SBG in My History Classroom Part 5a: Assessing the Standards

With our curriculum map done (at least in draft form), my team’s next step in the backwards design process is to design the assessments we will use to asses our standards. I’m posting plans here to get feedback, ideas, and to share. These will show up in no particular order. Here are two projects which interconnect at different points in the year.

Project #2: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Time Travel Tour Co.

Unit: Belief Systems

Essential Question: How do people make sense of their world?

Standards/Understandings:

  • Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances and contemporary factors contributing to problems and alternative courses of action.
  • Identify relevant historical antecedents and differentiate from those that are inappropriate and irrelevant to contemporary issues.

(Before they get this, scenes from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure will be used as a hook)
Part 1:

After their travels through time, Bill and Ted have decided to start a business: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Time Travel Tour Co. Their first customers are a group from the United Nations who want to try and find solutions to current problems caused by religious tensions. Bill & Ted have hired you, because you are totally awesome, to plan the tour for the UN members. You will have to take them to three key moments in history to help them understand the current conflict. Before they go on the tour, you will have to provide them with a preview of what they can expect to see, which will include:

  • The time and place to which they will travel
  • A description of the relevant groups or individuals they will see
  • An explanation of why this event is important to help understand the current conflict

You will be assigned a group to create a tour for one of the following conflicts:

  • Israel/Palestine
  • Catholics/Protestants in Norther Ireland
  • India/Pakistan
  • Sunni/Shiite
  • West/Islamic Fundamentalism
  • Christians/Muslims in Sudan
  • Serbs/Muslims in Bosnia

Part 2:

The UN Members were so impressed with your tour, that they want your advice on how to stop the current conflict. Write them a letter where you summarize what steps should be taken to solve the conflict. Be sure to explain how your first hand experience of history helped you come up with this plan, as well as what the religions have in common to help them understand the other side.

Project #7: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Time Travel Tour Co. – The Sequel

Unit: End of Year Review
Essential Question: How did we get here?
Standards/Understandings:

  • Challenge arguments of historical inevitability by formulating examples of historical contingency, of how different choices could have led to different consequences.
  • Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances and contemporary factors contributing to problems and alternative courses of action.
  • Identify relevant historical antecedents and differentiate from those that are inappropriate and irrelevant to contemporary issues.

Part 1:

Bill & Ted were so awesomely impressed with your work, that they want to hire you to design tours that they can market to schools with students who don’t think history matters. Last time, they came to you with a specific problem people needed to know more about. Now, they want you to identify a problem that you think students will care about. Once you’ve identified this problem, you will have to come up with 5 different moments in history to take the students to help them understand the current problem. We don’t want to bore any students, so there needs to be variety in your selections: you need to take students to at least 3 different continents, in 3 different time periods. In choosing your 5 moments, you can either choose moments that directly led to the current problem (like the Berlin Conference to help people understand the underdevelopment of Africa during Colonialism) or moments that give similar examples from history (like to a port city during the Black Plague to help people understand the AIDS crisis).

Before they go on the tour, you will have to provide them with a preview of what they can expect to see, which will include:

  • The time and place to which they will travel
  • A description of the relevant groups or individuals they will see
  • An explanation of why this event is important to help understand the current conflict

Finally, because this is a new tour, you’ll have to help Bill & Ted get people to sign up for it by creating a poster (perhaps using Glogster?). Your poster needs to include all the information you’ve assembled, but most importantly, it needs to convince people that the problem you have identified is important and interesting.
Part 2:You saw the presentation one of your classmates came up with, and realized something: if you went on their tour, you could prevent one of the current problems we now have in the world. Unfortunately, you are not allowed out of the phone booth during the time travel tour, but you are pretty sure you could sneak a letter through the crease. Your job then, is to choose two of your classmates’ posters. For each one, choose one important person from one of the events, and write them a letter explaining what they should do or say in the situation that they are in. Explain what will happen to history depending on their actions at that moment.

Next Steps:

These need rubrics and examples.

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