S.S. Content: TED Talks, Maps, and Charts

A few notable things to add to the social studies files to review, think about, and perhaps implement into a lesson plan down the road.

  • 40 maps that explain the world (Max Fisher, Washington Post)
    • *includes link to a video of Fisher discussing a few of the maps.  Good potential for a “guest” modeling activity for learning the intricacies of reading a complex map followed by some scaffolding/guided practice for students to explain a different map.  Lots of possibilities…
  • The Entire History of the World – Really, All of It – Distilled Into a Single Gorgeous Chart (Rebecca Onion, Slate)
    • This is a good one, precisely because it is so bad. Anyone who would remotely consider themselves a historian understands the problems with that title, and we should teach our students that lesson, too.  That being said, the chart is pretty awesome and is definitely worth looking at when talking about empires, global history, change over time, etc.  Originally printed in 1931 (bonus: primary source), the chart identifies most of the major civilizations over the past 4000 years, but notably includes little actual history about any of them.  Still useful to know a thing or two about the empires, but this is mostly a useful document to use when talking about the big picture stuff in history, and perhaps as a starting point for an inquiry project where students pick a civilization and delve a bit deeper based on their interests…
  • TED Playlist: Hans Rosling, 5 talks on global issues
    • Grab bag of videos on fairly specific videos.  I like TED talks for prof. development within the content area and also occasionally you’ll find a talk that high school students will enjoy.  For the most part though, the messages in these will usually have to be slightly repackaged if we want to hold the interest of our students.  Lecture just isn’t going to work with these talks…90% of the time.  Anyway, it includes 5 videos (each 15-25 mins. long) on the “African” economy/poverty issues, Indian progress, young Chinese entrepreneurs, birth control with Melinda Gates, and some thoughts from the ground during the Arab Spring!
  • TED Playlist: The Global Power Shift
    • Caught this on Netflix; all of the praise for TED above still applies.  Actually the Netflix version of the list has perhaps twice as many videos.  A handful of these deal with specific geographical locations, others talk about the big picture ideas, and still others talk about trends impacting the world today.  Enjoy!

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