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Disney Earth Transcript

Posted on September 27, 2016 at 7:05 AM Comments comments ()

Disney Earth Notes are DUE FRIDAY (9/30). Use the transcript to help you complete your notes.

5 Themes of Geography

Posted on September 13, 2016 at 7:45 AM Comments comments ()

In class today we examined the 5 Themes of Geography. Check out the slideshow below for a different look at the 5 Themes. We used our flip notes to understand where people live and what it is like there. There was a 5 question Plicker quiz to check for understanding.


Rotation, Revolution and Seasons

Posted on October 29, 2015 at 8:00 AM Comments comments ()

Bill Nye does a great job explaining seasons!

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The folks over at Crash Course also produced a good video to help you with understanding why we have opposite seasons from people in S. Africa, Argentina and Australia (among other places).

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Explaining Chinese Philosophy Through Vinegar

Posted on June 11, 2015 at 9:15 AM Comments comments ()

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Silk Road

Posted on June 8, 2015 at 9:55 AM Comments comments ()

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The Middle Kingdom

Posted on June 8, 2015 at 8:30 AM Comments comments ()

In 1,000 BC the Chinese people, unaware of high civilizations in the West, believed their empire occupied the middle of the earth, surrounded by barbarians.

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Wait for it...the MONGOLS!!!

Posted on June 8, 2015 at 8:15 AM Comments comments ()

The term "barbarian" refers to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person. (Wikipedia)


Located in northern central Asia, a group of nomads thrived as they were isolated from the rest of the world. These nomads were known as the Mongols. Their name comes from their homeland, which was known as Mongolia.

Their isolation protected them from outsiders and allowed the Mongolian people to grow stronger and their technologies to gradually improve.


Like other nomads in the region, the Mongols lived off the land around them. They lived in tents which allowed them to migrate from place to place in search of the best hunting grounds and the most fertile soil.


For the most part, these nomads lived in small tribes that were united by their common family relationships. Tribes often joined together forming larger co-dependent tribes that offered greater protection and stability.

Around 1205 A.D., a tribal leader emerged in Mongolia that would change the fate of the people for centuries. This man’s name was Temujin.

Temujin worked to unite the many different tribes in Mongolia under a single government. After successfully bringing the Mongolians together, he established written laws known as the yasa. The yasa guided the actions of Mongolians throughout the whole of their empire.


Temujin also established a powerful military, and insured that they had the best weaponry and training of any army on Earth at the time. As a result of his successes, his people began to refer to Temujin as the Khan, or king. He became known as the Genghis Khan.

Crash Course in History does a great job in summarizing the impact of the Mongol Empire. Check it out below.

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Hinduism and Buddhism

Posted on May 31, 2015 at 7:45 AM Comments comments ()

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Another great job by the Crash Course folks!

Digging Deeper into Gandhi & Indian Independence

Posted on May 28, 2015 at 12:00 AM Comments comments ()

The History Channel does a good job summarizing the life and impact of Mohandas K. Gandhi.

In the famous Salt March of April and May 1930, thousands of Indians followed Gandhi from Ahmadabad to the Arabian Sea to protest the British salt taxes. The march resulted in the arrest of nearly 60,000 people, including Gandhi himself. (source:

Asian HDI's

Posted on April 24, 2015 at 9:45 AM Comments comments ()

Click on the link below to access the HDI's of Asia. You only have to do the Asia HDI map. 

Asia HDI

Riches & Misery: The Consequences Of The Atlantic Slave Trade

Posted on March 24, 2015 at 2:50 PM Comments comments ()

A detailed drawing of the slave ship Brookes, showing how 482 people were to be packed onto the decks. The detailed plans and cross sectional drawing of the slave ship Brookes was distributed by the Abolitionist Society in England as part of their campaign against the slave trade, and dates from 1789.

By: Dr William Hardy

Published on: Thursday 3rd March 2005

The movement of millions of Africans to the New World, during a period of roughly four hundred years, was by any standards a major historical phenomenon, with long-term international consequences. To assess these consequences, we need to look at the three corners of the Atlantic’s “triangular trade”. First, what effects did the trade (and the loss of so many people) have on Africa itself? Second, how important was the trade to the development of the Americas? Third, what was the impact of the trade on Europe? Could Britain, the first “industrial nation”, have industrialised without the slave trade?

