The Rise of Napoleon: Savior of Revolution or Modern Day Dictator?

Napoleon’s rise to power mirrors that of many modern day dictators. In order to better understand Napoleon’s rise, i want you to also investigate the former dictator of Egypt, Hosni Mubarek’s, rise to power (that is not him in the above picture ūüėČ

Download the learning helper below and use that in conjunction with your text to understand Napoleon’s rise to power and contrast it to a modern day dictator’s ascent.¬†


Behavioral Economics

The Human Sciences Area of Knowledge focuses on the social sciences NOT including history.  Behavioral Economics is an excellent discipline to study within this AOK because it is the marriage between psychology and economics, two previously distinct social sciences.

Read this primer below from Harvard Magazine on Behavioral Economics and then head to the internet to find some interesting studies emanating from the discipline!

We’ll discuss the following questions related to the study/research/finding you discover:

  1. What prior assumptions did this research refute?
  2. What assumptions are present in the research?
  3. Are any truth claims made?
  4. What is the impact of these findings?
  5. What are the implications beyond the immediate findings?
  6. What Ways of Knowing were utilized in constructing this knowledge?
  7. What are the limitations of the findings?
  8. What are the strengths of the findings?
  9. SO WHAT?!!?! Why does this finding matter to you?

So what does this mean for economics as a discipline? Can we create models that accurately predict economic performance? If no, then what is the most beneficial path forward?  Does this make you favor government regulation more so than previously?

Does the End Justify the Means? Analyzing Robespierre’s Rationale for Terror

Two quotes are relevant to our discussion and understanding of the TERROR during the french revolution:

“By any means necessary” and “does the end justify the means?” ¬†Both of these quotes contain within them assumptions about ethical systems. ¬†They both presume that if the outcome is good, then the way in which you achieve the outcome does not matter. ¬†All that matters is creating the most good for the most people (utilitarianism..i’ll cover this in class!), and if doing so requires violation of ethics or morality in the process, it’s ok because the end result is what is truly important.

Download both a copy of Robespierre’s Speech to the National Assembly below as well as the corresponding Learning Helper (formative assessment) designed to aide in your critical analysis of the document:

Robespierre’s Speech to the National Convention

Robespierre’s Speech LH


Does God Exist?

Does God Exist? ¬†I’m sure you have an EMOTIONAL reaction to that question, perhaps even a RATIONALE one; or maybe it’s your INTUITION that provides you with the answer??

What you are going to be tasked with is articulating a response to the aforementioned question via the utilization of various Ways of Knowing.

Download the Assignment linked below and enjoy the in depth inquiry!!

Does God Exist

Why We’re Smart and Can I Get Smarter?

UPDATED ASSIGNMENT SHEET: Intelligence Essential Question PBL

You’re concerned with your intelligence. You probably, erroneously, even attach your self esteem to your academic reported level of intelligence. You believe intelligence is the key to your future happiness (when you really should be focused on your present happiness anyway…). ¬†You care about intelligence. ¬†So, it would follow, you’d care to understand how you were blessed (or stuck) with the intelligence you have or if that previous statement is completely absurd! ¬†Perhaps intelligence is not something you’re blessed or cursed with but rather something that you cultivate.

Your task is to discover the answer.  Is intelligence fixed?  Is it fluid?  Can we control it?  Are there some aspects of intelligence we can control but others we cannot?  Your job is to figure it out ! So download the learning helper above and begin your investigative work into the realm of intelligence!

Brain Localization

“Examine one study related to localization of function in the brain” is a learning outcome in the biological level of analysis (BLOA).

It is VERY important to understand that as Dr. LeDoux, Neuroscientist at NYU and director of the Emotional Brain Institute, says we must:

“Be suspicious of any statement that says a brain area is a center responsible for some function. The notion of functions being products of brain areas or centers is left over from the days when most evidence about brain function was based on the effects of brain lesions localized to specific areas. Today, we think of functions as products of systems rather than of areas. Neurons in areas contribute because they are part of a system”

But, having said that, I.B wants you to understand that certain brain regions are INTEGRAL parts of a SYSTEM.

We’ll examine two case studies to address this learning outcome: S.M. and H.M.

H.M — The Man With No New Memories

Read the post humous description of H.M and his Case Study below:

Next, enter the study into your STUDY GUIDE FOR STUDIES

We’ll then watch a Scientific American Frontiers’ episode regarding memory and see some similar H.M. Cases.

Questions about H.M: 

  1.  Is the Hippocampus the sole creator of new memories?
  2. Are memories stored in the Hippocampus?
  3. What area of the brain is the Hippocampus in?
  4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Case Study of H.M?

S.M — The Woman¬†Who Lacked a Physiological Response to Fear

Notice that I didn’t say, “The woman who had no fear.” I didn’t say this because she did not lack fear completely, but rather she lacked the physiological fear response that is created/initiated by the amygdala. ¬†Dr. LeDoux of NYU, perhaps the most famous researcher in the world in regard to the Amygdala explains the Nuances of the Amygdala and fear here:

S.M. was a woman who famously lacked an Amygdala due to surgery to reduce her epileptic seizures. Read about S.M here: