Researching Chicago

Today we begin our newest research project:

As stated in the letter above, our goals are two-fold and simple:

  1. Develop our Research Skills.
  2. Teach the class about a facet of Chicago history and culture.

For general historical information, photos and facts:

For information on skyscrapers, buildings and landmarks:

For information on the 77 different neighborhoods of Chicago:

Detailed Photographs:
or try searching here:

A Timeline of Chicago’s History:

Alphabetical Listing of Landmarks and Skysrapers, Past and Present:


Homework, 10/19

As a reminder:

Students are writing summaries of Chicago’s early history (origins).  They should show mastery of this information, knowing how events and inventions relate to one another (without dates) and identifying at least 10 events or pieces of Chicago history to write about.

The main resource should be your movie notes, re-organized notes and mind-map work.  You should be able to easily recall 10 facts regarding Chicago’s origins.

Mind Mapping Update

After reorganizing our notes, we’ve spent the last 2 days drawing out Chicago’s Origins.  Students may bring them home today, but they will have class time to complete them.  They should be complete tomorrow, and then we will do an activity to wrap up our learning of the Origins and Early History.

Here is one student’s work in progress (Vaishnavi P.):


British Colonies in America

As we move towards the Revolution in the next few days, we must first remind ourselves how the colonies grew in America.  Yesterday, students were responsible for reading and outlining a particular section of the text covering this.  Today, they will meet in groups with students that did the same section and “teach” it to the class via skit, song, poster, or other creative measure.  Students will need to complete this worksheet during these presentations.  This is likely to take up not only class today, but a bit tomorrow as well.

Notetaking 101

As we begin the American Revolution, we’re also reviewing how to take notes via outlines.  It’s a very simple process we use, organize information into sections.  Of course, history isn’t so compartmentalized, but this is a good way to basically organize new and old information.  Here is an example of an outline that we created together in class.

For homework – students need to read and outline a particular section.  We’re reviewing the events leading up to the American Revolution, so each group will have a section.  It is as follows:

  1. Group 1 reads and outlines pages 93-97
  2. Group 2 = 102-07
  3. Group 3 = 108-12
  4. Group 4 = 113-19
  5. Group 5 = 125-30

Bart and Lisa’s Lessons on Government

Today in class, we watched (an edited) part of the Simpsons (Season 9, “Das Bus”). The episode leaves the students of Springfield Elementary stranded on an island with no adults, thus simulating a State of Nature, something we’ve talked about all week. Here you can find the Simpsons Worksheet students completed while we discussed and watched it in segments. Below are scenes from the episode, each of which capture Locke’s ideas of why we need government. Understanding this is critical as we begin to discuss our government (Constitution). Locke’s ideas are seen throughout it.

First, everyone thinks a "State of Nature" means absolute freedom and fun.  They'll have monkey butlers, coconut nintendos and feasts.
At first, everyone thinks a "State of Nature" means absolute freedom. They dream of monkey butlers, fabulous treehouses and feasts...
However, reality sets in and the students realize they must survive...
However, reality sets in and the students realize they must survive...
The weak are taken advantage of...
The weak are taken advantage of...
And "the people" riot against the erroneous actions of a government they did not give consent to...
And "the people" revolt against an erroneous "government" they did not give consent to.
And a "social contract" reminds them of the rules of society.  The students eventually survive by eating a wild boar!
A "social contract" reminds them of society's rules and actions.

The episode ends with students eating a wild boar to survive, but our lessons of the weak are illustrated beautifully within the rest of the episode:

  1. State of Nature (SON) fails because even if most people are good, one or two bad people (Nelson) change everything.
  2. SON fails because since nobody has rights, and we’re all in danger (lack of food, shelter).
  3. SON fails because the weaker (Millhouse) are abused, with few to stand up for them.
  4. SON fails because the government was not chosen or agreed to by the people – without consent – and the people revolt at it’s failure (end scene – “MEOWWW!”).

Since a SON cannot exist, people must create governments. And to do that, they must:

  1. Give that government permission to rule them via consent (i.e. Constitution, elections, etc. ).
  2. A social contract must be written to form an agreement between the people and the government. Since people cannot protect all of their rights without one, the government agrees to protect their natural rights (life, liberty, and property), even if it means giving up absolute freedom (driving 100 miles per hour).

This pretty much summarizes our class discussions and activities for the week. Please see “We the People,” pages 13-19 for more information.

And finally… for fun:


Go Banana!!!!