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Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative: English/Language Arts Standards
 

What does it mean to be human in the Anthropocene?

This collection was designed to serve as a bridge between the high school biology units of evolution and ecology as students explore the evolution of humanity through both a biological and moral lens.  Students will use Project Zero Thinking Routines to examine various artifacts from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History as they grapple with answering the overarching question: What does it mean to be human in the Anthropocene?  #GoGlobal

What does it mean to be human in the Anthropocene? : Students answer/revise their initial answers to the overarching question after gaining additional knowledge from various learning activities: 

  • Claim/Support/Question:  Students use the Claim/Support/Question thinking routine to frame their thinking around and grapple with this question.
  • Skull Analysis > Human Evolution Misconceptions: After the discussion on human evolution misconceptions, students can revise their thoughts on "what it means to be human" and begin to develop a class list on the characteristics shared by humans.
  • Constructing an Ancestral Timeline: After constructing their timeline, students will have gained additional an understanding of specific morphological and behavioral characteristics of humans. 

Using this Collection: 

  • Detailed suggestions on how to implement the learning activities are found in the "information" section of each of the Blue Activity Tiles as well as the Project Zero Thinking Routine Tiles.
  • Notes regarding the use of each Project Zero Thinking Routine are documented as annotations within each individual Thinking Routine tile and provide specific instructions on how align these routines with this collection.  

Global Competence Connection:

  • Students will be challenged to “investigate the world” both in a modern and prehistoric sense as they explore this the resources in this collection.
  • One goal of this collection is to inspire students to take action as a result of considering the impacts that modern humans have had on the planet. 

Additional Questions Explored through this Collection:

  • What (specific behaviors, adaptations, etc.) allow species to survive?
    • This question can be highlighted during the skull sorting and analysis activities in order to help students review the concepts of adaptation, evolution by natural selection, etc. 
      • Extension: Teachers can project photos of these species in their natural environments and ask students to identify the adaptations that aid them in survival. This exploration can be used to explore full-body morphological differences between humans and non-humans.    
    • This question can also be explored as students analyze the Human Evolution Timeline Interactive. Teachers can ask students to compare and contrast the adaptations of various hominid species and propose ways in which these adaptations aided species to survive in their various environments. 
  • How have climatic changes impacted the survival of species over time?
    • This question can be presented as students explore the Interactive Human Evolution Timeline. The timeline presents data showing how the Earth's climate has fluctuated over the 8 million years of human evolution and highlights the fact that some of the most important milestones in human evolution occurred during the greatest climatic fluctuations. 
    • Teachers can use this exploration to foreshadow upcoming discussions of modern climate change.
  • How fragile is human life?
    • The Human Family Tree and Human Evolution Timeline interactives allow for thoughtful exploration of this question as they provide visualizations of hominid existence, individual species' lifespans in geologic time, and extinctions. 
    • Teachers can highlight the small amount of time that modern humans have existed in comparison to early humans as well as points in history that modern humans were faced with events that nearly caused extinction and ask students to grapple with the fragility of human life.  
  • Why do we matter as humans in the anthropocene?
    • This question serves as the bridge into the study of ecology and human impacts on the environment and challenges students to deeply consider their importance to their world. 


Aleah Myers
32
 

Lactase Persistence and Human Migration

How can genetics help us to understand human migration? In this collection, students will use maps, articles, and videos to analyze genetics research about lactase persistence before building their own maps to understand the co-evolution of genes and culture. 

This collection can be used in a Biology classroom with units on enzymes, genetics and/or human evolution, in an interdisciplinary unit to link Math with Biology (students to use ratios, statistics, and data to build a map) or in a Geography course.

Students should be either given a color copy of the lactase persistence map or it could be projected. Once students have been given the time and opportunity to look at the map, the following questions should be asked.

  1. What do you notice about this map?
  2. What questions do you have about this map?
  3. What can this map show us about human migration?

Next, ask students to work in groups, each choose one of the following three articles to read, then share a brief summary of their article with those in their group. These articles are excellent resources that provide different perspectives on lactase persistence and evolution. The first article (the source of the lactase persistence map) provides a clear explanation of what we can learn from milk fats found on ancient pottery shards and the link between lactase persistence and migration. The second article focuses on animal domestication and the third on the nutritional benefits of being able to digest lactase as a selective advantage.

The third article also connects lactase persistence, the shift to agricultural communities, and human migration with the genetics of human skin color. This could provide an opportunity for students to discuss the inheritance of skin color and perhaps skin color and race. A separate collection has been made to help discuss this and can be found here.

