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Language & Literature

  • Language & Literature

Grade 6 & 7

In Language and Literature this month the students in Grade 6 have started their unit entitled The Evolution of Ideas in which they have starting reading the iconic sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey by British author Arthur C. Clarke.

In this short novella we are whizzed through the evolution of man’s cognitive development from the early days of hominids in the African savannah to deepest space when a ship of astronauts is faced with an enigmatic alien monolith which may have been the catalyst for human evolution. The book is amasterpiece of creative ideas, exploring the links – and differences - between human and artificial intelligence and promises to expand the pupils’ minds like few other books can.

In the language part of this unit they have looked at the emergence of the English language around 800 years ago and how it borrowed – and stole heavily from other languages such as Latin and Greek. In groups the pupils researched and presented about both words (see above the word tesseract) and grammar rules that are peculiar to the English language, looking at how this most contrary of languages has grown and evolved with the culture around it.

Meanwhile in Grade 7 the students have been studying the unit Heroes Through Time, in which they have started to read a modern re-telling of the Trojan war saga called Black Sails Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff, which is full of rich characters like Achilles and Agamemnon. As they move through the book they have been discussing whether such characters are truly heroes in the traditional sense, or are rather more ‘grey’ due to their somewhat dubious decisions and lack of a moral compass.

They have also analyzed the effect of cultural anthropologist Joseph Campbell and his theory of their being 12 stages to a hero’s ‘journey’. They have used this new knowledge in relation to the movie Clash of the Titans with its hero Perseus and broken down his adventure into the aforementioned stages. The story arcs they mapped out are shown in the picture above. They will in future lessons read and watch other heroic epics through the prism of Campbell’s ideas and deconstruct them to see how relevant his ideas are in the modern world in such movies as Star Wars.

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