The William Cullen Bryant poem “Thanatopsis” serves as a jumping off point for exploring and visualizing the chemical composition of the human body and the Earth. Students continue by exploring the global populations and estimates of the total number of people who have lived. This mission is aligned with Common Core State Standards: 6.RP.A.3.
The fun stuff:
“Thanatopsis” is a romantic, celebratory poem about the cycle of life and death. To be honest, it’s mostly focused on the death part. But it’s a testament to Bryant’s talent that by the end of the poem one has been convinced not only to live life to the fullest, but also to accept the fact that death eventually comes for everyone. One of the central ideas of the poem is that when we die, our bodies are absorbed into the earth, “to mix forever with the elements.” Another is that after 50,000 years of human generations, “all that tread the globe are but a handful to the tribes that slumber in its bosom.” Both these ideas form a jumping off point for an exploration of chemistry, biology, geology and anthropology as they relate to the poem. Intriguing!
The zip file includes:
★The mission. (4 pages).
★A two-page Quick Start guide for teachers. Detailed and helpful!
★Selected Answers in pdf form.
★Selected Answers online, password protected. For students to correct at home!
The mission includes:
•Comparing and contrasting elements in humans vs. elements in the Earth’s crust.
•Learning about and visualizing the elements in the human body.
•A brief arc of human history and an approximation of the number that have lived.
•Calculating the per capita land area of the deceased.
•Considerations of the claims of the poem and discussing their validity.
This product was designed as a companion piece to the Thanatopsis activity of the amazing, drum-roll-please:
B’s Book Love
Buy it here for a fun cross-disciplinary experience:
Thanatopsis Real World English, Informational Text, Close Reading
Don’t forget to check out my Algebra bundles! Engaging, entertaining and effective:
The Incomparable Number Sense Bundle from Courage To Core
The Excellent Expressions and Equations Bundle from Courage To Core
The Exhilarating Linear Functions Bundle from Courage To Core
The Daring Data and Statistics Bundle from Courage To Core
About Courage To Core:
We all have an innate curiosity about how the world works. We are wired to experiment at the edges of our knowledge, to look for patterns and to draw conclusions. Mistakes are the welcome surprises which help us refine the experiment. In a student-centered classroom, students collaborate to ask questions, gather data, interpret results and articulate understanding. Success at the edge of knowledge demands persistence and creativity. Courage To Core provides a context for students to work together to become the agents of their success and the owners of their cognition. If you like Courage To Core, please give me a positive rating to help me get started on TpT! You get credits towards future TpT purchases with every rating you give! Just revisit the purchased item in my store and scroll down to star me! Thanks!