I have CD-ROMs for the kids' history and science; however, the history one is lacking in visual aids thus far. It wants us to "talk about" the importance of the past and what a historian does. I love history, but YAWN. So to illustrate the abstraction of The Past, I took a roll of toilet paper and, with a marker, drew a 12-piece "pie" on the end. Each piece of the pie was a month.
"This is the year, and it goes around. You will often see time stretched out like this [pull end of roll and extend a flat piece of TP here], but it can also be thought of as going around, making layers as it goes. The Vikings were around about a thousand turns ago. Madelyn's has been with us almost eight turns."
"What's the hole in the middle?" Madelyn asks.
"The Big Bang," (Other answers could include "God" or "The Void".)
We talked about "bias," how each person remembers differently. Each of us was here last year for Madelyn's birthday, but my version of that day is not her version nor is it like Nate's version. To illustrate bias, I found a link to the Chicago Fire of 1871. The CD-ROM prompted this example, but it was all wordy, so I found another site with crackling fire sound effects and a changing map that shows how the fire had spread.
Sensational destruction aside, our lesson for the day was how the fire started. Apparently, no one knows for certain, but Mrs. O'Leary and her cow get the popular credit. One site said the reporter who got the by-line made up the cow part to make his account interesting. There are several theories about the fire's origin--party-goers, flaming debris from space, Mrs. O'Leary herself (not the cow). Despite not knowing the facts, the *truth* is that some people's claims are taken as fact. Mind your assumptions; watch your opinionated tongue. It could make history and destroy a reputation.
What was the "true" story of Madelyn's birthday party? Mine? Nate's? Hers? We all saw a different side of it--that's what. Same for history.
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