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Humanist Salon

 

Introduction:  
  What makes human beings different from animals? What is it about humanity that makes us special or superior compared to other living things?

Why does most of the world's population think it's okay to eat a cow or a chicken for lunch, but not another human being?
Task:  
  The task is a large group philosophical discussion of humanism set in an Enlightenment salon with famous humanists from all of western history. Each student will assume the 'character' of a particular humanist of their choice, and research their character's answers to the guiding questions. Students will take notes on each of the other students' character's perspectives during the debate. The final product will be a two-page reflection paper answering the guiding questions according to the student's personal beliefs based on the Salon discussion that just occurred in the class.

Choice of some of the possible humanists:
Plato
Socrates
Pericles
Aristotle
Cicero
Marcus Aurelius
Julius Caesar
Constantine
Augustine of Hippo
Thomas Aquinas
Francesco Petrarch
Martin Luther
John Calvin
Ulrich Von Zwingli
Leonardo Da Vinci
Michelangelo Buonarati
Nicolo Machiavelli
Isaac Newton
Blaise Pascal
Thomas Hobbes
John Locke
Louis XIV (France)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Voltaire
Mary Wollstonecraft
Mdm. Du Pompadour
Mdm. De Stael
Comte de Buffon
Auguste Comte
Baron de Montesquieu
Denis Diderot
William Shakespeare
Peter the Great (Russia)
Catherine the Great (Russia)
Process:  
  1. Background Information on Essential Ideas:
Students will get background information and on the concepts of human nature and Plato's theory of the six different types of government. Students will complete short summative assessments to demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of these concepts (the WebQuest will add further to their understanding and ability to analyze and evaluate these concepts).
-Students will create 11x17 pictures of Plato's 6 different types of government (monarch vs. tyrant, oligarchy vs. aristocracy, democracy vs. mob rule)
2. Select Three Western Humanists
After reading brief descriptions about all of the western wumanists, students will select 3 western gumanists whom they might want to portray in a class debate. You will complete a gumanist gistory sheet on EACH of the three humanist.
3. Choose 1 Humanist to represent
Upon demonstrating evidence of learning about these 3 humanists, students will select the humanist that they feel most comfortable representing and about whom the student can answer the Guiding Questions in depth (we can have no more than four of the same Humanist per class).
4. Answer Guiding Questions
Students will answer each of the guiding questions in depth (8-10 ideas) according to three secondary sources and two primary sources from the Humanist (see list of resources below as a starting point).
5. Student-Teacher Conference
Students must also schedule an in-class conference about your Humanist's ideas with your teacher from the beginning of Day 2 of the web quest until the end of Day 3. Note: some classes may have to schedule your conference before/after school, during B-Lunch, or during 1st block advisory.
6. Individual Speech Writing
Create speech on humanism answering the guiding questions
Students will write a 3-5 minute speech that answers the guiding
questions about Humanism. Students will write out a manuscript and
then create an outline or note cards to use when giving his/her speech.
7. 1/4 Class Debate
Students will be divided into four groups in which they will have a smaller-scale Enlightenment salon-style debate over the guiding questions, and any other questions that come up during the presentations and the debate. Students who are not presenting will be taking their own notes OR filling out a debate template, so that they can explain how/why their agree or disagree with presenters' ideas.
8. Personal Written Reflection
The final portion of this web quest and debate will be a 2-3 page reflection on where you end up personally in regards to the questions at hand. You may agree with your character, but you must bring in ideas from at least four other presenters and explain how/why you agree or disagree with them.
Resources:  
  Online Britannica (access from RBHS Media Center):
http://www.philosophypages.com
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://www.iep.utm.edu/
Big 6 web site (to help students create their own research-questions that guide their research): http://www.big6.com/what-is-the-big6/
History Teacher: http://www.historyteacher.net/

Other Web Quests:
https://www.msu.edu/~sweene27/webquest/resource.htm
http://ssrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/aripley/the_age_of_enlightenment.htm
http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/score_lessons/growth_of_democratic/
Evaluation:  
  1. Individual Speech Writing
Create speech on Humanism answering the guiding questions
Students will write a 3-5 minute speech that answers the guiding
questions about Humanism. Students will write out a manuscript and
then create an outline or note cards to use when giving his/her speech.
2. 1/4 Class Debate
Students will be divided into four groups in which they will have a smaller-scale Enlightenment salon-style debate over the guiding questions, and any other questions that come up during the presentations and the debate. Students who are not presenting will be taking their own notes OR filling out a debate template, so that they can explain how/why their agree or disagree with presenters ideas.
Conclusion:  
  Personal Written Reflection
The final portion of this web quest and Debate will be a 2-3 page reflection on where you end up personally in regards to the questions at hand. You may agree with your character, but you must bring in ideas from at least four other presenters and explain how/why you agree or disagree with them.

This Web Quest is available at www.teach-nology.com