Week 1–Global Studies Lesson Plan

Week 1–Global Studies:The Four Themes of Discovery

Day One

Review the objectives for this course.  Tell the students that each pod and each team will be following different issues each year.  But the first week will be the same for everyone.

Students returning to DCS will be very helpful  with this first week.  They have been taught the themes and have completed at least one final project showing the relationship of the themes to a current situation.  Begin the class by asking;

  • What are the four themes of Discovery?
  • Who would like to share what you did for your final project and how it related to the four themes?

Tell the  students that we will be spending time discussing and understanding the four themes.

Theme One: Water is on earth and is needed for life.

Explain that we often refer to this as water, earth and life.  But the actual theme is water.  Ask the students in table groups to discuss what they know about water.

Give the group three minutes.  Then have one student summarize what the group  had to say about water.  List what the students contribute on a piece of paper.

Day Two : Water

Let the students know that you are very pleased with what they shared with you about projects and water.  Tell them that we will expect that our understanding will grow each year.

Today you will be presenting some new ideas about water and will be presenting some new points of view about water to expand their thinking.

Use the Power Point One for a discussion on water.  Remind the students that our knowledge is changing at a rapid pace due to technology and as we discover new things, we will need to adjust our thinking.

The point of the power point is to help the students know that other planets may have water, but they should begin to ask, is the water drinkable? What state is it in?  Can it sustain life? Was life there and now extinct?  Does the planet have a water cycle like Earth does? See what questions each class generates about water.  Make a list of comments and assumptions as well as questions raised by each class.

Read the article: NASA says Mars Craft touched and tasted water.

Day Three

Ask the students what they know about MIGRATION of people and ideas as an opening for this lesson. Following general comments, go to the website for definitions of migration http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/09/g68/migrationguidestudent.pdf

Following this refer to  Power Point Two to lead your discussion regarding the changing conditions related to migration.


There are two stories on this PDF.  One is called To Leave or To Stay ( page 5)that is the Question.  Read it with the students and ask them what they would do and why.

The other story found in the same PDF  ( scroll down to Mustapha’s story. )  Read this with the class and discuss using the questions right after the story.

Help the students to realize that migration is not a simple topic.  Migration in older times did not have the limitations it has  today.

Day Four

Discuss first with the students: how were water and migration linked in the past?  Are they as linked today?  How were ideas spread in the past? How are ideas spread today?

Begin by discussing Fossil Fuels.  Use as many of the hyper links as you believe will enhance the discussion. The focus should be: what are fossil fuels, where are they found?  Do we have a limited amount? What is the drawback of the use of fossil fuels?

Fossil fuels or mineral fuels are fossil source fuels, that is, hydrocarbonscrust. found within the top layer of the Earth’s

They range from volatile materials with low carbon:hydrogen ratios like methane, to liquid petroleum to nonvolatile materials composed of almost pure carbon, like anthracite coal. Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields, alone, associated with oil, or in the form of methane clathrates. It is generally accepted that they formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants and animals[1] by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth’s crust over hundreds of millions of years.[2] This is known as the biogenic theoryGeorg Agricola in 1556 and later by Mikhail Lomonosov in 1757. There is an opposing more modern theory that the more volatile hydrocarbons, especially natural gas, are formed by abiogenic and was first introduced by processes, that is no living material was involved in their formation.

It was estimated by the Energy Information Administration that in 2005, 86% of primary energy production in the world came from burning fossil fuels, with the remaining non-fossil sources being hydroelectric 6.3%, nuclear 6.0%, and other (geothermal, solar, wind, and wood and waste) 0.9 percent.[3]

Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form, and reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being formed. Concern about fossil fuel supplies is one of the causes of regional and global conflicts. The production and use of fossil fuels raise environmental concerns. A global movement toward the generation of renewable energy is therefore under way to help meet increased energy needs.

The burning of fossil fuels produces around 21.3 billion tonnes (= 21.3 gigatons) of carbon dioxide per year, but it is estimated that natural processes can only absorb about half of that amount, so there is a net increase of 10.65 billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year (one tonne of atmospheric carbon is equivalent to 44/12 or 3.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide).[4] Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that enhances radiative forcing and contributes to global warming, causing the average surface temperature of the Earth to rise in response, which climate scientistseffects, including reduced biodiversity and, over time, cause sea level rise. agree will cause major adverse


Use this website to discuss: How has solar energy been used throughout time?  How is it different from fossil fuels?  What are the advantages and disadvantages?


Use this power point made website to discuss alternatives and why we have to consider them.

Summarize ENERGY by noting that we are at a crossroad with energy as well as with migration.  Our world is changing, the future will depend on the inventiveness and willingness to change on the part of all of us as we head into the future.

Day Five

Note that today we are discuss POWER as a theme.  Ask the class to define POWER.  In this case we are talking, not about fuel power but power over people and resources.


The interactive chart on this page will allow you to click on a year and to see how the world is divided in terms of government and who was in charge.  Allow the students to see many different time periods and discuss what they or you know about them.

Click one particular continent or country and allow the interactive map to show when war was occurring, what changes in boundaries and government took place and where things are today.

Then go below on this same website and discuss the definition of the major types of government.

Explain that there are many shifts in power and control of people and countries.  What causes the power shifts?  What power shifts have occurred in the life time of the students?  In the lifetime of the teacher?  Why?

Tell the students that we will conclude our discussion on the four DCS themes on Monday.  The point, however, of  this  week is to help students realize that these themes are dynamic and have different meaning as we develop and change as a dynamic world.



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