Here’s a visual organizer for building quick context in orientation in time and space in a case study or unit of inquiry. It is not only for sciences – it could easily be applied to other subjects with the intention of contributing to a sense of international mindedness and global engagement (IMaGE). The simple goal is for triplets of students to complete collaborative rapid research around the case: Why Them, Why There, Why Then? Click for pdf. This has been tested in rough drafts, and I’d love for some others to try it out and give feedback.
- Recent (or significant) discoveries or events (in the news, science, etc)
- The Human Genome Project: Who was involved and why them? Where did it happen and why there? Why then and not before?
- Antoni van Leeuwenhoek discovering animalcules. Why him? Where there? Why then? Why not other people, places or times
- LangLit: Explore the author, location and time
- I used it for a cover lesson on Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, with a group of students who had almost no prior knowledge.
- I&S: Considering a significant development, event or innovation
- Service Learning Cycle: An entry point into the “Research” phase of the cycle and determining reasons, needs and causes (thanks @AlisonKIS).
This is not a tool for in-depth research (though it could be expanded outwards). It is intended to get a quick, reliable orientation in time and space around a case study and the people or organisations involved.
Some great tools for this include Google Maps, Google Cultural Institute, Google Images, Wikipedia, Biography.com, On This Day (History.com), Charity Navigator and many more.
Also Wolfram|Alpha: People & History, Places & Geography, Socioeconomics, compare countries, compare companies and much more. See Stephen’s page on databases & Wolfram|Alpha here.
The results can be synthesised into further lines of inquiry (to use more rigorous research), but this should give students a vision of the case. What cultural or contextual cues can they recognise? How might this activate further connection and questioning?