Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Using CHAT in a Grade 7 Social Sciences: History lesson

By searching for information on the Internet, I have found that the CHAT theory were mostly used in Science and Mathematics lessons. Being ready for a challenge, I have decided to implement the CHAT theory into a Grade 7 Social Sciences: History lesson. Because it is my first lesson using the CHAT theory, I had to change the learner's mindset with regards to "activity based projects".

The use of language, speech, poster boards, graphs, photographs, computers and the role off the teacher as mediation tools, were very important in achieving the outcomes of the CHAT theory. I have decided to include this into the lesson.
I wanted to see what the learners come up with. Learners were given until 2 September 2011 to hand their projects in.

The main aim of the lesson was to ensure that colaborative learning takes place, and that learners in groups of 2 to 4 work on their projects. I have amphasysed the importance of groups and activity.

I used the following information from the GDE workschedule:

The topic of the lesson: "A broad overview of early trading Systems".
The knowledge focus: European trading systems in the middle ages (Fourteen to Sixteen century).
 Important concepts: Middle ages and Black death.
  • Explain concepts
  • How did trade influence Europe in the Middle Ages?
  • Make links between reason for results of European trading systems in Middle ages.
  • Use sources to identify the positive and negative effects that trade had on Europe in the Middle ages.
Forms of assessment:
Contextual analysis, Data handling and extended writing.
Resources: Textbooks, Newspapers, Articles, Charts, Informational resources and Worksheets.

Learning Outcomes:
LO1, AS 1,2,3,4,5
LO 2 AS1,2,3
LO 3 AS 1,2,3,4,5

Maths: LO2, LO5
Lang: Lo1, LO2, LO5
Arts and Culture: LO1, LO2, LO4


"The Black Death or Bubonic Plague, was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350”.

You have to present a two to three page project in your History book on the Black Death. You can use any format of representation, The following technical requirements have to be adhered to:

·         This should be your own project. Copying from the Internet is called “plagiarism” and will not be tolerated. You will receive zero marks if you are copying straight from any sources.

·         The project can be handwritten using any colour pen, or pencil.

·         Typed projects can be printed in any colour, in Calibri 12 or Arial 12 and formatted to a 1.5 justified line spacing.

·         You can use as many pictures and graphs, and a printout or drawing of a map showing the spread of the Black Death. These can either be drawn by hand or printed. (Any colour)
·         You have to include the following information in your project:

1.    What is the Black Death Plague?
A brief explanation of the following concepts:
                a.    Bubonic Plague
                  b.    Pneumonic Plague
                  c.    Septicemic Plague
2.    How is the Black Death Plague spread?
      3.    What are the 5 symptoms of Black Death?
      4.    How is the plague started?
      5.    Where did the Black Death occur, how far did it spread, how many were effected
             and how many died?
      6.    How did the Black Death affect Europe, and how did it slow trade down in the 14th Century.

A discusson on the attached poster, also formed part of the initial classroom discussions.

The learners could use the following links on the Internet: Internet Source. Available from:
 All Empires Online History Community. Internet Source. Available from:
How Stuff works. Internet Source. Available from:
Medieval History, Black Death. Internet Source. Available from:
Mr. Internet Source. Available from:
Wikipedia Internet source. Available from:

Assessment Rubric

0-3 marks
4-5 marks
6-7 marks
8-10 marks
Investigation No evidence of research. Partially  researched the topic. Satisfactory researched the topic. Excellently researched the topic. Remained focused.
Design and Layout
Poor or no design or layout. Limited design/layout visible. No coherence. Satisfactory design/layout visible. Overall design outstanding
Choice of pictures
Poor choice of pictures. Pictures do not relate to choices. Some variety of pictures. Some pictures support choices made. Evidence of variety. Most pictures relate to choices. Excellent choice of pictures -  supporting evidence.
Discussion of topic
Unable to / did not discuss the topic Partially  discussed the topic Satisfactorily   discussed the topic Excellent discussion on the topic

I will post the outcomes and sample projects on this blog after learners have completed their projects. I have to admit History lessons are beginning to take new shape in this Grade.

What I have already experienced during research lessons::
  • Learners are far more positive about History lessons
  • They feel included into the learning process
  • The change from direct teaching to research had a positive impact on learning.

The Black Death image. Internet source. Available form :
Roth, W.M.& Lee, Y. 2007. Vygotsky's Neglected Legacy: Cultural -Historical Activity Theory. Review of Educational Research. June 2007, Vol.77, No2, pp 186-232.

1 comment:

  1. It would be useful at the end of the lesson to identify the object, mediating tool and the social interactions.