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completed diorama

Dioramas in the Classroom—Fun and Effective Project Based Learning

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In the digital world of the 21st century, are dioramas an effective teaching tool? Some educators want teachers to abandon sugar cubes and shoe boxes for more high tech activities, insisting dioramas do not require students to engage in complex problem solving and critical thinking. However, there is no reason to dump the diorama. With a well-structured lesson, building a diorama requires students to analyze primary sources, deeply understand content, support a thesis, and solve engineering challenges to build a structure that incorporates key elements of design. Dioramas are sophisticated stuff.
Trivial Pursuit board game

Why History Matters: A Teacher's Rationale

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When I was working on my undergraduate degree in the early 1980’s, a boyfriend questioned my choice of major. "Why does history matter anyway? What’s a history degree going to get you besides winning at Trivial Pursuit?" Although I relished beating this guy every time we played the board game, my pursuit of the past had loftier aims. For 26 years I taught history to high school students. Now I write history books for children and teens. You see, I knew all along what my boyfriend didn’t. Understanding history isn’t trivial. It's vital.
picture of yellow fever victim

New Narrative Nonfiction for Middle Grade Readers

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Watch out! More Mayhem & Mystery is heading your way. These…