In this section, we took middle school Common Core standards and created short lesson plan suggestions. Ideally these lesson plans would be place and student driven, so these are purely examples of possible place-based applications.
Grade 6 Writing
→ Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
→ Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
Write a journal entry from the point of view of someone experiencing the event. (creative historical non-fiction / putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, etc) OR write an article combining what they learned about the event through reading the article from journal/magazine and what they learned about the same event from the interview.
Grade 6 – 8 History and Social Studies
→ Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts). (focus on knowing the difference between primary and secondary sources)
Have students read text from a state journal/magazine article about an event, such as the Civil Rights movement, that occurred in the state in the previous 50 years and look for what voices/facts are included and what particular facts/voices are excluded (focus on the secondary source aspect). Have students go out and interview someone (an elder) in the town about how they remember the specific event occurring, or any other personal stories they might have about that event. This also promotes social justice, as the first step in fighting oppression is to just talk about it and understand its historical context.
Grade 7 Speaking & Listening “Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
→ Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.”
→ Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Have students present their findings from their personal interviews in whatever manner they may choose (ie. powerpoint, poster etc.) Then have students group off into small groups and have them discuss how their findings may be similar/different.
Grade 6 – 8 (Science & Technical Subjects)
→ Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
→ Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Do experiments related to environmental history of the region. Perform pH tests of two streams, one that was affected by gold mining, one that was not.Study the effect of mercury on the organisms in the stream (i.e. fish ingesting the mercury which leads to biomagnification). Study the nearby waterways, and where the toxins from gold mining in their local stream might have ended up.