In the activity section, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute BioInteractive (HHMI) video summarizes some key aspects about the genetics of lactase persistence as well as some of the history. If students have already read and shared out to show understanding, the video could be used to meet the needs of students who tend to be more auditory learners. The activity “Patterns in the Distribution of Lactase Persistence,” also from HHMI, guides students though an understanding of the co-evolution of genes and culture. “Students analyze data obtained from published lactase-persistence studies involving many populations sampled around the world. The activity involves calculating percentages, drawing pie charts, plotting the pie charts on a world map, and analyzing the data. This lesson provides an interdisciplinary approach to studying lactase persistence, connecting biological concepts and data analysis to world geography and culture”. (https://www.biointeractive.org/sites/default/files/Patterns-in-the-Distribution-of-Lactase-Persistence-Educator.pdf)

The map the students create can be compared to the initial image provided (a map of lactase persistence) as well as the information provided by the Smithsonian Magazine articles to predict the path of human migration. Based on the initial map, reading and activity, students can show their understanding of the connection between genetics and human migration by using the Project Zero thinking routine ‘Claim, Support, Question’. Claims can be made based on their new knowledge and then supported with evidence from the map, reading or activity. Then, students can pose questions for further research or discussion.

In the additional resource section, a YouTube clip has been provided to further extend the conversation. Sarah Tishkoff, from the earlier HHMI video, does an excellent job explaining the co-evolution of culture and the gene for lactase persistence.

Emily Veres
10
 

Goryeo Period Celadon Etched and Inlaid Decorative Techniques Translated into Watercolor Painting

Korean Goryeo period (918-1392) celadon  has famously elegant surface decorations. The delicate flowers, birds, and fish are incised with thin perfection into the clay pots and accented by inlaid white and black slip. Then the whole design is softly but beautifully highlighted by the glass like jade-green glaze. Using this six part lesson plan, students will research Goryeo celadon, compare its decorative techniques to other similar etched techniques, experiment with unique watercolor techniques to create similar effects, plan their own art work using a celadon like look, create their masterpiece, and evaluate whether they have achieved the desired goal of reproducing the look of Goryeo celadon decoration in watercolor. Completing this process, they will have created a painting that they could not have imagined before they began the exploration into  Goryeo celadon pottery decoration. In the first addendum students will be introduced to techniques using acrylic paste and pouring mediums which can produce an even more realistic appearance of Goyreo celadon incised and inlaid decoration.

Here in part 1. are some examples of green glazed, incised ceramics from Korea's Goryeo period. They are from the Freer Art Gallery's collection. Sort them into three groups according to their type of decoration. Then determine if the type of decoration is related to the time period in which they were created.  Next, take time to explore where this particular decoration style originated and how the Goryeo period potters in Korea perfected the technique. In part 2, compare these pieces to other types of art that are made using  similar etching techniques, such as scrimshaw and leather stamping, Then compare them to watercolor paintings of similar subjects to determine how to reproduce the Goryeo celadon look in watercolor painting. One goal of this learning lab is that students will make connections between different mediums and periods and in that process, discover new ways to use the mediums that they are familiar with. Later, in parts 3 and 4, students will be using the Goryeo celadon designs for inspiration when they practice new techniques and plan their own artwork which they will create in step five of the learning lab. In step 6 the students will evaluate their art works to see if they have achieved their goal of making a painting with the look of Goryeo celadon decoration. Addendum 1.  is not intended to be part of the watercolor lessons because of the time required to do the activities and the considerable mess involved, but it introduces the student to Acrylic mediums that can be used to make pictures that not only look like incised and inlaid Goryeo celadon, but are made with very similar techniques. #AsiaTeachers, #Watercolor, #GoryeoCeladon, #Ceramics, #NewAndCombinedPaintingTechniques. #Etching, #StudentArtProjects, #KoreanHistory, #ScratchedAndImpressedWatercolorPaper. #AcrylicPouringMedium, #AcrylicPasteMedium.

Elizabeth Anne Cox
88
 

Education 131

Various works/pieces.

Ivan Murillo
3
 

The Civil Rights Movement and Persuasive Messages

In this learning resource collection, take a look at six persuasive messages that addressed civil rights issues in very different forms: a speech, a song, a button, a protest sign, a poster, and an artwork.
Ashley Naranjo
9
 

How Are Robots Changing Human Life?

This collection explores the essential question: How are robots changing human life? Students will lead an inquiry into this question through a variety of resources - objects, videos, articles, and websites - examining the history of robotics from the 16th century to the present, the problems robot designers have attempted to address with their inventions, and how they try to address them. Supporting questions to scaffold students' inquiry include: What problems were these robots designed to address? Have these problems changed over time? Have strategies for addressing these problems changed over time?

Tess Porter
23
 

Reading Companion: Robots

This collection is a reading companion to two articles - "Robot Zoo" [Ask; Nov 2011] and "Me, Myself, and My Android Twin" [Muse; Nov 2012]. Students are asked to investigate these articles, alongside other objects, videos, and articles, to examine what issues robot designers are attempting to address with their inventions, and how they are trying to address them. At the end of the activity, students will be asked to write a paragraph or more explaining which inventions they think are the most important and why, citing resources in this collection as evidence.
Tess Porter
22
 

The Civil Rights Movement and Persuasive Messages

In this learning resource collection, take a look at six persuasive messages that addressed civil rights issues in very different forms: a speech, a song, a button, a protest sign, a poster, and an artwork.
Kim Palermo
10