Sunday, November 5, 2017

Teaching Context and Synthesis

Teaching context or synthesis? Here's a short documentary on the impact of the Columbian Exchange that does a great job with both. 

I showed about 20 minutes of “When World’s Collide: the Columbian Exchange” and was able to point out to students a definition of context and synthesis, and  even a way to write a CCOT thesis.

After talking about contact in the New World, the host goes back to Spain and to Ferdinand and Isabella. He then provides context for Spain on the eve of exploration reminding us of wars of religion and the Catholic conviction of Ferdinand and Isabella. He then ties this context back to exploration saying that their religious conviction will have an impact on exploration and the New World.

We examined synthesis twice. First, the host notes that many indigenous Americans held on to some indigenous beliefs despite conversion to Catholicism. Where did this kind of thing happen in another part of the world? How about Islam moving into Africa?

Later in the video, the host describes the impact of the Potosi silver mines on Spain. We related the inflation on Spain to the inflation on Egypt when Mansa Musa made his pilgrimage centuries earlier.

Finally, the host notes that despite many changes with contact, some continuities in indigenous culture continued. I stopped the clip and reminded the kids that he just made a perfect CCOT thesis and asked them too look for evidence.

When Worlds Collide on Vimeo.

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