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6-8 History (Cycle 1)

December 6, 2019 | Sam Choi

Instructor: Mr. Choi

I. Humans in the Universe (13 Billion – 200,000 Years ago)

Unit Summary:

In this Unit students will study the origins of the human species as well as the physical landscape they inhabit. This unit will cover from 13 billion years ago to 200,000 years ago.

Essential Questions:

  • How was this universe created?
  • How was the earth created?
  • How and when were our ancestors created?
  • What is our place in the universe?
  • Are we important, or are we insignificant?
  • Why is it important to understand our beginnings?
  • Have humans always been here on earth? Will we always be here?
  • What does the theory of evolution say about the origins of the human species?
  • How has the changing relationship between human beings and the physical and natural environment affected human life?
  • Why have relations among humans become so complex?’
  • How have human views of the world, nature, and the cosmos changed?

Desired Understanding

Students will understand…

  • the scales of time in which the evolution of our universe, the earth within that universe, and humans on that earth have occurred.
  • how humans fit into the biological realm by distinguishing the physical characteristics that make us different from any other organism.
  • our distinctive nature in terms of the cultural characteristics, notably language, that define us as uniquely human.
  • the different creation myths.
  • some of the modern scientific processes and procedures used to judge the validity of different creation myths, including the theory of evolution.
  • what it means to “know” something and the role of theories in understanding the world around them.

Skills

Students will be able to…

  • interpret data presented in time lines and create timelines by designating appropriate equidistant intervals of time and recording events according to the temporal order in which they occurred.
  • utilize visual, mathematical, and quantitative data presented in charts, tables, pie and bar graphs, flow charts, Venn diagrams, and other graphic organizers to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative.
  • draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries.
  • identify the gaps in the available records and marshal contextual knowledge and perspectives of the time and place in order to elaborate imaginatively upon the evidence, fill in the gaps deductively, and construct a sound historical interpretation.
  • identify relevant historical antecedents and differentiate from those that are inappropriate and irrelevant to contemporary issues.
  • identify the temporal structure of a historical narrative or story: its beginning, middle, and end (the latter defined as the outcome of a particular beginning).
  • draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources including:
    • photographs, paintings, cartoons, and architectural drawings;
    • novels, poetry, and plays; and
    • folk, popular and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative.
  • compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities,behaviors, and institutions by identifying likenesses and differences.
  • establish temporal order in constructing historical narratives of their own: working forward from some beginning through its development, to some end or outcome; working backward from some issue, problem, or event to explain its origins and its development over time.
  • identify central question(s) the historical narrative addresses and the purpose, perspective, or point of view from which is has been constructed.
  • hold interpretations of history as tentative, subject to change as new information is uncovered, new voices heard, and new interpretations broached.
  • interrogate historical data by uncovering the social, political, and economic context in which it was created; testing the data source for its credibility, authority, authenticity, internal consistency and completeness; and detecting and evaluating bias, distortion, and propaganda by omission, suppression, or invention of facts.

II. Human Beings Almost Everywhere (200,000 – 10,000 Years Ago) (Winter Term)

Unit Summary:

In this Unit students will study the first era of human history. This era encompasses the time period from when homo sapiens emerged to the beginning of the agricultural revolution.

Essential Questions:

  • What makes a human being human?
  • In what ways did early Homo sapiens, the species “like us,” differ from or resemble other representatives of the genus Homo, particularly our near relatives, the Neanderthals?
  • What can historical evidence tell us about how our ancestors lived before about 10,000 years ago? How reliable are our conclusions from that evidence?
  • What features of the way of life of modern humans before 10,000 years ago paved the way for the emergence of the complex societies, or civilizations?
  • What enabled humans to alter their behaviors so radically?
  • What makes our species so different?
  • What factors have made our species so creative?

Desired Understanding

Students will understand…

  • the cause and effect connections between developments in this era and the emergence of complex societies (civilizations), which occurs in the next era.
  • the archaeological evidence, including both its strengths and limitations, and to infer conclusions from them.
  • and assess questions about the meaning and significance of historical events.
  • how well art of this era fits definitions of art, what part it played in the societies creating it, what attempts have been made to decode its meaning, and what it reveals about ways of life and thought of its creators.
  • the definition of collective learning
  • the distinction between the terms “biome” and “ecosystem.”
  • the advantages of language to its short-range and long-range survival value.

