Students in MYP1 are learning about past civilizations in their current unit. They are exploring questions such as what were the achievements of the Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations?; what were the major contributions of the Greek civilization?; how did the Roman civilization change over time?; and what were some of the features of the Maya and Inca civilizations?
Specifically, students are learning about and investigating various factors that led to the emergence and achievements of different civilizations. To demonstrate their understanding of these topics, students gave online presentations and are now in the process of writing reports about a civilization of their choice.
Report writing is new to many MYP1 students but with some guidance they have done a great job of writing a structured report focused on the emergence and achievements of the civilization they chose (e.g., Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Indus Valley, the Incas, etc.). When discussing the emergence of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamian civilizations, for example, students are writing about the natural advantages of being next to rivers for having more fertile land and therefore better farming, agriculture, irrigation systems, etc.
Part of their reports includes a bibliography as well as an evaluation of one source they used while writing their report. When studying history (and any subject for that matter) it is important to evaluate the sources one is using in depth. Students should ask themselves: Who is the author of this source? When was this source published? Is this source reliable? How do I know it’s reliable? Is it a primary or secondary source? What is the purpose of this source? What is the value of this source? What are the limitations of this source? These questions are not always easy to answer for many students but they are a critical part of the IB program and beyond. Making a habit of focusing on these questions when doing projects fosters students’ information literacy — an important skill that will be increasingly useful to students as they navigate a world filled with both information and misinformation.