When History Says “C’Mon Man!”

In this lesson students will research and take the “C’MON MAN” approach at describing world issues.

ESPN uses the phrase “C’MON MAN!” to point out head scratching mistakes and odd plays that took place in sports. Within this lesson students will research a specific moment in history that was questionable, a mistake or head scratch worthy.

Each historical moment could be randomly selected or chosen based on time period being studied in class at the time.

Writing Your Own “Epic Rap Battle”

In this lesson, students will demonstrate an understanding of two historical figures and their opposing ideologies by writing their own “Epic Rap Battles of History.” They will also exercise their debate and persuasive writing skills.

Minecraft: Early Human Settlements Part 3

Students rejoin the clans established in parts 1 and 2 of this lesson and evolve their settlements into civilizations to better understand how human settlements made the jump to human civilizations.

Pro-Palestinian protesters take part in a demonstration against the violence in the Gaza strip, in Lyon

The Science Of Protest: How our brains are wired to fight for our rights

(Credit: Reuters/Robert Pratta/AP/Charlie Riedel)

The recent tragic events surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the NYPD officers have struck a chord in a us all. However, today’s millennial generation of young people have taken to the streets more so than any other generation in recent history to express their feelings. Motivations, people’s beliefs, identity and emotions are key in generating a person’s willingness to protest. With or without social media, people who are deeply angry about an unjust situation, or who feel strongly connected with a particular issue, will always take to the streets.

Protest is defined as a form of collective action and as participation in a social movement. What is it that drives young people to protest? Why are young people prepared to sacrifice a comfortable and carefree lifestyle, or sometimes even their very lives for a common cause? The research team at NuSkool has found some scientific reasons why we fight for our rights that may have more to do with brain science than we realize. Science can’t always explain what’s in our hearts, but it can help us understand what motivates one of the greatest youth movements in history.
We are the risk takers and the rule breakers
Science has proven that teens and college students are really ‘bout that life. Scientists have used brain scanning methods to study the changes that occur in the teen brain. Recent discoveries have shown that teenagers have well-developed emotions and feelings and are more willing to do dangerous things an adult would avoid, this is due to the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for weighing risk and consequences in the teen brain. When experiencing an emotionally-charged situation like a tragedy in the community like Ferguson, the brain is handicapped in its ability to gauge risk and consider the consequences. In most situations, teens can evaluate risks just like adults. But in emotionally heightened real-life scenarios, this rational part of the brain gets overridden by the reward center. Racism, oppression and injustices in the community are definitely triggers for this kind of reaction. Our brains have a reward center, involving the nucleus accumbens, which lights up with dopamine whenever we find something exciting, interesting or meaningful. In a study comparing the brains of teens to adults, scientists found that teens need extreme situations in order to get excited.
We are natural born followers
News flash: peer pressure is actually a thing. Oxytocin receptors in a young brain makes teens highly responsive to the opinions of their peers. Studies find that the brain’s receptors for oxytocin has a strong influence on social bonding and affects our emotional and behavioral responses to social encouragement or peer pressure. When our peers become angry or emotional over a situation, this activates our own brain’s prefrontal areas in response to emotional and social stimuli. During this time, we also have heightened awareness toward the opinions of our friends, so much so that we imagine that our behavior is the focus of everyone else’s concern and attention.

According to a study, which examined brain scans of teens using fMRI data, the presence of friends activated certain regions of the brain that were not activated when they were alone that increased their willingness to take part in antisocial behavior. Being in the presence of friends also doubled risk-taking among young people in their 20’s, increased it by fifty percent among teens, but had no effect on adults, a pattern that was identical among both males and females. So the moral of the story is…choose your friends wisely.
We are a living, breathing social network
One of the strongest emotions in a teen’s life that pulls someone into joining a gang, a sports team or joining a social cause is the need to be a part of something bigger than oneself…joining a movement.