The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Africa

Perhaps the hardest of these areas to address is the impact on Africa, because of the lack of reliable statistical information. Historians’ estimates of the effects of the slave trade range widely, from those who see the trade as fundamental to the problems that blighted Africa both then and later, to those who see it as only a marginal factor in Africa’s historical development.

Nevertheless, it is possible to make a number of observations. Whatever the African impact of the Atlantic trade, it was at its greatest in West Africa, which supplied the largest number of captives, although at the height of the trade many other parts of Africa were also used as a source for slaves. In addition, the trade had a disproportionate impact on the male population, because male slaves were the most sought after in the Americas; it is thought that roughly two-thirds of the slaves taken to the New World were male, only one-third female.

Powerful Africans who engaged in slave dealing could make a sizeable profit from the trade, especially in view of the relatively high prices that European merchants were prepared to pay for African slaves. By the eighteenth century, slaves had become Africa’s main export. But whether the ordinary people of Africa felt a significant benefit is far more doubtful. It seems that the period between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries was a time of economic stagnation for Africa, which fell further and further behind the economic progress of Europe as the years passed by. Little wonder, then, that some historians interpret this as a sign that the Atlantic trade was seriously retarding Africa’s economic development.

The possible negative consequences of the trade were not only economic. Politically, as African rulers organised the capture of slaves, traditions were created of brutal and arbitrary intervention by the powerful in people’s lives. Meanwhile, as rival African rulers competed over the control of slave-capture and trading, wars could result. On both counts, the Atlantic trade badly affected the political landscape of Africa, and set disturbing precedents for the future.

Admittedly, not all the consequences of slavery for Africa can be attributed specifically to the Atlantic slave trade. Before, during, and after the era of the Atlantic trade, African rulers were capturing slaves for their own use, and for sale to the Middle East. According to Manning, between 1500 and 1900, while twelve million captives were sent on the Atlantic slave ships, eight million were kept as slaves within Africa, and six million were sent as slaves to the Middle East and other “Oriental” markets. But the Atlantic trade marked a substantial expansion of the African slave system, and should still be seen as responsible for many of its evils.

The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on the New World

Whatever the effect of slavery on Africa, there can be no doubt that black slaves played a crucial part in the economic development of the New World, above all by making up for shortages of labour. The arrival of Europeans in the Americas had brought diseases that decimated local populations, which reduced the potential for securing labour from that source; and often too few Europeans chose to migrate to the Americas to meet the demand for labour. This was particularly true in Brazil and the Caribbean, where people of African origin became by far the largest section of the population; it was also the case in parts of North America, although here white people outnumbered black people.

Black slaves were especially important as a labour supply for the “plantation” agriculture that developed in the New World, first in Brazil, and later in the Caribbean and the southern parts of North America. The plantation system had begun in medieval times on Mediterranean islands such as Crete and Cyprus - it was an unusually sophisticated form of agricultural operation for its day, producing sugar for the international market at a time when most of European agriculture concentrated on the basics of local subsistence. But from its inception, it used slaves; and when plantations were set up in the Americas, black slaves became the backbone of the workforce.

The long-term economic exploitation of millions of black slaves was to have a profound effect on the New World’s history. Most fundamentally, it produced deep social divides between the rich white and poor black communities, the consequences of which still haunt American societies now, many years after emancipation. The divide was reinforced by the determination to segregate black and white communities and discourage inter-marriage, and by the reluctance to liberate black people from slavery from one generation to the next. This contrasted with the experiences of African slaves who were sent to the Middle East, where both inter-marriage and slave liberation were more common.

And yet, one very positive factor could also be witnessed in these dire circumstances: the creativity with which, gradually, the black communities of the Americas developed new identities, drawing on a combination of African tradition, encounters with European culture, and experiences in the New World. For all the miseries of the slave years, this would prove to be a great enrichment of cultural life, and would contribute to the global culture of modern times.

The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Europe

The impact of the slave trade on Europe is another area of historical controversy. Some historians of the slave trade are keen to stress the ways in which the trade had significant economic effects in the home countries. However, historians of European industrialisation have often given little attention to the contribution of the slave trade, although there are exceptions. Readers are left asking themselves: is there any way of reconciling such approaches?

