Flags and immigration

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Together, we engaged in a brainstorm around our Flags topic about field trips, questions to pursue, and project ideas. I explained that I have planned most of what we have explored so far this year to establish a baseline of understanding and cover a variety of bases, but that it's important that we all have a voice in how we continue to engage and what we produce. You can see many of the ideas we developed on this poster.

One of the ideas we thought up was to design, or re-design if necessary, the Burlingame city flag by following the design principles presented by Roman Mars in his TEDTalk on city flag design. We imagined taking our Burlingame flag to Roman Mars to get his feedback, and further, getting interviewed for his podcast 99% Invisible. Though it's a stretch, we set out to Burlingame City Hall (across the street from the library) out of the blue. We asked customer service if there was a Burlingame flag and a she told us no! We explained that we wanted to design one, and she thought it was a great idea. She instructed us to write to the mayor and arrange a meeting with her to propose our design. This definitely lit a fire! The kids were bouncing with ideas and excitement.

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The woman we talked to, Sandra, gave us a brief tour of the wall of Mayors and history of the city of Burlingame. We have lots of research to do in order to propose a meaningful flag. If you have any ideas, talk to your child about them!

Our morning was heavy on discussion, connecting ideas, and questioning. A Young People's History presents us with much needed perspective from various peoples, but we have also been looking for a simple overview describing the motives, goals, and issues driving the American Revolution from a bird's eye view. We consulted BrainPop for the basics, the connected arising themes like greed, protection of territory, fairness, power, freedom and immigration. We had insights like "that sounds like the true First World War" when we realized that Native Americans, Africans, Spanish, French, British, and Americans were involved in the American Revolution.

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We played a game called "Immigration Nation" from a great civics resource called iCivics in which the player has to decide if various characters will be granted citizenship based on factors like birthplace, parent birthplace, work, marriage, etc. through play, the game explains current US laws about immigration. This, too, sparked a discussion on the presidential debates, Syrian refugees, space, and national identity.

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This got us thinking about immigration during and after the American Revolution. Our country is steeped in immigration history. We would like to visit Angel Island's Immigration Station to learn about our local immigration history. This topic is both it's own flag-related thread and very much related to our study of early US history. No some ways, it's a beautiful way to tie the election and contemporary politics to the principles the US upon which the US was founded. We wrapped our morning up with a video from Momondo about people's misconceptions about their ancestry. After a DNA test, these people were shocked by all of the places their DNA was from, thus confusing their biases or prejudices.