Connecting Concepts Through Collaboration

In Modern World History, Upper School students thematically explore the modernization of the world as they build their skills including historical analysis and literacy, critical thinking, writing, research, presentation, and collaboration. These young historians learn, practice, and apply these skills through engaging activities, assignments, seminar discussions, and research projects.

In conjunction with their study of industrialization and colonization, students recently considered specific case studies related to New Imperialism (roughly 1850 to 1915) and the influences of industrialization. As part of their analysis, students completed a project that required them to research one aspect of imperialism—either a particular country’s experience or a prevalent trend at the time. This project is designed as a precursor to a larger summative research project on modern industry that students will complete later this month.

Collaborating in groups of two, students selected a topic, became subject-matter experts through investigation and research, and created an informative and creative visual presentation that outlined the important details. Presentations were delivered in class. Topics ranged from China, India, Thailand, Japan, French Indochina (Vietnam), Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, German Cameroon, and the Belgian Congo.

“A big part of the first trimester for me is helping students take ownership for their learning helping them develop the skills to assess their learning along the way,” said Social Studies Department Chair Grace Barlow. “With this type of project, students are reliant on each other to be subject-matter experts on one of 10 topics and ultimately, when they come together and present to their peers, the full picture comes into better view so that they can understand the connectivity between the topics, and engage in analysis as they connect to the larger context of New Imperialism.”

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