Skills

Students will be able to…

  • reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration in which historical developments have unfolded, and apply them to explain historical continuity and change.
  • utilize visual, mathematical, and quantitative data presented in charts, tables, pie and bar graphs, flow charts, Venn diagrams, and other graphic organizers to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative.
  • hold interpretations of history as tentative, subject to changes as new information is uncovered, new voices heard, and new interpretations broached.
  • formulate historical questions from encounters with historical documents, eye-witness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, historical sites, art, architecture, and other records from the past.
  • identify relevant historical antecedents and differentiate from those that are inappropriate and irrelevant to contemporary issues.
  • draw upon data in historical maps in order to obtain or clarify information on the geographic setting in which the historical event occurred, its relative and absolute location, the distances and directions involved, the natural and man-made features of the place, and critical relationships in the spatial distributions of those features and historical event occurring there.
  • draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries.
  • formulate historical questions from encounters with historical documents, eyewitness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, historical sites, art, architecture, and other records from the past.
  • establish temporal order in constructing historical narratives of their own: working forward from some beginning through its development, to some end or outcome; working backward from some issue, problem, or event to explain its origins and its development over time.
  • compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors, and institutions by identifying likenesses and differences.
  • formulate a position or course of action on an issue by identifying the nature of the problem, analyzing the underlying factors contributing to the problem, and choosing a plausible solution from a choice of carefully evaluated options.
  • construct a hypothesis based on evidence, and revise it in the light of new information.

III. Farming and the Emergence of Complex Societies (10,000 – 1000 BCE) (Spring Term)

Unit Summary:

In this Unit students will learn about the Agricultural Revolution and its influence on creating complex societies. Students will investigate the beginnings of complex societies and the various big ideas that influenced and were influenced by their emergence.

Essential Questions:

  • What were the benefits of farming versus hunting and gathering?What role did the Agricultural Revolution play in the creation of complex societies?
  • What were the origins of the Agricultural Revolution?
  • What role did geography/environment play in the Agricultural Revolution?
  • Where did the first complex societies emerge and what similarities/differences did they possess?
  • What was the result of the interaction between pastoral nomads and settled agrarian peoples?
  • How did the Agricultural Revolution play out in isolated regions such as the Americas?
  • Was the rise of civilizations in the world inevitable once some human communities turned to farming?
  • Were early complex societies in the Americas mainly similar to those in Afroeurasia? Or were they drastically different?
  • Have the cultural heritages of early complex societies in the Americas endured in some ways up to today?

Desired Understanding

Students will understand…

  • what is meant by the domestication of plants and animals and why farming permitted world population to grow and people to live in much larger and denser communities.
  • the differences between a hunting-gathering way of life and a settled agricultural one.
  • how agricultural societies developed around the world.
  • how and where complex societies evolved and to describe their significant characteristics.
  • ways in which the rate of change accelerated between 10,000 BCE and 1,000 BCE.
  • how the shift to domestication first came about.
  • the life ways of Paleolithic hunter-gatherer communities (about 23,000 years ago) both with those of hunter-gatherers who relied significantly on wild grain (about 10,000 years ago) and with those of farmers (about 9,000 years ago).
  • the advantages and disadvantages of the shift from a hunting/gathering to a farming/herding way of life.
  • the changes brought about by the shift to agriculture in humans’ relations to the environment, to other humans, and to ideas.
  • on a world map places where farming occurred between 10,000 and 1500 BCE.
  • the characteristics of physical environments where settled farming communities developed between 10,000 and 1500 BCE.
  • plants and animals that were domesticated in different places around the world and relate them to specific locations.
  • how early farmers modified their environment.
  • examples of archaeological evidence of farming from the Americas, Australia, and Afroeurasia.
  • the spread of agriculture in various locations across the globe.
  • some effects of farming on human societies.
  • major characteristics of the complex societies (civilizations) that emerged in Afroeurasia during this period.
  • the life ways of the earliest city-dwellers during the period of about 3500-2500 BCE with those of neolithic farmers.
  • the changes that occurred in early complex societies in human relationships to the environment, to other humans, and to ideas.
  • the advantages and disadvantages of life in complex societies compared to earlier Neolithic societies.
  • key differences between the way of life and values of pastoral nomads and settled peoples.
  • the reasons for and consequences of the interactions between these groups.
  • characteristics of kingdoms that developed in the second millennium BCE.
  • the effects of migration and settlement on the development of languages.
  • the fundamental elements of Olmec and Chavín societies and describe their similarities and differences.
  • and evaluate an argument about the purpose of the monumental colossal heads that the Olmec built.

