Back in the Classroom

After working for five years as a district-level technology facilitator, I am now returning to the classroom. It's my goal to make my 5th grade class a model for how technology can be powerfully integrated into instruction and learning. Join my students and me on the journey! It's sure to be bumpy, but exciting...

Location: Schaumburg, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Connecting the Spice Trade to Oil

I came across a blog by Tim Lauer on a great web site done by the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago Tribune: A Tank of Gas, A World of Trouble Oil Safari | Chicago Tribune news | Broadband

By Tim Lauer

The Chicago Tribune has recently published a special report by Paul Salopek that traces the gasoline sold at a suburban Chicago station back to its origins. The report discusses the realities of our dependence on oil consumption and discusses the issues we face because of this dependence. The accompanying multimedia materials (video interviews, maps, interactive graphics, still pictures...) are a good example of how traditional print media can enhance their content through the web. The site also includes a great little ticker that counts off US oil consumption while you are visiting the site. Those of you teaching social studies might find this site a good place for your students to begin to discuss this topic.

I have been thinking about lessons and activities that will help connect my kids to the study of Europian explorers. I've got a few ideas that should help them understand why men would get into caravels and sail out to sea when no one knew what we would find. I want the kids to consider what things they personally value, and to help them understand what the people in the 15th century valued and why different "things" were important to them.

As I previewed this site it occurred to me that this would be a good extension and modern-day connection to the early explorers. Oil certainly drives the economies of today's industrial nations, just as the spice and silk trade did in the past. And just as in the past, the relationships between nations is connected to the need for trade of this commodity.


Blogger Tim said...

Hi Tracy,
Congratulations on the 5th grade assignment. It sounds like you will be having a lot of fun. My 5th grade students also do a unit on European explorers. I plan to share your idea with my 5th grade teachers.

I'm looking forward to watching your blog and learning about your work this year.

Good luck.
Tim Lauer

Thursday, August 03, 2006 8:59:00 AM  

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