It’s 2016 and classroom instruction sure is changing at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. Social studies teachers Mike McCabe and Angela Whitfield recently taught their first lesson utilizing Chromebooks and the seventh graders involved loved it.
Laptop computers known as Chromebooks run the Chrome operating system. They are typically utilized while connected to the Internet. Almost all of their applications and stored data rest in the “cloud,” as a remote storage site is known in computer-speak.
While the lesson might be lost on those of us far removed from seventh grade units of study, it carried a great deal of meaning for the Finley students.
“We are trying to save them from the Zombie Apocalypse,” said Ms. Whitfield about the first lesson using the Chromebooks. “Ten cities are safe for now. They have to use the educational tool known as the Five Themes of Geography to research their location and one other city. Students will then make a claim and determine which city will be the safest to be in and survive the attack, using the research to defend their answer. Will they survive or perish?”
It’s a little more complicated than it sounds. Developed by the National Council for Geographic Education, the themes “provide an organizing framework for the presentation of geographic materials.”
The Five Themes include:
1. Location: Position on the Earth’s Surface (Absolute/Relative)
2. Place: Physical and Human Characteristics
3. Human/Environment Interactions: Shaping the Landscape
4. Movement: Humans Interacting on the Earth
5. Regions: How They Form and Change
Many more lessons utilizing the Chromebooks will follow at Finley in coming weeks.