Skills

Students will be able to…

  • reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration in which historical developments have unfolded, and apply them to explain historical continuity and change.
  • utilize visual, mathematical, and quantitative data presented in charts, tables, pie and bar graphs, flow charts, Venn diagrams, and other graphic organizers to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative.
  • compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors, and institutions by identifying likenesses and differences.
  • support interpretations with historical evidence in order to construct closely reasoned arguments rather than facile opinions.
  • marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances and current factors contributing to contemporary problems and alternative courses of action.
  • articulate a concept of “progress” based on evidence.
  • establish temporal order in constructing historical narratives of theirown: working forward from some beginning through its development, to some end or outcome; working backward from some issue, problem, or event to explain its origins and its development over time.
  • hold interpretations of history as tentative, subject to changes as new information is uncovered, new voices heard, and new interpretations broached.
  • identify the gaps in the available records and marshal contextual knowledge and perspectives of the time and place in order to elaborate imaginatively upon the evidence, fill in the gaps deductively, and construct a sound historical interpretation.
  • interpret data presented in timelines and create timelines by designating appropriate equidistant intervals of time and recording events according to the temporal order in which they occurred.
  • draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources including:
    • photographs, paintings, cartoons, and architectural drawings;
    • novels, poetry, and plays; and,
    • folk, popular and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative.
  • hypothesize the influence of the past, including both the limitations and the opportunities made possible by past decisions.
  • formulate historical questions from encounters with historical documents, eyewitness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, historical sites, art, architecture, and other records from the past.
  • analyze primary source documents and assess their reliability as historical evidence.
  • read historical narratives imaginatively, taking into account what the narrative reveals of the humanity of the individuals and groups involved-their values, outlook, motives, hopes, fears, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • appreciate historical perspectives-
    • describing the past on its own terms, through the eyes and experiences of those who were there, as revealed through their literature, diaries, letters, debates, arts, artifacts, and the like;
    • considering the historical context in which the event unfolded-the values, outlook, options, and contingencies of that time and place;
    • avoiding “present-mindedness,” judging the past solely in terms of present-day norms and values.
  • draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries.
  • articulate a concept of “progress” based on evidence.
  • analyze primary source documents and assess their reliability as historical evidence.
  • infer characteristics of ancient societies based on archaeological evidence.

Sam Choi

Teacher, Grade 8; Science, History, and Ethics, Sixth to Eighth Grades

Mr. Choi has been teaching for over twenty years. Prior to Mustard Seed, Mr. Choi taught at a high school and a middle school for students with language based learning differences. He has also taught at an after school tutoring center and a standardized test prep center.

Over his career, Mr. Choi has taught high school Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Computer Programming, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and US and European History. He has also taught middle school PE, Health, Earth Science, Physical Science, Life Science, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, World History and Language Arts, as well as Ethics, Civics, Economics, Christian Studies and Geography.

Mr. Choi enjoys running, watching movies, and cheering for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs; he has been an avid fan of these teams since 1980.
He is married to Abby Hall Choi and is the father of Noah (MSS Class of 2027) and Jacob (MSS class of 2030).

Mr. Choi was born in Pusan, South Korea, and emigrated to the United States in 1980 with his parents and older brother and sister. He first lived in Kansas City, Kansas and then moved to San Diego, California in 1986. In 2007, Mr. Choi moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. He quickly discovered that living in Southern California does not equip one to survive anywhere outside of Southern California.

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