Reading Revolutions: Ideas for Teaching

Learning Activities

History Activities:  Creating a Sense of Time and Place

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While this is not a new method, it is an effective one.  The students can create short plays surrounding the debate and actions incorporated in the works.  King George can have a rousing argument with George Washington about the role of the colonies and their responsibilities to the crown.

Mary Wollstonecraft can try to convince the wife of a nobleman to become an activist for women's rights.

Galileo meets secretly with other scientists of the time to discuss the new and wonderful things they are discovering about nature.

State versus Federal powers should lend itself to some interesting debates.  The Federalist papers contain lively discussions about matters that still concern us.  Should education be standardized across the country or should there be local control?  What if each state had its own money?

What would Emerson say if he were to visit your classroom? The students can have various "guest" speakers -- as they work to portray them, they should explore the implications of the ideas for their lives today.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo provides the opportunity for students to explore social conditions and the effects on the behavior of individuals.  Les Miserables can help fill in the background of the Industrial Revolution for the students.  They should enjoy it, it's a better plot than TV's "Law and Order."

Marilyn Shea
Professor of Psychology
University of Maine at Farmington