Connecting Our Own Lives to the Past

Adapted from Out of Eden Learn’s Curriculum, Core Learning Journey 2: The Past and the Global

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The aim of this activity is to invite you to think about how your own life connects to the past or history. In his writing, journalist Paul Salopek often refers to our shared human history along his journey on the Out of Eden Walk. He is especially interested in exploring how history can help us to understand or think in new ways about our lives today.

Read Paul's dispatch, The Natural History of Compassion.

(Video instructions from OOEL’s online learning journey The Past and the Global)

  • BRAINSTORM Make a list of the ways in which you think human past or history is connected to who you are and the life you are living or expect to live. You can include events, individuals or groups of people, trends, developments, places that you have visited or lived, and/or themes that extend over a few or many years. 

  • DIAGRAM Now use this list to help you to draw a diagram or picture to explain how our human past or history is connected to who you are and the life you are living or expect to live. Organize your diagram in any way you want. Maybe use lines or arrows to show connections or influences among the different parts of your diagram. You can draw your diagram by hand and then photograph or scan it, or you can draw the diagram electronically. Try to show connections to the past, including before you were born. You can connect back to very early human history like Paul Salopek—and/or make connections to more recent history. 

  • DESCRIBE Write a “placard” to help other people understand what your diagram is about and why you made it the way you did. A placard is a short written description that you would find in a museum or gallery next to an exhibit. You can also give your diagram a title. 

  • REFLECT What new ideas do you have about your connection to history that you didn’t have before?

SHARE ONLINE (optional)

  • Follow OOEL on Twitter and Instagram: @OutofEdenLearn.

  • Share on social media photos of your diagram and placard, along with any reflections about what you learned using #EdenLearn!