I don’t think Social Studies has ever been a favourite subject of mine, but it looks like that might change this year. Socials has always been tedious, studying about people of the past, but this year we’re taking a different approach. Blogging is totally and completely new to me, but I think I’ll enjoy it very much.
In the past we studied a lot on history- emphasis on the “what” and “how” of things but never the “why.” I got to learn about the Renaissance and the World Wars, ancient civilizations, Hitler and the Holocaust, and the poverty cycle and GDP. We used the program Gapminder to see the different economic situations in various countries over time.
Image courtesy of gapminder.org
When the elections rolled around last year, my teacher wanted all of us to compile and put together an elections scrapbook that gave a basic overview of the 2015 election. If you want to see my elections scrapbook, click on the link here.
Right now I could say that I don’t know very much about economics and sociology. I can confidently say that I’ve studied anthropology before, because we learned a lot on the Ancient Greek culture when I was grade 6. It was a pretty fun unit to do; we got to dress up as Ancient Greeks at the end of the year and we held a job fair. We also learned about the Ancient Mayans as a class. Independently I got to learn about Ancient Japan and study about what life was like for the Ancient Japanese.
By far what interests me the most out of all these subtopics is philosophy. I love the ambiguity and the endless questions asked. It does scare me thinking that even after thousands of years we’ve never answered a lot of these questions but at the same time it enthralls me. In fact, my favourite book, Sophie’s World, is all about the history of philosophy told from the perspective of a fourteen-year-old girl just like me. I think about how brilliant Ancient Greek philosophers were, trying to figure out how our world worked when most of the people were relying on (probably) nonexistent gods to solve their problems for them.
Image courtesy of goodreads.com
This year, however, I hope to learn more about the topics I don’t know very much about yet. I also hope to gain an interest in said topics such as economics and sociology. I’d like to look at philosophy more in-depth as well, since the subject is incredibly lofty and a lot of it goes over my head. Although it may sound like I didn’t enjoy history before- I actually love it! I think it’s interesting to see history repeating itself even now. But this year I want to be able to see why things happen instead of how they happened.
I think that Socials is very interesting because we get to see how things unfolded, how the people before us ran the world. We get to see the cumulative buildup of thousands of years of effort to get our world to what it is now. We can see how much we’ve progressed and how much didn’t change, the similarities and differences between then and now.
As you can probably tell at this point, I’m very enthusiastic about philosophy and the philosophers behind it. A major player in this newfound interest was the aforementioned Sophie’s World. I love to read, and when reading is like learning it’s a win-win situation. I got to see what the philosophers of the past thought about our world, and it was fascinating.
I’ve also enjoyed learning about mythology, Greek in particular, because as whimsical as it may seem it’s still incredibly interesting. It provides a nice balance with philosophy since it provides a different explanation for natural occurrences in our world.
To me the most difficult part was memorizing information, which was a big part of previous academic endeavors. It was not terribly interesting, and in fact quite difficult. For me, the dates were just a jumble of numbers and I would often confuse them with each other.
We talked about Trump a bit, and I thought it was pretty interesting to see what role he plays in the world of politics. Though I don’t know/care about politics, this was actually kind of fun. We got to talk about Columbus and see behind all of the “he discovered America!” stuff. And the excerpt we read from Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States was an eye-opener. Before all I knew about Columbus was that he was a pretty bad guy who didn’t even discover America. But we can find that greed is what drove him to sail across the treacherous seas and torment the locals there.
But too many of the slaves died in captivity. And so Columbus, desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, had to make good his promise to fill the ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.
It’s interesting that we found other people adequate payment less than 600 years ago. I assume that these Indians were completely self-made unlike Columbus who was spoon-fed by the nobility of his country. Anyways, I thought that it was interesting to go more in-depth with history unlike before. I guess this is the end of my first blog post- it’s gotten quite long.
GIF courtesy of giphy.com
*all the titles were typed in bold because there is no underlining feature.