Part 5: Model Category: Demography

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Part 5: Model Category: Demography - Let's Talk about it!
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Anonymous - 11/10/2010

I just wanted to clue you in to the fact that I completed the lesson on colonial demographics today, and I wanted to give you feedback. First, it must be said that extraneous elements worked against me in this lesson. A graphing site was mysteriously blocked—and later explained by our tech department that the district had just installed a new filter over the weekend and all the bugs hadn't been worked out. I had a two day window for this lesson and for students to take an on-line assessment covering our first quarter's curriculum. Therefore, I didn't exercise this lesson to the fullest potential--and it has much potential. The combination of the colonial population table (and the growth of each colony from 1630-1770) and the primary sources excerpts about life in Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century is dynamite for the following reasons (in no particular order): 1. Very readable account of colonial Pennsylvania life. 2. Statistical data can be easily converted into bar graphs comparing population growth of two or more colonies. (After modeling and having students practice with a couple comparisons, I had them make a bar graph comparison of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania's population growth from 1670 to 1770 using an alternative website for my graphing objective. 3. Tons of critical thinking opportunities. I chose Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to be graphed because they were polar opposites in terms of how their societies viewed much of the outside world. I wanted to students to review the backgrounds of these bellwether colonies based on their opposing views of religious tolerance. Had we had the time, it could have been interesting conversation with a few of my more advanced classes as to what this may say about our present society. 4. Going along with hypothesis presented in #3, it was interesting to note steep increases in the populations of numerous "frontier" colonies in 1770 (after the French and Indian War had driven the French out of N. America)----another solid review point that wasn't fully realized in this lesson. Critical thinking, graphing and serving as an effective review of several highlights of pre-revolutionary colonial America make this a solid lesson. Kudos, Brothers Brady!

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