The "New" BC Social Studies 8
I haven't taught Social studies 8 in a long while, but with the British Columbia curriculum changing, I thought it would be fun to put together a course outline to go with the new course. There are many ways that teachers and students can go with the new Social Studies courses; this is just an example of how I might approach it.
The image on the left is "The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson," exhibited in 1881 and painted by The Hon. John Collier, himself quite an interesting character. Depictions of the frigid Hudson's Bay and tales of Arctic exploration, would have been familiar to many of Collier's British audience, for there were many attempts to find a Northwest Passage between the time of Henry Hudson and 1881. The story behind the artwork actually represents a number of themes that are explored in Social Studies 8.
The painting depicts Hudson the Arctic Explorer, who, despite the risk of winter freeze-up, in 1610 pushed further into the huge bay that now nears his name, thinking he was in the Pacific Ocean. Although a bold explorer and convincing story-teller (he persuaded patrons to finance four voyages the New World), he made a series of blunders with his crew and mishandled his encounters with Aboriginal people. After suffering through the winter on the shores of the bay, his ship was finally free to sail again by June 1611, but rather than return home he wanted to keep exploring. His crew mutinied and cut him loose from his ship, setting Hudson, his son, and seven others adrift in a fishing boat. They were never heard of again.
I think the artist captured some amazing emotions in the three figures. The man resting against the boat's ribs looks like he has given up; if he doesn't have scurvy he soon will. Hudson's son has the look of desperation, or pleading thoughts of "father will know what to do." Hudson himself is appears depressed, angry, and no doubt concerned about the fate of the passengers and his own reputation. He seems to be staring, perhaps at his ship the Discover as it sails away, perhaps at the empty bay, or maybe at another exile. I found this "public domain" image on The Tate's site (a British Art Institution), where they add a caption that suggests Collier was hinting at cannibalism to come. The artist does this "...by posing Hudson, eerily staring out at the viewer like Dante’s ‘Ugolino’ by Joshua Reynolds, 1773. Incarcerated with his sons, Ugolino eats them to survive, although the act is futile and all eventually die." Added to the stark beauty of the cold bay, this painting speaks to me about the problems that were faced (and made) by European attempts to reconcile their values and ambitions with the geography and peoples of "The New World."
The New BC Curriculum page explains the planning behind the course outline posted above. The BC Ministry of Education site provides the background information on the New Curriculum including the requirements for the new Social Studies 9. Parents and students are encouraged to have a look in order to see how and why things are changing for K-9 in 2016-17, and also to give feedback on the proposed directions for Grade 10-12.