Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Assignment

I have always been an advocate for time travel in the classroom. Imagine learning about the Constitutional Convention by actually going there? Or becoming involved in a discussion about human nature with John Locke? I fully realize that by doing this, my class may inadvertently change history rendering our future obsolete (which is why I haven’t asked for the funding of a time machine). But the idea of time travel still fascinates me.

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a lot of thinking about the Common Core for History/Social Studies Standards as my department has been linking our lessons to them. So, when I entered into a discussion about Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure this weekend, my mind almost immediately went to this.

For those unfamiliar with B&TEA, watch the trailer below:

The movie begins with Bill and Ted being given a history project that they must present in order to graduate. The project itself is a cumulative look back at what students learned in their World History class. The prompt for this project is as follows:

“Express to the class how an important historical figure from each of your time periods would view the world of San Dimas, 1988.”

This inspired activity addresses the following:

RH.11-12.9. Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

WHST.11-12.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

While Bill and Ted had the luxury of a time machine, his classmates had to research time periods in history, identify important figures in those time periods, and hypothesize what the historical figures would think about the current society. Mr. Ryan (their teacher, thanks IMDB!) clearly understood how to create an effective project that went beyond the norm and requires his students to reflect upon their society.

If I were to do this assignment (any of my students reading this ~ be prepared to get excited!), I would have students create some sort of multimedia presentation to present to the class (and outside guests), defend their reasoning for their decisions, and then update the artifact based upon the feedback given.

This would address the following standard:

WHST.11-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

I am sure the results would totally be excellent!

Here is Bill and Ted’s Project:

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)
Be excellent to each other.

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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8 Responses to Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Assignment

  1. Mrs. Altier says:

    Brilliant. Yet another lesson I plan to steal/borrow from you. Now if you could just relate my favorite movie, Star Wars, to the Common Core standards. Can’t wait to read your blog and see how this works for you.

    • @42thinkdeep says:

      Challenge accepted! It may take a week, but I have a few ideas (one stems from an essay I wrote for the History SAT Subject Test linking British Imperialism to the Empire – I don’t think it was fully appreciated back then but I, hopefully, can win you over).

    • Kathy curran says:

      I’m actually only on this site as a fluke but, if you really want to connect Star Wars, it follows the Hero’s Journey perfectly. If you teach English it’s perfect. I don’t know your subject but I’m sure you can find a way to make it work.

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  4. Love B&TEA. My favorite part in this scene is when he says, “Miss-of-Arc”. Ha. Another great parallel.

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