Today the kids did most of the teaching. Each student, or pairs of siblings shared an origin story with the class. Some read stories they found on the big history project web site, some read stories they found from other websites or books. We had three lego stop motion movies that helped them tell the Inuit, Iroquois and Celtic origin stories. As most of you know, if you have children that make stop motion movies, it can take hours to make just a few minutes of movie so I was pleasantly surprised that so many kids made movies (1/4 of the class). We also got to watch youtube videos on the Christian, Australian Aborigine and Hindu creation myths and readings of Norse, Mongolian and Greek myths. I read out my favorite creation myth which comes from the Congo, about Mbombo, who vomits the sun, the moon and the planets, then proceeds to vomit the trees and animals, including humans. As we listened to the stories we filled out a table on the white board about how humans were formed in each story (if they were mentioned) and looked for common elements. This table is one of the activities for Unit 1 on the Big History Project website. I changed the table a little so it could be a foldable and taped into their notebooks.
I also did a presentation to go along with the Toad in the Moon Activity from the Universe at Your Finger Tips DVD that I’ve mentioned before and will use in almost every class this fall. This activity talks about how people in different cultures have different stories explaining why the moon looks like it does. Some see a man or a woman in the dark shapes on the moon, or a rabbit (Native Americans) or a toad (China). I made a keynote presentation of the moon stories from different cultures and passed out a high quality photo of the moon that my husband had taken. As I read each story the students tried to see the characters in the story in the moon photo. After we went through all the stories from the activity, I had them paste the photo of the moon in their book and sketch what character/animal they saw in the moon and make a short (just a sentence or two) story explaining how that character ended up on the moon.
That concludes what we’re doing for Unit 1: Intro to Big History. Next week we start Unit 2: The Big Bang.