Overview + Goals

Forget About It:

Memory and the World around Us

8th/9th Grade

Course Overview:

Memory exists all around us – in monuments and memorials, in history textbooks, in cemeteries and speeches. This course aims to completely rewire the way that students think about memory. We will start by building up a biological model of memory – what goes on inside your head to cause you to remember something? We will then investigate personal memories and what it means to forget. We will explore collective memory – how groups of people remember the past, heal from trauma, and write history. In our final unit, we will discuss cemeteries, memorials, and (controversial) monuments, and each student will design an original memorial. By the end of the summer, students will gain an understanding of memory from different perspectives and will discover a new appreciation for how the past exists with the present.

Learning Objectives:

    1. Students will learn fundamental terms related to neuroscience and will gain an appreciation for the biological basis of memory.
    2. Students will reflect on personal memories – the sensory elements, process of remembering, forgetting – and will connect these phenomena back to the molecular underpinnings of our biological model
    3. Building from personal memories, students will explore collective memory, how it relates to healing and how it controls the writing of history.
    4. Students will investigate memory landscapes – memorials, cemeteries, monuments – in the world around us and will gain an understanding of what makes a monument “good”.
    5. Each student will synthesize the course material by designing an original memorial and presenting a proposal for it.

Statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, VA, from above. Image captured by John Briggs.

Next stop: click on this link to access the course outline and progression of lesson plans.