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Documentary Teacher Resources
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After viewing clips from a documentary on factory work in China and US outsourcing, learners have a fishbowl discussion. They work in groups to build both personal points of view and strong arguments on the effects of outsourcing in China. This lesson includes excellent resources and wonderful discussion questions intended to engage learners in building an economic and global perspective of US business overseas.
The video clip that comprises the warm up is not available, but the related article from The New York Times and the movie trailer for Aliens of the Deep are, leaving enough material to make this a fascinating lesson on deep-sea exploration. After reading about James Cameron's Challenger Deep submersible, your young scientists write a screenplay about the geology, chemistry, or biodiversity of the deepest parts of the ocean.
Students examine the journey of the Ballou Marching Band. In this America's Promise lesson, students read about Colin Powell and examine the history of America's Promise. Students explore the Five Points of the program and then watch a documentary about the Ballou Marching Band. Students respond to discussion questions regarding America Promise and the documentary.
Groups collaborate to create historical documentaries. In this American Civil Rights lesson, groups research primary and secondary sources about the events and people pertinent to the movement in the 1950s and 1960s. They then use Windows Movie Maker to create classroom presentations to share with their classmates. Several online resources are suggested here to explore the Montgomery bus boycott, the lunch counter sit-ins, Freedom Rides, etc.
Who doesn’t love French pastries and the idea of hard work? Discover different philosophies on hard work, and the skills of French pastry chefs as the documentary concerning the “Best Craftsmen in France” or Meilleures Ouvriers de France is viewed and discussed. Learners analyze the chef preparation, mentor rolls, and the French philosophies of hard work versus intellectual work, while juxtaposing it against American attitudes. Adaptations are included that contrast the conflicts of the documentary with similar struggles of other cultures and individuals. This would serve as a great activity to explore cultural differences, or expand a home and consumer science curriculum.
A viewing of the documentary War Feels Like War, launches an exploration of the importance of accurate and comprehensive war reporting. Groups investigate various news agencies and assess the factors that influence their stories. A powerful, balanced approach to a controversial topic.
Most young people don't spend a lot of time thinking about why some foods cost less than others. This resource uses clips from the documentary, Food, Inc. to explore the impact of agricultural subsidies on nutrition, health, and the economy. The topic is introduced by asking class members what determines the food they typically eat in their homes; for example, taste, cost, nutrition, etc. Next, learners record information on a viewing guide as they watch the clips. There is ample discussion, supplementary graphs, and extra readings to help ensure a thorough understanding of the topic. Numerous extensions and adaptations provide easy ways to further develop this plan.
Students explore oral history and documentary theater. In this genres of theater instructional activity, students connect stories of personal history to the creation of documentary theater. Students learn what characteristics embody documentary theater and explore the use of theater as a medium to express controversial perspectives.
Based around the documentary Battlestar Galactica: Propaganda and War, this plan asks learners to create a satirical piece. After a discussion about satire, the class views the documentary and then splits off into pairs to complete the project. Using a worksheet called "That's Absurd: Using Satire to Expose Issues," pairs brainstorm ideas for their piece of satire and choose either a skit, cartoon, political cartoon, or website as their method of delivery.
Learners determine their own perspective on women's empowerment then compare it to how it is seen in Syria. They watch a four documentary clips, discuss what they've seen, then answer two short essay questions. Excellent resource links and good extension activities make this a worthwhile lesson.
What is all the fuss about genetically modified foods? PBS provides this resource designed to supplement the documentary Food, Inc. to help learners investigate the benefits and controversies of genetically modified foods for individuals and companies. The instructional activity culminates with each pupil taking a position and writing a paper either for or against genetically modified seeds.