Capitalism, socialism, and communism are three key concepts in social studies, with complex definitions and complicated histories. Explaining these concepts in the classroom is muddled even more by how these words are used in modern media. The meaning is often obscured by political alliances and deliberate attempts to mislead.
Social studies teachers hold the key to our future.
Before the computer revolution, cut and paste required scissors and glue. This method originally required scissors to clip information from a newspaper or magazine and glue so the clipping could be attached to paper and saved, shared, or reprinted. In the twenty-first century, the phrase cut and paste has evolved to describe digital methods of replicating information. As students depend more and more on digital information in the classroom, what are the implications of modern cutting and pasting?
In our modern world, different groups are seeking to make changes in their society. Protests, violent and nonviolent, come in many forms. The story of England’s seventeenth-century Diggers is a contrast to many historical uprisings because it was peaceful and its participants hoped to reform the economy of their nation and create an agrarian utopia.
Collective memory, or social memory, is how a group of people remember and forget the past. Individuals and societies base self-understanding and decision-making on past experiences. However, how accurately do we really remember? What do we choose to forget? What is the impact of false or incorrect memories?
In the summer of 1381, working people in England were enraged, and for two months they made their voices heard by forming armed groups, marching on several towns and London, destroying the property of hated government officials, and burning tax records.
Urban legends, referred to by folklorists as contemporary legends, are fictional stories claimed to be true. Myths and legends from throughout history often contain an underlying warning about a potential danger to avoid.
Etymology, the study of the origin of words and how the meanings of words change over time, is just as relevant in social studies as it is in English classes. When words appear in a language, how words evolve and change, and when words are discarded tell a wider social, political, economic, or cultural story. For students learning social studies, the benefits of learning these words can be immense, and serve to build essential skills.
Quacks love health crises, and the COVID-19 virus has become very lucrative for people who make claims about unscientific cures. In recent months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warnings to several companies who are promoting fraudulent products. These companies deceptively claim their products can treat or cure the virus. Modern teas, oils, and other treatments are not scientifically proven to be effective, yet customers are desperate enough to fall for these “curative” products. This isn't to say holistic and alternative medicines do not have healing properties for some, but overall the efficacy of these products and practices is largely unproven by evidence-based research.