Monday, September 22, 2014

Stolen Childhood

Close up

Analyzing the documents for our exhibit was very important, We had to read the source and then find how it tied into our topic of child labor and what the information told us about it. In our exhibit on child labor we had six documents. There's a table with information about the ages of factory workers, a written account of factory conditions, pictures of things they had to go through with descriptions, and official legal statements about it from the time. When making the exhibit we put these sources in order based on the time they were about so it would go in chronological order. The title "Stolen Childhood" came from brainstorming the main idea of child labor. We came to the conclusion that these kids didn't get to do childlike things and had to intensely work as if they were adults, that their childhoods were stolen by this system. It goes with our chained documents and neutral color scheme to show sadness. We hope people who see our exhibit learn the bad side of the Industrial Revolution. In all the new inventions and societal changes the children who suffered because of it must be recognized and we hope visitors will know that it was not a fun time for many of the people living through it.

It was fun to see the other exhibits too. I liked seeing what each group did differently and how they presented their information. All the groups' exhibits were hung up around in a square area so when walking around from where mine was I saw the exhibit on slavery in the industrial revolution. I liked how the group had a big wheel to spin to read the information with their title "Behind the Scenes" right in the middle and the images around the poster to better get their point across. I felt this topic was similar to ours since it was also about the hidden suffering of laborers in the Industrial Revolution.
Next, I saw "Tearing Down Families" an exhibit that showed the evolution of looms during the industrial revolution. It talked about how industrialization was impacting families of the time. The title is useful because it keeps the focus of their sources and information on the people of the time so you weren't just reading facts but thinking about how the actual people felt.
Unlike the more serious topics the poster on transportation called "All Aboard" was fun and colorful. It used train tracks and rivers to connect the information. The two types of drawing around it show the two main focuses of transportation during the industrial revolution, the locomotive and steam boat. There's a picture of a steam engine at the top which shows how it works and powers the two inventions.
The last exhibit taught me about the negative impact of the Industrial Revolution on the general people. Over-industrialization caused much poverty for families. The factories also dumped waste into the river causing pollution of the waters.
The exhibits we made were a great way for us to learn about the side of industrialization that is often hidden by the new ideas and creations and it was good to be creative in our showcase of the information.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Most Revolutionary Revolution

There have been lots of revolutions throughout history which have impacted people far into the future, but the one that has changed our lives the most is probably the industrial revolution. Recently, my history class watched John Green's CrashCourse video on the Industrial Revolution and discussed exactly how the "Industrial Revolution" was, in fact, revolutionary.

The Industrial Revolution was possible because of changes and advancements in the technology, people, resources, and transportation around the time of the 17-1850s. The most radical developments however were brought about by the innovations in technology which gave us the real catalyst for all of this, the steam engine. The steam engine was used to power all sorts of new machines and is still used for energy today. The first steam engine, created by Thomas Newcomen, was used to pump water out of mines. It was powered by coal and also made coal more accessible as a resource. Coal was an essential fuel in the making of machines out of metals such as iron. Iron was also improved upon around this time, it became a stronger and less expensive material, making it popular for the construction of railroads when they increased in use later.

Even wizards use steam engines.
 (Screenshot from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
The industrial revolution was successful because all parts of it worked together and happened at the same time. Thanks to the steam engine and better iron, steam powered transportation made it possible to transport goods further and faster than ever. The invention of the steam locomotive opened the door to cities being located on land instead of just along major waterways. With these faster and more efficient ways of transporting goods, food and other perishable items were able to be produced somewhere else and then sent to cities. A wider assortment of foods were available and fresh so people got better nutrition and became healthier.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Using The Internet Properly For Education

For students the internet can be very useful to find information and helpful facts. However, it is a waste of time to search things on Google if you don't know how to use it or check the websites it gives you. In class we did two activities in order to search effectively and use online resources correctly.

The first thing we did was Google A Day, a sort of online scavenger hunt where Google gives you three very specific, very random questions and you have to scour the internet for the answers. To make sure you can't cheat it provides you with a search bar that only brings up what would've shown up before the game was created. It is quite frustrating and very difficult especially with the timer counting up and turning from green to red the longer you take to find the answer. It teaches you how to search better to find specifically what you are looking for and narrow down the results that would come up. I learned to figure out what I am looking for exactly, a person, event, article, before trying to find the whole answer.

Now after you find a website with information on your topic, you must make sure it is a good source to use. A good source is accurate, authentic, and reliable. Accuracy is how correct and precise the information is, while authenticity describes the source, does it come from who it says it does, does the site do what it claims to do; and finally, reliability, is the author or publisher trusted to know their stuff and be both authentic and accurate. To see the what the words truly meant in regards to a real website we looked up information on the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. The website seems very well researched, with many pages, links, pictures, headings and a bunch of real official looking text boxes. But once you go to a page and start to read the information and look at the pictures, it quickly becomes apparent that the creature is made up and that the pictures are of toy octopi thrown in trees.
Clicking on the link to the author of the site brings even more doubt, as the page looks like something out of a children's secret agent game.
By now it is obvious this is a sham and cannot be used as a source for anything. The website cannot be accurate since the animal it gives information on doesn't exist, and it obviously is not reliable if the author wrote his own false information about himself. But it may still be authentic, it does what it says it does, informs people about the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How to Teach Well and Improve Mankind

As a student in my second year of high school I have had many different teachers, some I've liked, some I've disliked and many more in between. For me, the better teachers, to start with, have a good handle on their subject matter. A teacher who knows more than just specifically what they are told to teach us is great because they can explain the information in many ways, approach it from different angles, connect it to more things, and help us learn our way around the subject in a way that is easiest for us. Sometimes you get teachers who explain things in the one way they know how to and when you ask a question or need it said a different way you end up confusing them and getting even more lost yourself. My best teachers have been the type of people who are very passionate about their job. Teachers who are enthusiastic about what they teach tend to know what they're talking about and try their hardest to make their students interested in it too. However, they have to love the teaching aspect as well because if they only like the subject and hate most behaviors that teenagers are prone to, they end up getting angry or irritable, making us upset and uninterested. It is great when teachers are patient and understand that we, one, don't know nearly as much about the subject as they do, and two, probably have a different learning style from them. Just because it works for one person doesn't mean it works for everyone. What would make this year better is if teachers did not assign as much after school work. We have jobs now, on top of sports, clubs, friends, school, and getting eight hours of sleep while getting up at 6 am. Homework should be used to help us practice or review important concepts and information, not for us to learn on our own or just to keep us busy, because trust me, we're already busy.

I think John Green is right in that we do need to use our education to benefit the world. If we don't do anything new and exciting then there was really no reason for us to be forced into taking math courses in high school that our parents took in college. Humans as a species have been improving since before recorded time. Each generation builds upon the ideas and discoveries of those before them. Obviously we're gonna do the same. However, advancing the evolution of mankind is a bit big for a high school student to strive for so my goals for the year are to simply better myself. I would like to maybe do my homework more often than I did last year, draw more, get stronger, be nicer to people. I can do these things by simply focusing and putting in the effort to try, although it is much easier when the people in charge of teaching me how to do these things teaches well. If I get smarter and work harder then, as a human myself, I am helping to improve people as a whole and the world we live in.