Chris McGrath—Getty Images

Research suggests that people who experience both personal and group oppression are the most strongly motivated to take to the streets. Being part of something bigger than yourself is very important to today’s generation. Any events that harm that group by definition harm the individual, and they find themselves experiencing emotions on behalf of the group. The more people feel that group’s interests or values are threatened, the angrier they are and the more they are prepared to take part in protests to express their anger. Collective anger moves people to challenge the authorities and subdue other emotions such as shame, despair and obedience. Participating in protests strengthens the collective power of that group, and feelings of unity and support empowers people to stand together against the authorities. However, taking action doesn’t always mean people expect that group-related problems can be solved by their united efforts. Protesters find a way to overcome their defeated hopes to eventually protest again and raise consciousness to create solidarity. Is it science?… eh, maybe not. Is it real?…you bet. Does it change the world?… absolutely.

Before you decide to join a protest and put yourself at risk to fight for a cause, ask yourself the following questions:

Who or what caused the event?
How does the event influence my goals?
Do I have control and power over the consequences of the event?
Who can I call for help if I’m in danger or if I get arrested?

Pro-Palestinian protesters take part in a demonstration against the violence in the Gaza strip, in Lyon

The Science Of Protest: How Our Brains Are Wired To Fight For Our Rights

(Credit: Reuters/Robert Pratta/AP/Charlie Riedel)

The recent tragic events surrounding the deaths of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the NYPD officers have struck a chord in a us all. However, today’s millennial generation of young people have taken to the streets more so than any other generation in recent history to express their feelings. Motivations, people’s beliefs, identity and emotions are key in generating a person’s willingness to protest. With or without social media, people who are deeply angry about an unjust situation, or who feel strongly connected with a particular issue, will always take to the streets.

Protest is defined as a form of collective action and as participation in a social movement. What is it that drives young people to protest? Why are young people prepared to sacrifice a comfortable and carefree lifestyle, or sometimes even their very lives for a common cause? The research team at NuSkool has found some scientific reasons why we fight for our rights that may have more to do with brain science than we realize. Science can’t always explain what’s in our hearts, but it can help us understand what motivates one of the greatest youth movements in history.
We are the risk takers and the rule breakers
Science has proven that teens and college students are really ‘bout that life. Scientists have used brain scanning methods to study the changes that occur in the teen brain. Recent discoveries have shown that teenagers have well-developed emotions and feelings and are more willing to do dangerous things an adult would avoid, this is due to the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for weighing risk and consequences in the teen brain. When experiencing an emotionally-charged situation like a tragedy in the community like Ferguson, the brain is handicapped in its ability to gauge risk and consider the consequences. In most situations, teens can evaluate risks just like adults. But in emotionally heightened real-life scenarios, this rational part of the brain gets overridden by the reward center. Racism, oppression and injustices in the community are definitely triggers for this kind of reaction. Our brains have a reward center, involving the nucleus accumbens, which lights up with dopamine whenever we find something exciting, interesting or meaningful. In a study comparing the brains of teens to adults, scientists found that teens need extreme situations in order to get excited.
We are natural born followers
News flash: peer pressure is actually a thing. Oxytocin receptors in a young brain makes teens highly responsive to the opinions of their peers. Studies find that the brain’s receptors for oxytocin has a strong influence on social bonding and affects our emotional and behavioral responses to social encouragement or peer pressure. When our peers become angry or emotional over a situation, this activates our own brain’s prefrontal areas in response to emotional and social stimuli. During this time, we also have heightened awareness toward the opinions of our friends, so much so that we imagine that our behavior is the focus of everyone else’s concern and attention.

According to a study, which examined brain scans of teens using fMRI data, the presence of friends activated certain regions of the brain that were not activated when they were alone that increased their willingness to take part in antisocial behavior. Being in the presence of friends also doubled risk-taking among young people in their 20’s, increased it by fifty percent among teens, but had no effect on adults, a pattern that was identical among both males and females. So the moral of the story is…choose your friends wisely.
We are a living, breathing social network
One of the strongest emotions in a teen’s life that pulls someone into joining a gang, a sports team or joining a social cause is the need to be a part of something bigger than oneself…joining a movement.

