Saturday, October 6, 2012

Summer Olympics Comparison at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

Once a week, Cedar Ridge Academy students  that are enrolled in a Social Studies class attend a supplemental instruction given by their certified Social Studies teacher, Kimberly Hawks.  Kimberly focuses on social studies skills that are applicable to all students to help strengthen their academics necessary to attend this trip.  These instructions are designed to supplement the rigorous curriculum that the students are working on independently.  In addition, these activities help with their academic development, credit recovery, academic recovery, and college preparation.  At a therapeutic boarding school, these classes also create peer-to-peer interactions which help troubled teens build academic relationships with the other boys and girls in their class.

Kimberly also tries to bring current events into the classroom.  She believes that the students need to know what is going on in the world to better apply to what they are learning in the classroom and to be productive citizens of the country when they leave her classroom.  This summer, the London 2012 Olympics provided a great opportunity to bring current events into the classroom. 

One particular day, Kimberly provided the students a list of the medal counts from the 2004, 2008, and 2012 summer games.  She explained how the medal counts work and how the International Olympic Committee decides the rankings.  The students were surprised that it was based on the number of gold medals not the total number of medals won, which meant that a country could be ranked first (because they had the most golds) but the second place country could have more total medals.  This was the case with China and the United Stats in 2008.  After discussing the medal count protocol, Kimberly then passed out blank graph paper to the students and divided them into groups.  She gave them a charge to work together with their group to create four graphs that showed a comparison between countries or Olympic years so that some of the data they had in front of them would made more sense with a visual representation.  She explained that historians often use bar graphs, line graphs, and circle graphs to show comparisons and changes in data.  The students were hesitant to get started, but once they figured out that there were endless possibilities of what they could show, they got to work and came up with an overall question as a group to show in their four graphs.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Academics Learns Social Studies
Three students work together to figure out what question they will ask on their graphs

One group decided to focus just on the 2012 Olympics top 10 gold medal countries.  They had three graphs comparing the amount of gold medals, silver medals, and bronze medals won by these countries, and their final graph showed the total medals won by each country.  Another group compared China and the United States from all three Olympic Games.  Another group zeroed in on the "little guys", the countries that don't usually win a lot of medals, to see if there was an increase or decrease from year to year.  The students came up with so many different ideas!

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Academics Learns Social Studies
Two students working on their graphs after dividing up the work
Once the groups were done with their graphs, each group was required to present their findings to the class.  Kimberly encouraged the groups to explain what their graphs showed and what they learned by creating their graphs.  After class, she picked graphs to display on her bulletin board for parent seminar--so stop by and take a look when you are in town.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Academics Learns Social Studies
One of the graphs that the students made

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