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中学 Cookbook Helps Teach World Geography

A new student-authored book that explores geography, 历史, and 文化 has hit the 中学 shelves. The 80-page book was created by Ashley Best-Raiten’s sixth grade 历史 class. But unlike most geography texts, this book isn’t illustrated with maps and tables of data. The book that the students worked diligently on for two months this fall is actually a cookbook. 

Grade six 历史 at Friends’ Central, which is taught through the lens of world geography, gives students the opportunity to discover how physical geography impacts 历史, 文化, 还有ag亚游手机版app个人的偏见. What does cooking have to do with world geography? Ashley (known to her students as Ms. Best) explained that the project was an opportunity to explore how geography impacts the foods we eat and how we react to other foods.

“There’s more to geography than just memorizing countries on a map,”希礼说. “The main thing you learn in sixth grade is skills. It’s all about starting to have abstract thought, 跳出思维定式, and starting to apply your knowledge. Geography provides a great framework to practice all of that.”

中学 Principal Alexa Quinn said that, 大约六年前, the 中学 历史 program began a shift away from survey courses toward thematic learning. 她说, “We felt it connected well with our 较低的学校 and it would help students make more connections across disciplines and do more critical thinking about 历史.” 

Alexa noted that the lens of world geography fits well with her 中学 students. “So many of us have our own stories of migration in our families, 或移民, 或被迫迁移, so it gives students a lot more access points to tell their own stories and to think about their families and to hear about the identities and stories of other families.”

Ashley began the project by showing the class a recipe for cuy without explaining what it was. The students guessed that cuy may be rabbit. Ashley observed, “They didn't want to try it but weren't disgusted by it. When they learned it was actually guinea pig, there were gasps and exclamations. 所以ag亚游手机版app把它拆开. Why is guinea pig horrifying to eat - ‘It's a pet!——但是兔子没事?“通过讨论, the students concluded that since rabbit is a part of European and Western cuisine, 感觉更熟悉. 

“One of our overarching themes for the year is ‘Be curious, 没有评判,——沃尔特·惠特曼,”希礼说. “I told the students that when something startles or shocks us, let's explore why and why the reaction might be different for someone from a different nation or 文化.”

随着项目的继续, students were asked to share a family recipe or look one up that they considered to be from a place of origin for one of their ancestors. The first task was to look at the ingredients and answer the questions: where are these ingredients from, and what can we tell about the geographic themes of human/environment interaction and movement from these ingredients? 

“Kuri Kington is made on my mom’s side from Japan,” sixth grader Julia Epps wrote in her recipe. “Chestnut originated in Asia Minor and is believed to be firstly introduced by the Ancient Greeks. 有趣的是, the iconic Japanese sweet potatoes originated in China, meaning this recipe has traveled a lot. Asia Minor, China, Japan, America… That’s a lot of movement!”

The project culminated in the creation of a printed and bound cookbook which the students brought home to their families. “The book was entirely student-generated. They selected, edited, and proofread their own recipes,”希礼说. “It was a great way for them to get them thinking about our unconscious cultural biases and begin to think geographically when they approach new 文化s in our future explorations.”

“All of the skills they’re learning now translate nicely, so by the time they get through the 中学 program they’re really ready for 上学校 History.”

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