Teaching about toys
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Teaching about toys
When faced with teaching technology and history, there is an intersection that most people have direct experience with: toys.
Curated by Aidan Popely
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Make your own toy theatre - Victoria and Albert Museum

Make your own toy theatre - Victoria and Albert Museum | Teaching about toys | Scoop.it
Toy theatres (or ‘juvenile drama’) were hugely popular in the 19th Century, and were collected by adults and children.
Aidan Popely's insight:

Oh wow I could have just linked to various pages from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Before we get any further, I want to say how much I reccommend taking a look at this site for idea for engaging history lessons.

 

This page doesn't have a huge amount of information about Toy Theatres, only a snippet, but it does have a template and instructions for making a Toy Theatre as well as a script based on Cinderella. As an activity in class, this is a wonderful starting point, but I would suggest actually completing the stage model once on your own to gauge the difficulty of building it for your class. I suspect it may be too difficult for the 6-8 year olds these suggestions are aimed at.

 

What's great about using this as a basis for the lesson is how broad you can be. While linking into history, demonstrating a kind of toy/ game that has fallen out of style nore recently, it easily cross links into drama and visual art and literacy outcomes are accessible if students write their own scripts. The scope of the lessons using this as a basis can be as wide or as narrow as you choose.

 

Seriously though, I cannot stress this enough: browse the museum website. There is so much on there to use as a spring board for a lesson, with other activities on other topics.

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Yulunga: full resource : Participating in Sport : Australian Sports Commission

Yulunga: full resource : Participating in Sport : Australian Sports Commission | Teaching about toys | Scoop.it
Aidan Popely's insight:

When looking for an Indigenous Australian perspective on toy history, this is a fantastic resource. Dividing the games into age appropriate sections, in an easy to read an understand format. 

 

Very obviously you would play some of these games as a cross content period with Physical Education. Yulunga is a great resource for two reasons: it gives the area the game comes from as well as what would have traditionally been used to play the game . Choosing a game from the local area, if possible, would be best to ground the lesson in the local culture, but it isn't necessary especially as not all areas are represented. 

 

What would make these lessons a more powerful teaching tool? Sourcing what the game was played with originally. Students could play with modern equipment and compare the experience to playing the game with the traditional equipment, if safe. 

 

Some of these are game that come from spears, hunting and combat. I don't recommend the traditional equipment in those cases.

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LEGO.com About Us The LEGO Group - The LEGO history

LEGO.com About Us The LEGO Group - The LEGO history | Teaching about toys | Scoop.it

The name 'LEGO' is an abbreviation of the two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well". It’s our name and it’s our ideal. 

The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen. The company has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder.

Aidan Popely's insight:

LEGO history has everything you could possibly want in a technology/history topic for younger children. First of all, LEGO is easily the most recognisable toy in the developed world. At 80 years old, most students will have played with LEGO as well as their parents which means there's more of a chance of a common experience within the classroom. Secondly, LEGO is relatively gender neutral, which again adds to the chance of a common experience among students. 

This page would be best used by a teacher to gain background knowledge on the history of LEGO, in conjunction with the Wikipedia entry "History of Lego", before introducing the topic in class. 

LEGO was very originally a wooden toy company, only obtainining a plastic injection mould after WW2 was over and even then it was a number of years before the bricks were developed and became a huge seller. The picture here shows the original hollow underside of the bricks before the tubes were introduced to stop the bricks from sliding around.

There are two possible focuses that I can see. The first is in the change of materials from wood to plastics, and the second is the improvement of the design of the brick itself. Either of these focuses would lend itself to an activty looking at what makes a good building block. As a class, we could brainstorm a few ideas before having smaller groups design what they consider to be a good building toy, explaining both material and design choices.The assessment is of the explanations, looking for deeper thinking and creativity.

 

For older children, using different building blocks to actually build a tower would show that LEGO blocks are superior to previous materials. The complexity of the building can increase with better building materials and techniques, parallel to actual construction technology.

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ToyNfo.com - The Toy Encyclopedia

ToyNfo.com - The Toy Encyclopedia | Teaching about toys | Scoop.it
ToyNfo.com - The Toy Encyclopedia features information on some of the wackiest and hard-to-find toys from the last 60 years.
Aidan Popely's insight:

This scoop is less about the actual site and more about the kind of knowledge the site represents and how to combine that with a stage one history lesson. This site is not much of an encyclopedia, despite the name, but it represents the idea of a non-Wikipedia source that you can use as a teacher to learn quickly about a topic. In this case: toys.

 

How can we make a topic engaging? By making it about our students. Ask your class to talk to their parents about their favourite toys from when they were 7 or 8 years old. Hopefully all students will come back with at least a name and basic description. If we're particularly lucky some parents may still have that toy. By investigating what these toys were, students might discover something about their parents they never knew. 

 

Teachers should collate this information through a class discussion/ report and set students the task of whether the toy still exists today and how it has changed. Teddy bears, for example, have stayed very much the same for a very long time while GI-Joe has transformed from the 12 inch tall full clothed action figure in the Seventies to a 4 inch tall, pre moulded action figure. Hand held LCD games were replaced by Gameboys which were in turn replaced by Nintendo DS's which has been replaced by the dominant handheld gaming system, the 3DS. This is a very personal history of toys and as such I expect it to be pretty engaging for a class to learn about what their parents played with. Maybe they'll find some kind of game they can play with their parents?

 

To get the best detail, I would advise creating a question sheet for your class so they can get the most detailed and consistent information possible.

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Kids Around the World with their Favorite Toys

Kids Around the World with their Favorite Toys | Teaching about toys | Scoop.it
  Gabriele Galimberti is a professional photographer from Italy. He recently finished a whirlwind 18-month trip around the world during which he pursued many of his photographic projects. One ...
Aidan Popely's insight:

Less of a history lesson, more of a world cultures lesson using visual literacy. This is a photography project showing children with their toys from all over the world. The number of toys, the quality of toys, the types of toys, they are all influenced by the cultures the children come from. 

 

Using this as a resource for learning in the class room seems obvious to me. Students would be asked to list the kinds of toys in individual photos and then to make an an informed guess about the child in the photo or the culture they come from as an exercise in visual literacy.

There are some very powerful photos in this collection. For instance Botlhe from Botswana is shown with a single stuffed monkey but she is beaming just as much as any of the children from more advanced economies. There is the distinct possibility that someone in the class would ask how she can be so happy with only one toy. Questions like that help create teachable moments.

 

To bring the lesson back to history, this excercise could be used as a springboard into looking at the history of another nation's relations with Australia. For example, the picture from Ukraine could be used with When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs to look at the tail end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union.

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Airbase history marked in exhibition

Airbase history marked in exhibition | Teaching about toys | Scoop.it
The history of an RAF airbase whose pilots fought battles across the world is being charted in a new exhibition.

Via @NewDayStarts
Aidan Popely's insight:

Just a placeholder while I figure out what kind of technology I'm going to be talking about when referring to Stage 1 HSIE, History.

 

EDIT: Toys! Of course!

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