“The Great Chicago Fire” learning unit is a national case study involving students in the lessons to be learned when a major community tragedy strikes. The legacy to be learned by this unit is turning “Tragedy into Triumph.”
As a result of this massive 1871 tragedy, national attention was on Chicago as a leader of determination, innovation and spirit when rebuilding the city. Lessons learned resulted in the invention of the first skyscraper. From this ruble, Chicago grew into a national transportation hub, an international finance district, a publishing capital, a technology industry information leader, and a world-wide cultural center, all driven through the will and spirit of its citizens.
Involving American students in the governance of their communities, states, and country is a lifelong educational responsibility, and a major goal of the new Federal Mandates, and similar Mandated State Goals.
The “How to Pass a Bill” unit is staged in Illinois, but is similar to other states and the Federal Government in how a bill becomes a law. This unit covers the Executive, Legislature and Judicial Branches of Government and how they affect our daily lives.
Involvement in our student’s future, and an on-going life lesson, is the key message in this unit: LEARN, PARTICIPATE, VOTE.
The study of geography, according to the C3 Framework, is intended to engage students in geographic inquiry designed to help foster “curiosity about Earth’s wide diversity of environments and cultures,” which rests on “deep knowledge of Earth’s physical and human features.” One the most important of these features, or at least the one that perhaps best illustrates “the distribution of landforms and water bodies, and historic changes in political boundaries…and cultures,” as called for by the C3 Framework, is the Grand Canyon.
Often referred to as one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World,” the Grand Canyon provides students with the quintessential context for engaging in geographic inquiry. This rich geological, historical, and cultural setting serves as the focus for this VLS geography unit, which engages students in the examination of the history of the Grand Canyon, to include the physical transformation of the canyon. In addition, students will engage in the investigation and analysis of historical settlement patterns – from the first Native American inhabitants through European and U.S. exploration and settlement, to today – in an attempt to better understand the changes in both the physical and cultural landscape of the Grand Canyon.
The study of economics, according to the C3 Framework, is intended to “provide students with the concepts and tools necessary for an economic way of thinking.” To this end, students need to understand the role of markets and exchanges; in particular, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The development of an “economic way of thinking” must include an understanding of the significant role the NYSE plays in the U.S. and global economy, as the world’s largest securities exchange, where millions of stocks and securities are bought and sold every trading day.
The VLS unit “New York Stock Exchange” examines the events surrounding its founding, and provides an introduction to the organization and operation of the NYSE. In addition, the unit engages students in the investigation and analysis of the impact economic crises – from the Stock Market Crash of 1929 to the Dot Com Boom and Bust of the 1990s and early 2000s – have had on the NYSE.