Contemporary literature gives readers a look at progressive writing styles that often reflect the world in which the works were written. Although often reserved for English or writing courses, recent novels can also be used in secondary social studies classrooms to teach about current events, political themes, economics, sociology, or even history.
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.
An impactful memoir has long-lasting effects on its reader. For high school students, a real story about the struggles of humanity and strength of the human spirit helps them connect with history and see the world from a different perspective.
The United States has been involved in trade wars with nations around the world in recent years. Instead of weapons, these “wars” are waged with tariffs, taxes on imported or exported goods.
Classic literature is often reserved for English or Writing courses, but in secondary social studies classrooms, historical novels written about specific eras and themes can have as much merit as a traditional textbook. Teachers can use the following examples as a guide to teach their students social studies themes, including politics, government, sociology, and various historical eras.
Popular culture is the culture of the majority or the masses of people in a society—what a large part of a population believes or does, and objects representing beliefs or activities within that society. In the modern world, popular culture is spread and advertised by mass media through the internet and social media; television, movies, and radio; and printed books, magazines, and newspapers.
The Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries transformed technology, the economy, and daily life. Today, we are living in the midst of a technological and internet revolution. While the terms for this modern transformation vary somewhat (information technology revolution, fourth industrial revolution, globalization, social media revolution), the impact on our daily lives is undeniable. The impact of our modern revolution may seem unique in the span of human history. However, many of these seemingly new trends are part of a much longer story of change. The following three examples can be useful in connecting the past to the present.
Going viral is the rapid spread of information, not diseases. The phrase entered the English language in the late 1980s and is usually associated with the internet, email, or social media but can also refer to information spread by word of mouth.