Friday, September 16, 2022

The WWII Rumor Project - An Activity in Learning Through Primary Sources

A handful of years ago the Library of Congress launched a crowd sourcing project called By the People. The purpose of the project is to enlist the help of the public to transcribe thousands of primary source documents that are housed by and have been scanned by the Library of Congress. Over the years there have been collections of documents from the American Civil War, papers from the American Revolution, presidential papers, documents about suffrage, and documents about the integration of Major League Baseball. The latest By the People campaign is seeking help transcribing a collection of documents from the WWII Rumor Project carried out by the Office of War Information

Anyone can participate in the LOC's Crowd project to transcribe documents in the WWII Rumor Project collection of notes and diaries. To get started simply go to the collection and choose a document. Your chosen document will appear on the left side of the screen and a field for writing your transcription appears on the right side of the screen. After you have completed your transcription it is submitted for peer review. A demonstration of the process is included in the video below.

Applications for Education
The By the People project is a good opportunity for high school students and some middle school students to learn about the role of information control in the United States during World War II while contributing to a national project. All of the collections in By the People do have timelines and some other resources that help to provide context for the documents that are in need of transcription.

The Smithsonian has a similar crowdsourcing project called Smithsonian Digital Volunteers.

Seven Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About the Value of Money

My daughters have recently started receiving a little weekly allowance. One of them is very interested in saving as many of her dollars as possible for as long as possible. The other sees the money and immediately thinks of the things she'd like to buy. This has led to some conversations around our dinner table about the value of money. The most recent conversation prompted me to compile the following list of resources for teaching and learning about the value of money. 

 Peter Pig’s Money Counter is a fun little game designed to help kids learn to recognize U.S. coins, to recognize the values of U.S. coins, and to add the values of U.S. coins. The game is available as a free iPad app and as a free Android app. There are three levels in Peter Pig’s Money Counter and three games within each level. The first game asks students to sort coins into jars. The second game requires students to count coins and select the matching total value. The third game has students look at two piles of coins and determine which one has the greater value. The difference between the levels is the quantity and variety of coins displayed.

What Gives a Dollar Bill Its Value? is a nice TED-Ed lesson on the influence of the United States Federal Reserve banks on the value of currency. The lesson includes a short piece about the correlation between inflation and the overall health of the U.S. economy. The lesson is probably best suited to high school students who already have a basic understanding of how the value of currency is determined.

How to Spot a Counterfeit Bill is a fun TED-Ed lesson about money. In the lesson students learn about the chemistry of counterfeit detection. In other words, they learn why and how those highlighter pens work on when a store clerk runs one over a twenty dollar bill.

Why Can't Governments Print an Unlimited Amount of Money? is another TED-Ed lesson about the value of money. The purpose of the video is to explain how governments, particularly the United States federal government, were able to spend trillions of dollars on COVID-19 economic relief programs in the last year. The video explains the role of central banks in controlling the money supply and the concepts of inflation and quantitative easing. There is also an explanation of government bonds, why they're sold, and who buys them. Overall, it's a solid video for middle school or high school students. 

Compound interest can be a wonderful thing if you're saving money. How compound interest works is a concept that every middle school or high school student should learn as it helps them see the value of saving money in a bank account.  This Common Craft video does a nice job of explaining the concept in a way that middle school and high school students can understand. This Investopedia video offers a slightly different, but equally helpful explanation of compound interest vs. simple interest.

The Inflation Calculator created by lets you enter a dollar amount then select two years to see the change in the value of the original dollar amount over time. Watch this short video to see how it works.