- Division: Middle School
- Faculty and Staff
- Social Studies
Fifth-grade students on a journey through early civilizations had an unlikely travel companion this year: a journalist retracing early human migration patterns on a 24,000-mile walk around the world.
Fifth-grade students on a journey through early civilizations like Mesopotamia and Egypt were accompanied by an unlikely travel companion this year: Paul Salopek, a National Geographic journalist retracing early human migration patterns on a 24,000-mile walk around the world.
As Salopek walks “out of Eden” — he began in Ethiopia in 2013 and is currently making his way through China — he is sharing the stories of people who “rarely make the news” but are nonetheless as crucial to the success of civilization as those who do.
“Fishermen and craftsmen and weavers and people who work in markets, people who aren’t in the spotlight, but are extremely important to the world,” explains 5th grade teacher Josh Van Lare.
“It connects to what we’re learning about civilizations, but it also broadens their horizons and helps them see how different people live around the world.”
The class is participating in the “Out of Eden Learn” project, an initiative by the Harvard Graduate School of Education that connects students from around the world who are following Salopek’s journey.
Inspired by Salopek’s “slow journalism,” the project encourages students to “slow down and find humanity” by exchanging stories, perspectives, and experiences from their own lives, like maps of their neighborhoods or interviews with an older relative or friend.
Throughout the year, the class exchanged experiences and observations with students in India, Greece, and California.
“I found it so exciting to read about other people’s lives worldwide,” said Bea, a 5th grader. “I love to do this because it’s interesting to hear about someone’s life in India. After all, it’s so different from my life here.”
Josh says his goal is for students to have “a broader understanding of the world, to be reflective and introspective.”
“My hope is that their worldviews have grown as a result of this project,” he says.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of SCOOP.