How exactly does one learn using history as the hook? A friend’s response to an article I posted on Facebook about Easter Island encouraged me to show how I learn everything using chronological history. The article showed bodies excavated in 2017 attached to the famous Easter Island heads. (https://mymodernmet.com/easter-island-heads-have-bodies/) I had no idea there were bodies under the ground. But I knew how to find out more about the story. So . . . challenge accepted, my friend!
If you are either the teacher or the student, the process of studying a topic chronologically is the same. Choose a topic—in this case, the Easter Island heads, or Moais. Then, do some research. I usually choose a topic from my chronological Timeline list that I’ve created over the years. But finding an article that is interesting, or running across a new topic in reading or study, is also valid. Go with your own or your students’ interests.
I start in my home library. Do I have any resources helpful to learn more about the Moais? Guess what I found? Aku-Aku: The Amazing Story of a Scientific Expedition That Uncovered the Secret of Easter Island, by Thor Heyerdahl, one of the explorer-archaeologists who actually worked on Easter Island. Cool! An original source. But I can’t find anything else that is useful. So . . .
Next, I check the county library website. What resources are available there? Just putting in the keyword Easter Island, I find several books for adults and children, along with travel guidebooks and a few videos. I check the ones that look promising and find a few more sources—several more books by Heyerdahl; The Mystery of Easter Island, by Katherine Pease Routledge; a biography of Routledge, Among Stone Giants, by Jo Anne Van Tilburg; another book by Van Tilburg, Easter Island: Archaeology, Ecology, and Culture; Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson; and Easter Island: A Novel, by Jennifer Vanderbes. Remember, I am just gathering sources now. I will sort them later.
Then, I head to the Amazon site. If you prefer brick and mortar, check your favorite local bookstore. Or do both. You’ll come up with more resources. I search once again, using Easter Island, Heyerdahl, and Routledge, and find even more resources.
I also check with a friend of mine, whose son lived in Chile for two years, to see if he brought anything back from Easter Island. Maybe he would be a good guest speaker, if I want to gather a group, or we could just chat one-on-one. Always try to think of in-person resources. They’re the best!
Why am I continuing to look for resources if I already have several? First, I want to verify information by using more than one or two sources. Also, I get a variety of subjects and types of resources. I hope to find some for various ages, some with pictures, some with stories, some focusing on history or art or math or science.
Since I have found more original sources on Amazon, I can now check several keywords on my internet search besides Easter Island: I add Maoi, Ahu, Rapa Nui, and James Cook. (I noticed several biographies of him and his original writings on Amazon. And I found a book about his voyages in my home library—score!) I also check images, maps, and news in my search. I find an article from last week’s Guardian, telling of a British delegation headed to Easter Island this week to discuss returning a Maoi from the British Museum to Easter Island, and to talk with local experts about how to preserve the Maois from the elements. Tying the topic to current events is an added bonus!
That gives me several articles and websites, which have bibliographies, from which I can get more resources. Then I can look at them at the library, online, or on Amazon to see if they are worth using. See how this works?
I also read Wikipedia and Britannica Online articles on Easter Island, to give me some background information. I want to cover a broad sweep of history, preferably from ancient times to the present-day. So I need to know where to look for that, and sites like those give me a good place to start—and more original resources.
To connect my topic to each discipline, I make a list of subjects and create an outline of all the tidbits I’ve discovered today. I notice I don’t have anything in Math or Music, so I’ll concentrate on finding out more about those as I continue my search. I also need to decide how long I want my study to last—a day, a week, a month, a year? That will determine how in depth I want to go with my resources and how long I want to continue my research. I’ve now created a pretty good list that I will sort to see which works make the final cut for my historical learning.
To connect my topic to chronological history, I find that the statues are believed to have been created starting in the 12th century AD, that the island was “discovered” and named Easter Island by Jacob Roggeveen in 1722. The indigenous people call themselves Rapa Nui. Other explorers, including Cook, Routledge, and Heyerdahl, came to the island through the 1800s and 1900s to talk to the people and excavate/document a few sites. But I also know from recent articles I find that we are still discovering new information about the history of this mysterious island within the last ten years—even in the last year!
Now, I’ll head to the library for more resources, and watch some videos I’ve cued up on Amazon Prime to give me more background for my outline and an idea of my focus. And I’ll be back soon with study and activity ideas for my Easter Island learning, using History as the Hook!
Subject Discipline Outline
Philosophy and Religion
Resources, as of 6/10/19
Websites and articles
News article search
Thor Heyerdahl, Aku-Aku
Thor Heyerdahl, Easter Island: A Mystery Solved
Thor Heyerdahl, The Art of Easter Island
Katherine Pease Routledge, The Mystery of Easter Island: The Story of an Expedition
Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Among Stone Giants
Jo Anne Van Tilburg, Easter Island: Archaeology, Ecology, and Culture
Kaeppler and Van Tilburg, The Iconic Tattooed Man of Easter Island
Christina Thompson, Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia
Jennifer Vanderbes, Easter Island: A Novel
Hunt and Lipo, The Statues That Walked
Caroline Arnold, Easter Island: Giant Stone Statues Tell of a Rich and Tragic Past
Felipe L. Soza, Easter Island: Rapa Nui
Bahn and Flenley, Easter Island, Earth Island
Steven Roger Fischer, Island at the End of the World
Michael Kenna, Easter Island
Carlos Mordo, Easter Island
Shawn McLaughlin, The Complete Guide to Easter Island
Grant McCall, Rapanui: Tradition and Survival on Easter Island
Pavel and Eccles, Rapa Nui: The Man Who Made the Statues Walk
Nova: Mystery of Easter Island
Easter Island: The Truth Revealed
The Lost History of Easter Island
Rapa Nui: History’s Most Protected Monuments
Easter Island: Terra Mystica
Cracking the Mysteries of Time: Easter Island
Ile de Pacques
Stay tuned for more Easter Island chronological learning!
Bonjour! I'm Bonnie. I love learning, travel, reading, writing, photography, and all things French. I am especially passionate about agency education, the humanities, and using history as the hook for all learning!
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