Friday, September 6, 2013

Day 4 - Why The Three Little Pigs Is A Perfect Story In High School History Class, Michael Milton, BHS History Dept.

Mr. Milton, BHS History Dept.

This is a BPS Blog original from Michael Milton - Mike also blogs regularly one his own blog here

You can also follow Mike on Twitter - @42ThinkDeep

While it may seem childish to start a high school social studies class with the story of the Three Little Pigs, I am really glad that I did! In social studies we are not simply focusing on the facts that make up the past, but looking at events and movements from a variety of perspectives. We are playing with concepts like bias and validity. 

When class began, I asked the class to tell me about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. While one person took the role of the storyteller, others joined in to help when the storyteller needed it. When we got to the end of the story, I told them that that was simply one point of view. I proceeded to read to them The True Story of The Three Little Pigs, which is from the wolf's point of view (turning the story on its head). From the wolf, we learned about his motive for going to his neighbors house - he was looking for sugar to bake a cake for his grandmother's birthday. And his blowing the houses down wasn't malicious, he had a cold which caused him to sneeze!

As we unpacked the story, the conversation went from the simple "what were the differences in the stories?" to the more complex "what sources can we turn to to verify first-hand accounts?". At points in class, it felt a bit like we were on Law and Order trying to prove a case. This activity was followed by looking at two perspectives on the Stamp Act in my US History class and two perspectives on human nature in my World History classes. In both, we asked similar deep questions as we did with the Three Little Pigs.

Eventually we will move from simply being able to identify bias to constructing narratives based on several sources and I am certain that this activity will have helped propel us along the way.
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