Tech. And I realized, yeah . . . maybe I could spend a few more minutes here and there focusing on some government resources. So today? Five of my favorite go to government goodies. Read more
Is there a better way to start the week than by spending all day talking and learning about more effective ways to do social studies? You’re right. There isn’t. I had the sweet chance to spend yesterday with a small group of social studies teachers as we discussed ways to use five under-appreciated Google tools to teach social studies.
Most of us are familiar with the typical Google tools: Search, Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms. Been there. Done that. But there are lots of other very cool tools that often slide in under the radar that we need to be using. And I’m convinced that the following Google goodies will make your life easier and your students smarter. Read more