US 1 – Quarterly Update 2016-2017

US I students started the year learning about colonial America. We dug deep into the reasons Europeans began exploring the Western part of the world.  Students easily connected that Spain, France, and England were competing for power and that geography played a key role in the success or failure of a colony. Students also explored Native American cultures and examined how contact with Europeans greatly affected their lives. This will continue to be a theme throughout the year.

Jamestown is probably the biggest project we do all year in US 1. I love this project and the students really look forward to it. They start asking about it in 9th grade when they see it completed and I always tell them, “You’ll do it next year”.  This year’s projects were AMAZING! Here are some pictures.

We closed out the marking period learning about the events leading up to the American Revolution and of course, the election! You’ll find that post here.

Below are some pictures of student work from this marking period, including the projects about Jamestown.

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A map of the colonies with information cards created by the students for each colony.

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Election 2016

It is finally here and America has elected a new president.  My students and I have been talking about this election since last year and we still can’t stop talking about it. All last year, they wanted to know who our next president was going to be, but each political party had to nominate a candidate. First, we discussed how candidates campaign and primary elections.  One by one, candidates dropped out of the primary race and we narrowed down the choices.  Since both conventions were over the summer, we ended last school year still not knowing who the candidates were. However, once we returned in September, the race to the White House was in full swing.

My students are too young to vote, but that didn’t stop their curious minds. Students asked questions about the candidates as well as the election process. Perhaps they were invested this year since the winner may run for re-election in 2020 – when most of my students will be eligible to vote.  All 12 of New Jersey’s congressional representative were eligible for re-election.  We spent time learning about why we have 12 congressmen and 2 senators and about the Electoral College. We played an engaging game using Airhead candy and an interactive map from 270towin.com. Fun and interactive classes tend to be the greatest lessons. Next, students made their predictions.  Some states were harder to predict than others. In order to make their predictions, we analyzed the results from the 2004, 2008, and 2012.

The day after the election we compared our predictions to the actual results. Yes, we were all surprised, but we looked at the data to see how it all unfolded. Then, we created a giant map to display the results and use as a reference for future lessons. We said we will pay attention to the transition and it will continue to be a topic of discussion; just because the election is over does not mean we don’t stop learning and caring.

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Students analyzed data from the past 3 elections and from the current predictions to then make their own predictions.
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The day after the election, students created a giant version of the Electoral College to display in the classroom. For more about how to create this map, click here. Their predictions are posted along the top and side.

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