Students as Social Science Investigators (SSIs)
VLS creates experiential learning by turning students into Social Science Investigators (SSIs). By putting students in the role of SSIs, they instantly become active learners. Students learn how to ask questions, discover facts, evaluate data, identify the chain of events, collaborate and draw logical conclusions. The assignments also require students to develop multi-media communication skills and an ability to advocate a point of view.
Specific Skills Targeted
The VLS curriculum is designed to develop key life skills and core disciplines, including the ability to:
First European Settlements – The Courageous Life of Early Pioneers
Separate Fact from Fiction in How the English, French and Spanish Put Down Roots in America and Set the Stage for the Democracy We Enjoy Today
Students will discover daily life for families who settled our nation when it was called the New World.
Students will view a student-narrated video that delivers a compelling history of the Lost Colony at Roanoke Island, St. Augustine, Jamestown and Plymouth Colony with a gripping narrative and eye-catching graphics.
Students will solve the mystery of what happened to settlers who vanished from Roanoke Island.
Students will determine the truth behind the popular takes of Pocahontas, Plymouth Rock, the first Thanksgiving and the relationships between Pilgrims and Native Americans.
Investigate the Bravery, Hardships and Other Experiences of Immigrants Seeking the American Dream and How their Legacy Affects Us Today
Students will explore the stories and photos behind the mass immigration through Ellis Island that occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
History of Labor Unions in the U.S. – A Fight for Better Wages and Working Conditions
Examine the Brutal Life on a Factory Floor in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries and the Role Organized Labor Played in Raising Pay, Curbing Child Labor and Making Work Safer for Everyone.
Students will explore the gripping stories of working-class hardship and shocking photos of child labor. They also will trace the rise of the nation’s labor movement to bring humane treatment and fairness to the factory floor.
The Great Chicago Fire –Turning Tragedy into Triumph
Explore How Urban Planners, Business Leaders and Residents Rebuilt the Fastest-Growing City in the World after Fire Turned it to Ash in 1871.
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.
Using Illinois As an Example, Take a Virtual Walk Inside the Illinois State Capitol to Understand Why It’s Important to Vote and See How Elected Officials Create Legislation that Impacts Us As Citizens
Students will explore the roles played by the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate in submitting ideas that get turned into laws. They’ll also examine how the Governor can approve (sign) or reject (veto) a bill, and why it’s important to vote.
Involvement in our student’s future, and an on-going life lesson, is the key message in this unit: LEARN, PARTICIPATE, VOTE.
Survey One of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” and Discover Why More than 5 Million People Visit Each Year
Students will explore the geology, ancient history and massive size of The Grand Canyon.
Examine the History of the Ups and Downs of the Financial Markets on Wall Street.
Students will explore the New York Stock Exchange and the relationship between the nation’s economy and the stock market.