Chris McGrath—Getty Images

Research suggests that people who experience both personal and group oppression are the most strongly motivated to take to the streets. Being part of something bigger than yourself is very important to today’s generation. Any events that harm that group by definition harm the individual, and they find themselves experiencing emotions on behalf of the group. The more people feel that group’s interests or values are threatened, the angrier they are and the more they are prepared to take part in protests to express their anger. Collective anger moves people to challenge the authorities and subdue other emotions such as shame, despair and obedience. Participating in protests strengthens the collective power of that group, and feelings of unity and support empowers people to stand together against the authorities. However, taking action doesn’t always mean people expect that group-related problems can be solved by their united efforts. Protesters find a way to overcome their defeated hopes to eventually protest again and raise consciousness to create solidarity. Is it science?… eh, maybe not. Is it real?…you bet. Does it change the world?… absolutely.

Before you decide to join a protest and put yourself at risk to fight for a cause, ask yourself the following questions:

Who or what caused the event?
How does the event influence my goals?
Do I have control and power over the consequences of the event?
Who can I call for help if I’m in danger or if I get arrested?

civil war mcu thumbnail

Marvel Civil War: Whose Side Are You On?

The first promo art of Captain America 3: Civil War was just released. With the latest chapter Avengers: Age of Ultron upon us, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will carefully start to shift the story towards one of the greatest conflicts in comic book history, Marvel’s Civil War. In a sure sign that comics were getting awesome again, Marvel built in a story arc where the Avengers fought each other. This has happened before in comics, usually because one superhero gets mind-controlled by a villain. In the Marvel Civil War, though, the Avengers were instead fighting because they had different interpretations of rights. Both sides’ views were supportable by some interpretations of the Constitution. But would either have stood up in court? If the Avengers had taken their differences to court, instead of to the streets, which way would it have gone?

Which side are you on? Try the quiz below to find out!

The Plot of the War The Marvel Civil War was told in seven comics, released from 2006-2007. It takes place after most mutants have been killed, or have fled in secret to Xavier’s school. Having dealt with mutants, the United States government turned their attention to superheroes. The government wasn’t a big fan of superpowers. Untrained superheroes kept stepping up to villains in crowded areas, getting themselves and others killed. In one case, a couple of new superheroes tried to fight Nitro in a mall, leading to the deaths of over 600 people. In addition, superheroes, especially the Avengers, were also interfering in politics. Nick Fury was fired because he led a coup against one of the United States’ allies (in fairness, that ally was an evil cyborg). Finally, the government decided to act. Congress passed the Superhero Registration Act, forcing all superheroes to take off the masks, register their abilities, and work for federal law enforcement. They hired Tony Stark (Iron Man) to help enforce  the law. Captain America violently resisted. Both sides escalated in force.

The Arguments
The pro-registration arguments, supported by Tony Stark and Mr. Fantastic, include:

Superheroes cannot veto a Congressional decision
Regulation of use of powers will be required by law
The government may restrict the rights of some to protect the rights of many

The anti-registration arguments, supported by Captain America, include:

Privacy protects superheroes and superheroes have a right to it
The majority should not legislate against minority rights
The government should not restrict rights in the present because of possible events in the future.

Do either of these arguments carry legal weight? This lesson below explores the legal precedents at play.

5 Things Students Can Learn from a Trump Presidency

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The results of the 2016 Presidential Election took most of the country by surprise. The last regime talked of hope and change, Trump’s campaign talks about greatness and opportunity. There’s no doubt that the country is divided on this decision, but it’s no different from the previous 44 elections. This is a country built on differences of opinion, giving each side an equal chance to share their point of view and also have their turn at running the country. With every new president, comes a change in the way of doing things, a change in priorities and a fresh start to become more involved and better understand how the government in this country actually works. Now that Trump is President, here’s 5 things students should learn from this election and the next four years to come under the Donald.


