A Day of Nash

Today, I was honored to see, hear, and interact coincidentally with two inspiring Nash-es.  First, I attended a presentation by Dr. Rod Nash, author and retired UCSB history Professor who spoke about the dilemmas of our relationship with our world.  Then I saw the movie, “Climate Refugees” produced and directed by Michael Nash (www.climaterefugees.com) and appreciated the opportunity to hear from Mr. Michael Nash afterwards.

Both opportunities were made possible by the Waimea Oceans Film Festival and made possible for me by my school.

I have been struggling with my Third Grade unit on the First Peoples of North America (pre-contact), thinking about what are reliable resources for me to have the information I need as a curriculum designer, what are the most important aspects us this subject are to teach in Fifth Grade and what are the most thoughtful strategies for engaging students in learning.  I spoke with Dr. Nash about teaching history and he agreed that so much of history is really much more grey than black and white.  He said that he does not agree with historians’ tendency to “period-ize” historical times as influences unfold more intricately than this allows for.  In terms of resources he suggested that I read, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by, Charles C. Mann.

FINALLY, tonight I had the “shower moment”  that I have been waiting for!

I am going to design opportunities for a social-scientific method around “culture.”  First facilitate an exploration of what is a culture in general. Have students create their own cultures using the aspects they identified. Then work on what influences cultures. over the course of days give influences for them to work into there created culture. Next, use Google Earth to look at the natural environment in North America and consider what cultures would be like in different parts of North American. And finally research a tribe’s pre-European influence culture to test their cultural hypothesis.  I am quite excited about this, we shall see how it unfolds!

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