How did long-term advantages in such things as geography, cultivable plants and domesticable animals, and material resources help to promote the technological advancement of civilizations?
Pretty impressive ask for a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds, right?
But the learning doesn’t stop there. Because then I swoop in to work with the students on how to sculpt an exciting tale from their factual research, thus turning the history classroom into an interdisciplinary laboratory that marries fact and fiction.
I’ve been plotting my visit all week. And here, in a nutshell, is the plan:
Step One: Genre Study
Step Three: Offering &
No one can produce a great tale without a little help, however. So I will also encourage students to organize writing support groups, and I’ll teach them how to offer each other feedback throughout the creative writing process. I'm going to model my tried-and-true method for offering constructive critique by reading from my own current manuscript, LEGEND OF THE PLANT HUNTERS, and asking students to use it to critique me. (Don't worry about me. I can take it.)
As it happens, LEGEND OF THE PLANT HUNTERS includes many scenes of 16th-18th century Europeans in the Americas. European plant hunters tagged along on numerous expeditions to measure the earth's circumference or to chart the course of great rivers. While their fellow engineers, cartographers, and astronomers were busy discovering trade routes and proving the mathematical breakthroughs of their day, the plant hunters risked life and limb to seek out the world’s far-flung natural treasures and bring them back to their kings.
They were the original Indiana Joneses. Their discoveries provided for the development of modern medicine and aided the advancement of the Industrial Revolution (think: rubber). Thus, my story becomes another genre example for students to draw from, though one closer to creative non-fiction.
Step Four: Publication