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Grade 8: Is Calgary a Renaissance City?

Grade: 8
Subject: Social Studies, Humanities

Our two grade 8 Humanities teachers, Dave Scott
and Rachelle Savoie, are in the last stage of planning for the Renaissance component of the Social Studies Curriculum.

In planning this project, Dave and Rachelle wanted to take the concept of "Worldview" that runs through the entire grade 8 curriculum, and make connections with contemporary society. The goal was to move beyond a static examination of the 'Renaissance City' as something in the past, and find ways to connect the idea of "the Renaissance as the foundation of the Western World" to elements in our world today.

Through much discussion and deliberation, the teachers decided to focus the study on the question: "Does Calgary have the necessary conditions to become a Renaissance City?" There have been a number of public discussions in Calgary over the last few years, such as here and here, debating whether or not our city has the elements of a Renaissance City. The bring the study of the Renaissance into the 21st century, our grade 8 teachers have decided to take this question up with their students.

As they work through this project, students will be:

(1) working through the creation of a Worldview Survey
(2) creating a general mindmap of the Renaissance
(3) attending a lecture on the Renaissance at Mount Royal University
(4) analyzing some initial historical artifacts to get students thinking about the different elements of the Renaissance
(5) then choosing one characteristic of the Renaissance to focus on in depth :
  • Arts/Culture,
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Trade/Competiton/Finance
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Thinkers/Philosophers
  • Social and Political Systems
In small groups, students will begin to research the role their particular element played in the rise of the Italian Renaissance. Students will be expected to discuss specific examples of their element, as well as develop some general themes.

(6) Students will then use their research to create a presentation on their particular element, either an iMovie or a Powerpoint with a recorded script. Then the students will upload their presentations onto a wiki site, with each different element having a different page. The purpose of the wiki site is to begin building a shared understanding of the necessary conditions for a 'Renaissance.'


(7) Next we're hoping to find contemporary local experts in each of the elements listed above. We want these experts to watch the student presentations on the wiki site, and then respond, commenting how the current conditions in Calgary compare to those of the Italian Renaissance City State.

For example, one group of students will research the role of the Arts in Renaissance Italy. They will turn this into a (5 minute) digital presentation, and will contact local people in Calgary's Arts community to watch their presentation on Art in the Renaissance. Then the experts will respond by providing insights into whether or not Calgary has these same conditions as the Italian Renaissance. These expert responses (either text or voice) will be posted on the wiki below the original student video presentation.

(8) Finally, having access to all the other group's findings, the students will be responsible for answering the initial question: "Does Calgary have the necessary conditions to become a Renaissance City?" Students will also be required to make recommendations on how Calgary might improve its conditions, which we're then hoping to present, either at City Hall or the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

It's a pretty big project - but we're looking forward to getting started soon!

As with all the other project ideas on here, we welcome feedback, comments and suggestions.

As well, we're looking for local Calgary experts in the following areas:
  • Arts/Culture,
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Trade/Competiton/Finance
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Thinkers/Philosophers
  • Social and Political Systems

2 comments:

  1. Thanks im doing a project about this and it helped me lots thanks SOOOO MUCH :)

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