Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Star Wars Episode V.V: The Empire Strikes Endor

<Imaginary scrolling text begins>

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away….


Episode V.V

The Empire Strikes Endor

It is the end of your lesson on the the five motives behind imperialism.  The students have analyzed different primary documents that demonstrated at least one of the five motives – Economic, Ideological, Exploratory, Religious, and Political. You want to create a homework assignment that will reinforce the vocabulary that your freshman (or sophomores) have learned. You want to do something a bit different than normal that will reinforce the five motives to your students in an engaging way. Driven by the desire to also share with your students your love for the original STAR WARS trilogy and your district’s goal to align with the common core, you decide to have your students embark on a journey that will simply take the night….

<Imaginary scrolling text ends>

After aligning the assignment from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to the Common Core last weekend, @squirrelfriend1 challenged me to relate the Star Wars to the new standards. My mind immediately went back to an essay that I wrote in high school comparing the resistance to British rule during the Age of Imperialism to the Rebel Alliance’s resistance to The Galactic Empire. The essay itself was ill-received but I thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing it – also, it allowed me to watch the Star Wars Trilogy for school in one sitting.

The activity that I chose for this is not, however, from the Rebel Alliance point of view. It is from the perspective of the Empire; specifically, how they view the forest moon of Endor.

(I have a soft spot for Ewoks.)

This activity reinforces the following:

RH.9-10.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

As stated in the imaginary scrolling text above, you have just had a lesson introducing the five motives for imperialism (political, ideological, exploratory, religious, and economic) in which students examine primary documents that demonstrate the motives. For the homework, students are to come up with the motives for the imperialism of the Galactic Empire – particularly related to the moon of Endor.

To stage the assignment provide some background on the Star Wars universe. Focus not on the personal saga, but instead the Empire. While their goals were a bit murky, we know that they wanted total control of the universe (although it seems like they exercised  indirect control rather than direct control). For the homework assignment, direct students to create a primary document from the perspective of the Empire indicating their motives for colonizing the Endor Moon. The primary document can be an advertisement, a political cartoon, a speech, or whatever else the students can create – but it must demonstrate a least one of the five motives that were discussed in class.

When class begins the next day, have the students display their newly created “primary documents” around the room. Then have all of the students go on a gallery walk where students guess what motive each “primary document” is attempting to demonstrate. When the students finish their walk, have the them each briefly present their document to the class.

By the end of this activity, students should have a deeper understanding of the motives behind imperialism.

Feel free to make an example of a primary document and share below!

Note: The “have students create primary documents” idea I learned at this years EdCamp Social Studies from Diane Laufenberg. Also, this activity could still work well without the Star Wars emphasis.

For more on my Connecting Lessons to Common Core series click the links below:
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Nationalistic Travel Brochures
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Imperialism and Star Wars
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Extra Extra! Primary Documents to News Articles!
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Assignment
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Personal Journals during the French Revolution
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Your Own Personal Latin American Revolution
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Enlightenment – Declaration of Independence
Connecting Lessons to Common Core: A Missed Opportunity (Political Philosophies ~ Conservative, Liberal, Radical)

About Michael K. Milton

I teach students Social Studies at Burlington High School. When I became a teacher, I believed that students would frequently give me apples. This has not happened (not even a Red Delicious ~ a name which is a misnomer). However, my school has given me a MacBook Pro and an iPad in an effort to right this wrong (I assume). I'm very lucky to work in a 1:1 school.
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3 Responses to Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Star Wars Episode V.V: The Empire Strikes Endor

  1. Pingback: Klout, Parenting, and Expectations: The Four Stages of an Unwarranted +K-ing | Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

  2. bevenden says:

    Incorporating Star Wars into PBL. NICE! I like that you are exploring the Imperial perspective and it is a great idea to create primary documents. Great stuff!

  3. Pingback: Going Meta: Cataloguing My Past Two Years of Blogging | Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

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