Natural Turning Points in History

  • Instructor Bryan C. Gersbeck
  • Code WH78
  • Student Ages 8-13
  • Term Summer Session 2023 (June 5-July 28)

In this course, students will investigate the important disasters—both natural and humanmade—that created turning points in history. They will learn about the obstacles that people faced and the strategies they created to overcome the challenges that were inherent in the aftermath of each disaster, as well as the economic and political outcomes of the events. They will also debate the modern implications that the outcomes of these events still hold.

Examples of disasters that changed the course of history include the mass extinction theory and the death of the dinosaurs, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the burial of Pompeii, the Dust Bowl and America’s agriculture, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl and the subsequent cleanup attempt, and the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of Japan. Events such as these have forged the Earth’s history—and sometimes have changed the very landscape of our world.

Live Classes: Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Student Expectations: This course will include a combination of lectures, open discussions, and informative readings. Students are expected to contribute to the discussions and to complete the weekly assignments.

Student Support: The instructor is available via email.

Feedback/Assessment: Students will be assessed on their class participation and written work.

Materials: All reading materials will be available on the internet.


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