At the centre of the debate is the economic transformation of Britain. During the eighteenth century, Britain became the first country in the world to “industrialise”, in terms of an unprecedented economic shift towards manufactures and commerce, and the progress of technology. These were also years of large British involvement in the slave trade. So were these two trends related?

Undoubtedly the slave trade affected the British economy in a number of ways. The British cotton mills, which became the emblem of the “Industrial Revolution”, depended on cheap slaved-produced cotton from the New World; cotton would have been more costly to obtain elsewhere. British consumers also benefited from other cheap and plentiful slaved-produced goods such as sugar. The profits gained from the slave trade gave the British economy an extra source of capital. Both the Americas and Africa, whose economies depended on slavery, became useful additional export markets for British manufactures. Certain British individuals, businesses, and ports prospered on the basis of the slave trade.

However, this is a long way from saying that the slave trade was the main cause of Britain’s “industrialisation”. British economic advance was made possible by many other factors, including the progress of agriculture, the advance of technology, the stability of political institutions, the local availability materials such as coal, and a culture that was conducive to innovation and enterprise. It is tempting to conclude that, had the slave trade not existed, Britain and the rest of Europe would still have “industrialised” during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, although the exact trajectory would have been altered.

Two further points are worth considering. First, had the slave trade been the “magic bullet” that led to industrialisation, Portugal should have been a leading industrial power, in view of its long engagement in the trade. In practice, the reverse was true: Portugal was one of the most backward industrial economies in Europe. Second, even if the slave trade was important to Europe’s economic development at a certain stage (perhaps the eighteenth century), this importance must have been on the wane by the time that the trade was abolished in the mid-nineteenth century, because abolition seemed to have little negative impact on Europe’s economic advance. Instead, in the decades that followed, industrialisation marched on, spreading to new parts of Europe, and experiencing new waves of technological progress.

On this basis, might one conclude that the most significant and grave consequences of the Europeans’ involvement in the slave trade lay in Africa and the Americas, rather than in Europe itself?

About the author

Dr Will Hardy has taught as an associate lecturer for The Open University in the London region for the past nine years.

Crash Course: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Posted on March 24, 2015 at 8:50 AM Comments comments ()

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Inca Empire

Posted on March 19, 2015 at 1:25 PM Comments comments ()

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Lost Civilizations: Mayans

Posted on March 19, 2015 at 1:15 PM Comments comments ()

Click here to watch the video.

Engineering an Empire: Aztecs

Posted on March 19, 2015 at 1:10 PM Comments comments ()

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Cultures & Kingdoms of West Africa (map and text)

Posted on March 14, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments ()

For periods 2 & 3, go to the Documents page for pages 134-135 of the text needed to complete your map activity.

Guns, Germs & Steel KEY

Posted on March 14, 2015 at 12:15 AM Comments comments ()

Go to the Documents page to compare your notes with mine. Periods 4 & 5 will be taking the quiz on Monday, March 16.

A Crash Course in Crash Course

Posted on March 10, 2015 at 10:40 AM Comments comments ()

For our exploration and analysis of the Civilizations of the Americas (Mayans, Incans and Aztecs) we will be creating our own Crash Course style video. After researching the basic aspects of these civilizations, groups of students will break-up into teams of researchers, cartoon editors and script writers. Deadlines for the phases will be announced shortly. Go to the Documents page for a copy of the directions and grading rubric. 

Check out John Green's Crash Course video on the history of Latin America below:

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African Geography Quiz

Posted on March 4, 2015 at 11:45 AM Comments comments ()

Date: Friday or next day we meet as a class if we are out due to snow.

How should you study?

Parts 1 & 2 of quiz are pure memorization. Know where the countries, landforms and bodies of water are in Africa.

Part 3 is application. How does geography impact Africa?

What should you use to study?

1) Map games

2) Mapping activies involving the physical geography of Africa

3) Physical Geography reading/quiz (see Documents page for key)

Guns, Germs and Steel: Into the Tropics

Posted on February 25, 2015 at 11:25 AM Comments comments ()

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