Topics

[NB:

  1. Even if you are familiar with the discussion and array of topics that appear in the Learning in Depth book, you might want to note that the lists below include many more topics than appear in the book, and exclude some topics suggested in the book. We have been learning from experience!

  2. Students’ choice of their topic: Experience has very largely supported our counter-intuitive arguments that it is better to randomly assign topics to young children beginning their LiD programs. A little to our surprise we are finding that LiD is being introduced to students at every grade level in some school somewhere. We recommend that by about age 9, 10, or 11 students should increasingly be given choice in their topics if they begin at those ages, and the older, the more freedom of choice. For students from about ages 9 to 13, we recommend that they choose from among the set of topics in the first matrix below. For students from about ages 14 to 18, we recommend only they adhere to the criteria below in choosing their topics.]

Let’s begin by stating the criteria we can use in order to select topics. These are taken from Chapter 5 of the book and to the degree that they aren’t self-evident here they are explained there.

Criteria for selection of LiD topics

  • sufficient width
  • sufficient depth
  • sufficient connections with the self—cultural, imaginative, and emotional ties
  • not too constrainedly technical
  • sufficient local resource materials available for adequate access
  • not too general or too unconstrained (e.g. animals is too general, tigers is maybe OK, but cats is optimal)
  • not focused on the more depressing features of human existence nor on common phobias
  • each topic must provide an equivalently rich experience for all students
  • each topic must be acceptable to the student’s parents or caregivers (i.e. matters of cultural sensitivity and ethics also need to be considered in the allotment or choice of topics).

Picture 29

In the book there is an array of topics that were suggested as suitable for LiD programs in schools. With some experience, and after soliciting help from a number of people involved with LiD, we have revised the set of good topics. They appear in two lists below. The first is a set of topics which seem to work best and meet all the criteria above very well. Thanks to the kind people who made suggestions that have added a significant number of new topics and also for suggesting on good grounds the removal of topics in the book’s list. The second list is a set of topics that seem to have some value, but about which some questions have been raised. They are here because the LiD group hasn’t been able to decide whether or not to include or exclude them, and we would welcome any recommendations from anyone who reads this. We would also be grateful for any suggestions for additions to the first list in particular. Please send suggestions to: lid-ed@sfu.ca

Suitable LiD Topics

Agriculture Air & Atmosphere Aircraft & Airports Amphibians Antarctica
Ancient ruins Animal habitations Ants Apes & monkeys The Arctic and Antarctic
Apples Bats Bears Bees Beetles
Birds Bridges Buildings Butterflies and moths Castles
Cats Cattle Caves, Mines & Tunnels Cells Cereals & Grains
The circus Clothing Color Cooking Coral
Cosmic objects Cotton Counting systems Crustaceans Dance
Deserts Dinosaurs Dogs Dust Eggs
Engines Exploration Eyes Farm animals Farming
Fish Flags and heraldry Flowering plants Forests Fossils
Fungi Games & Sports Goats Grass Habitations
Hair & Fur Hands, feet, hooves &  paws Headwear & Footwear Horses Icebergs & glaciers
Insects Jungles Leaves Light Locomotion
Maps Marsupials Measurement of time Metals Milk
Mollusks Money The Moon Mountains Music
Musical instruments Myths and Folktales Oceans Olympic games Paints and their uses
Paper Pirates Ponds and lakes Ports Rain forests
Reptiles Rice Rivers Roads Rodents
Roots of plants Sacred buildings The Sea Shore Seeds Sheep
Ships Sign systems & Codes The Solar system Songs Spacecraft
Spices Spiders Stones & Rocks The submarine world Swamps & Wetlands
Teeth Theatre Tools & Simple Machines Trains & Railways Transportation
Trees Tundra Tunnels Underground life Volcanoes
Water Water supply & resources Water transport Weather & Climate Whales
Wheat The wheel Wildlife migrations Wood Wool
Worms Writing systems

Further suggested topics. Thanks! Keep them coming.

Arthropods Climate Hobbies Mythical creatures Pets

Possible/Doubtful topics

Ancient civilizations Aircraft & Airports Bones Books Camels
Carpets Chemicals Clouds Coal Codes
Coffee Dams Dyes Electricity Energy
Flight Food preservation Glass Gold The human body
Human food Ice Ages Imaginary Creatures Inventors Irrigation
Islands Jewelery Jokes Languages Mail systems
Masks Measurement of space Medicine & Healing Microorganisms Mills
Monuments Museums Navigation Nomads Oil
Performing arts Photography The printing press Power production Pyramids
Religious officials Rituals Robots Rubber Savannah
Scavengers Shrubs Silk Skin Soil
Sound Special clothing (Uniforms, Vestments, etc.) Steel Storms Submarines
Tea Barter, Trade & Commerce Travel Toys Weaving
Wells The Jurassic period, Stone Age/Bronze Age/Iron Age, other “ages” / historical periods

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