This Week in Reading and Social Studies

 The Senior Walnuts continued with the Cold War this week. On Monday the group began the day reviewing by discussing the Essential Question, “Why do competing world powers come into conflict?” After an engaging discussion, the students broke up to work on their individual projects. They will begin presenting next week!

On Tuesday, the group investigated the Red Scare and McCarthyism by exploring varied websites and printed out text. As they were researching, they began discussing the EQ, “To what extent was fear a factor in the Cold War?” The students worked with peers, sharing their discoveries and continuing the EQ discussion. After the group came together, we brought the discussion whole-group and added the EQ, “What other events in history were partially fear-based?”


Wednesday brought an exploration of new technologies developed during the Cold War, always a class favorite! The class began by sharing technologies they had already discovered through their various class readings and independent research, they worked together to begin a list. After learning that the microwave was accidentally invented as a scientist was working on radar detection to be used in the self-defense of our country, the group began delving into seeing what other technologies they could discover. As technologies were discovered, they were added to the board and briefly discussed and shared with the group. They were amazing at how many technologies they discovered that were originally developed for battle or self-defense projects and are now still used in our everyday lives! They self-recorded their favorites and then reflected on what life would be like today without a particular technology/technologies. 

The Senior Walnuts ended the week by using what they’ve learned about the era to analyze political cartoons from the Cold War. They randomly chose a cartoon and, using peer collaboration, analyzed the text and image. From such topics as the arms race, to the Red Scare/McCarthyism, to the irony of the amazing amount of nuclear weapons amassed on both sides without a “hot” war ever erupting, the students explored and discussed these primary documents.

In social studies, the Juniors finished up the Civil Rights unit as we added new leaders and stimulating essential questions. We reviewed by defining the Civil Rights moment again. As each student added words to the word bubble, the definition unfolded as 'a fight for freedom and equality for all’. The week started by rewinding back to the abolition of slavery as Susan B. Anthony was re-introduced. The students discussed how the end of slavery was one of the true beginnings of the Civil Rights moment. As the students read passages in their reading groups about Susan B. Anthony, they began to discover that Susan B. Anthony was a determined African American women who fought nonviolently for equal rights for all women. They each answered a set of comprehension questions based on the content they read. They were asked, "How was the Women's Suffrage Movement similar to the African American Civil Rights Movement? Different? Is there still a Civil Rights Movement going on today for African Americans? Women? Other groups?”

The next day Mary McLeod Bethune was recognized as an African American women who used her creativity to start a school for black children so they could get a good education like their white peers. At that time, schools for blacks were scarce and the ones that existed were inadequate. After reading on Ms. Bethune, watching a video clip and answering question the students discussed, "What is creativity? How could Mary McCleod Bethune have used creativity to help a school grow larger? How could you use creativity to help something grow?” The week concluded with the study of Eleanor Roosevelt who we learned was a determined woman who believed all people should be treated fairly no matter where they lived, how much money they had, their gender or their race. The students read about Eleanor and answered aligned comprehension questions. They were asked, "Do you think al people should be treated fairly al the time? Why? Is there ever an exception? Do you think that public assistance by the government helps less fortunate citizens or hurts them? Why?"