Anyone Can Become President

And I mean anyone…this was already proven to an extent when Obama became president, breaking color barriers and becoming the first African-American president. This is historical for different reasons. Studies have shown that young people will likely change their careers several times over the course of their lifetime, along with managing multiple side hustles. Donald Trump has proven that you don’t have to devote your life to a career in politics in order to become president. Typically, it was assumed that you had to commit yourself to becoming a politician and work your way up the political ladder as early as your 30′s or even 20′s. This is the traditional approach Hillary Clinton took, having 30+ years experience in politics. However, Trump proved that you can take your experience of being successful in doing what you love and transfer those skills to becoming President. His first political job will be President of the United States. Wow.

how to become president


Social Studies is Now More Important Than Ever

I know, I know, we’ve all dreaded those boring classes in school and wondered “Why do I need to learn this? I’m never going to use this in real life.” Well, for those of you who are wondering how did a reality TV host become president, go ask your social studies teacher. The electoral process in America is weird, confusing and yet fascinating at the same time. Once you better understand how presidents are elected, you will soon appreciate and understand that every single vote counts. Donald Trump is also likely to become one of the most powerful presidents in history because the Republicans also control the House, Senate and the Supreme Court. If you don’t know what that means, you know what I’m going to say…go ask your social studies teacher.

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Learn a Vocational Skill

Part of Trump’s plan to “Make America Great Again” is to bring back a lot of the manufacturing jobs that have left this country for cheaper labor overseas.  If Trump gets his way with changing our existing fair trade acts, you will likely see more factories open here in the states, possibly creating more jobs that require skills working with your hands. Over the past few years, the country has shifted towards creating more jobs in the business and technology sectors which require computer, management and design skills. However, if there is a resurgence in American made products, there will likely be a new demand for people with skills learned from vocational schools. Expect to see an increase in blue collar jobs and a demand for skills such as manufacturing, engineering, construction, agriculture, farming, architecture and auto-mechanics.

VW-Chattanooga-e1391473102460


Learn Debate Skills and Articulate your Point of View

Violence fills the void left by a lack of words. Many people are either feeling overjoyed and redeemed or are left feeling frustrated, afraid and angry as a result of the 2016 Presidential election. The country is more divided today, it feels, than any other time in recent history. You are almost guaranteed to encounter someone who is on the opposite side of the spectrum from you and will likely and loudly brag about everything you stand against.

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The answer is not to punch them in the face, but to try and have a constructive dialogue. The only way to do this and prevent violence is to not get frustrated by their ignorance or your own lack of articulation. Take a debate class and learn how to have a healthy argument by articulating your emotions. Developing a well thought out argument is one of the most important skills you can learn today. Practice arguing in school, practice at home over dinner with the family, or have someone play devil’s advocate and challenge your opinions. Make sure to also research the facts to back up your statements so you have evidence to support your argument. The best way to fight back is to be informed and to know what you’re talking about.


Become an Entrepreneur

Not everyone is cut out to run their own business, but if you have thought about it, now would be a good time to start. One thing we can all agree on with Trump, is that he values the entrepreneurial hustle. We’ve seen it in his own life story and in his TV shows, he appreciates people who grab themselves by the bootstraps and chase their dreams. You would hope, that during his presidency, there will be an increase in government support for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs.  If he truly believes in homegrown industry and trade, than you would expect to see more federal support to launch new American businesses. Creating a new business idea or starting a new venture will teach you valuable work and life skills, even if the business goes nowhere. Many of the top jobs today are looking to hire people with previous entrepreneurial experience. They don’t care if the business failed, they just want to see the leadership and innovation skills you learned along the way.

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History vs Hollywood: Analyzing Lincoln

In this lesson, students will review two short representations of the life of Abraham Lincoln — one in the recent Hollywood films, the other in a documentary — and will analyze, discuss, and think further about how history and historical figures are re-constructed through fiction, as well as the boundaries between fact and fiction in such portrayals.

Analyzing Transcendentalism in Contemporary Popular Culture

In this lesson, students develop an understanding of the nineteenth-century literary and philosophical movement of transcendentalism by identifying and applying the precepts of the movement to contemporary popular culture, which they will follow with a research, analysis, and presentation project of their own examples of transcendentalism in popular culture today.

Minecraft: Early Human Settlements Part 4

Students continue their interactive study of the timeline of human settlements by progressing their already established Minecraft civilizations into unified empires.