I tend to see the world through a lens that have been heavily influenced by Star Wars. As a kid, I remember feeling heartbroken and a little disgusted with Obi-Wan Kenobi as he talked with Luke Skywalker about telling the truth about his father from a certain point of view. Obi-Wan was someone that I had trusted and looked up to, but I was not so sure any more. It was an important life lesson to learn. Now that I am older I realized what Obi-Wan was saying and feel that of all of the wisdom that he shared this is perhaps the most important lesson of all. Learning to examine things from multiple perspectives is a critical skill that we must help our students to learn.
Obi-Wan: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
Apple has a long and rich history of creating iconic ads like the 1984 Big Brother ad and theThink Different campaign. Another ad from 2014 that I think also deserves recognition and that fits nicely with this lesson idea is PERSPECTIVE. Here we are able to see that things are not always what they seem to be. After you and your students watch the video, have them reflect on what stood out to them. If they had to pick THREE WORDS to describe what they experienced in the video, what would those THREE WORDS be? What questions did the video make them think of?
The game combines stunning visuals with relaxing and captivating gameplay. On your journey to discover the right solution you will stumble upon many unexpected and infinitely varied silhouettes.”
To be successful in this game, you have to be able to constantly adjust from what you think you are looking at to something completely different. You have to learn how to see objects in multiple ways and examine how they can interact with one another to cast a shadow to form a brand new object.
Begin by defining and clarifying the term PERSPECTIVE with your students. What do they already understand about this term? Next combine this with the term MULTIPLE and discuss what MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES are and why it is important to be able to see things from a variety of points of view.
Next, ask your students to try to think of all of the ways that land is used in the United States. This would be a good time for some brainstorming. Be sure to not rush this process. You really want to encourage a plethora of responses at this point. Once they have created a substantial list, have them order the list by the things that take up the most land to the things that take up the least. You could also ask them to attach a percentage of the total amount of the land for each of their items.
Bloomberg recently explored How American Uses Its Land in a series of maps displaying data in a variety of ways. They begin by displaying what looks like a jumbled mess of map data and is quite honestly not very useful information.
They then examine the same data using multiple perspectives to generate increasingly more meaningful and useful maps. You might present each map individually or have your students examine all of the maps collectively. Finally, Bloomberg produces a map that takes all of the maps and perspectives into consideration to produce an organized perspective of the data. Have your students discuss what they notice about the map and how it relates to the list that produced.
As students are examining this synthesized map, consider using a thinking routine like AEIOU.
A - List 3 ADJECTIVES that describe what you learned.
E - Name an EMOTION that describes how this map makes you feel.
I - Describe something that you found INTERESTING.
O - Tell about something that made you say "Oh!"
U - What is a question that YOU want to learn more about?
These questions are intended to spark students' curiosity and spur conversation. They are not intended to be right or wrong answers. Certainly there is a great deal to explore and think about related to this map. Who knew that so much land was devoted to golf courses? Also, seeing the size of wildfires on this map really gives one a brand new perspective, but seeing things from a different point of view is what this post was all about.
This can be the beginning to a series of independent or small group investigations conducted by your students. If you try this out in your classroom, I would love to hear how it went.
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