Christopher I. Cobitz Ph.D.
Realize that databases go with social studies the way peanut butter goes with jelly.
Ask the students to trace the course of the Revolutionary war. List all the important battles and skirmishes but add a new twist. Insist on the students recording this information in a database. But in addition to recording the date, have them record the latitude and longitude (these number do not need to be exact). Additionally they should record the generals involved.
This activity can either be done as individuals, small groups or whole class activity. The actually learning experience occurs once the database is created. With the database and a program such as Works (either Apple or Microsoft), ask the students to sort the database by British general, then by latitude then by longitude. Ask the students to compare this result to the sorting on British general, longitude, then latitude. Ask them to decide which one follows the chronology better.
Have them perform similar sorts combining American general, latitude and longitude. Then latitude and longitude and victorious side.
The point is threefold; importantly the student will gain some computer proficiency. More importantly, the student will integrate geography with history to understand the course of a war. Finally the student will gain intimate relations to the battles and actions of the revolutionary war.
ã 1999 Christopher I. Cobitz Ph.D. Permission is granted for non-commercial use provided this copyright notice remains intact.