Humanities Newsletter

News for the Month of October

The Enlightenment

We covered the Age of Enlightenment in late October. Students learned about many of the great thinkers of the era, like Ben Franklin, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, and Adam Smith. In a scavenger hunt activity at the beginning of the unit, some accomplishments and ideas of these important Enlightenment thinkers were printed on sheets around the school; students were expected to match the idea to the thinker based on the location of the sheets in the school. Riddles that hinted to the locations were given as a clue next to each person's name.

Later on in the unit, students viewed, discussed, and took notes on a thorough presentation that contained information on all aspects of the Enlightenment; from the Renaissance to the very dawn of science in the world. Students were also assigned projects in which they chose their own enlightenment thinker and then created a mock Facebook page for this person. The students enjoyed the activity as it was a new and unique way to learn the material. This project also allowed students to involve a certain creative aspect into their work.

Tuesday's With Morrie

Throughout this month, the freshman class read Tuesdays with Morrie, a book by Mitch Albom. In this true story, Mitch (the author of the book) revisits his old college professor, Morrie. Morrie had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) years after Mitch graduated. ALS is a disease that slowly paralyzes the human body.

Years after Mitch and Morrie's friendship during college, Mitch had almost forgotten about his old professor If not for an interview with Morrie that he coincidentally saw on TV, Mitch might have never gotten back in touch with him. Mitch visits Morrie to say his last goodbyes before it’s too late. More meetings follow, and eventually Mitch is visiting Morrie every Tuesday to talk about the meaning of life. Morrie, being more insightful on the topic, teaches Mitch about how he should deal with the important ideas and problems in life. As the students read the book, they recorded important quotes from the story and how they believed they were meaningful. This story is a great read and and inspires people to think about human nature in a different, more positive way.

Crime Scene Investigation

Near the beginning of the month, a unit on Crime Scene Investigation started. To head off the unit, an activity with the AM team was arranged in which students spent half the day in a mock Investigation: The Murder of Dolly Thump. A full crime scene was arranged in the Bow High School's auditorium, and the students were to take detailed notes on evidence and to interview the many people involved with the case. The crime scene was a trashed, burned apartment with various items scattered around such as a matchbox, an empty can of gasoline, and a syringe. There were many roles that were acted out by various teachers, including the victim's roommate, the owner of a gun shop, and the victim of heist previously pulled by the murderer. There were various, staged places the students could search for evidence and information, such the apartment of the victim, the morgue, the gun shop, and the police station.

The evidence was arranged and planted so the students could form an educated conclusion as to the identity of the culprit. A list of known criminals in the area could be found in the police station, and it was utilized as a guide to the identity of a described suspect. As a whole, this activity stimulated the students' observation, question forming, and inferring skills.

The Holocaust

At the very beginning of October, as the humanities class was transitioning out of the Holocaust unit, a holocaust survivor by the name of Mr. Weisshous visited the BHS as a guest speaker to talk about his experiences during the war. He narrated his life as a young Jewish person during the Holocaust, and his escape to the United States. His story served as an excellent closure to the unit, and served as a firsthand exposure that, in a way, really personalized the war for the students.