Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dignity, Security, Responsibility, and Citizenship

Though we were busiest this week preparing, conducting, and breaking down the fundraiser at Project 23, we also found time to make some advances in our work in social studies, and to get some new work underway. In the Place Out of Time simulation, we took some time to process a framework for examining and utilizing primary sources: specifically, describing them first; posing questions next; and then offering interpretations. We conducted an exercise in which we looked at a political cartoon showing masses of people in Mediterranean Europe with dozens of road signs pointing every which way in the central and northern part of the continent. The kids thought this was about immigration--thousands clamoring to get in and countries becoming increasingly hesitant to admit more refugees as their resources are stretched. 

Our simulation revolves around a court case in which a homeless immigrant in Italy was convicted of petty theft for stealing a small amount of food, a conviction that was overturned in the Italian Supreme Court. The themes in the foreground for this simulation are dignity, security, responsibility, and citizenship. We watched screencasts on these topics, answered a few questions, and began to work on writing assignments for each of the four.

We outlined and did some preliminary research on four pro-and-con debate topics related to the food project: a 'sin tax' on pop and sweet drinks; a ban on plastic bags; factory farms; and agricultural subsidies. Students looked up basic both-sides-of-the-question sites from Forbes, the Washington Post, theEconomist, and other sources. After outlining and sharing material from these sources, we'll vote the four options down to two and begin preparing for the debates, three weeks hence.

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