Silly question...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mrs.Gould, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. Mrs.Gould

    Mrs.Gould Comrade

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    Sep 22, 2007

    When teaching A.D. and B.C., as in dates, time periods, etc., how do you explain to kids what the letters mean?
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 22, 2007

    Kikds always think that A.D. means after death for some reason. I explain that the calendar we use records years starting with the year of the birth of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the years before he was born are recorded as B.C. for before Christ. A.D. is Latin for anno domini, which means in the year of our Lord. I explain that it doesn't mean anything about the religion that people believe in and that different religions have other calendars that they use.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 22, 2007

    What Upsadaisy said, and...

    1. Draw a timeline to visually explain this. I don't think they'll fully understand it otherwise.
    2. Teach them that now many texts will use BCE and CE (Before Common Era & Common Era) for "political correctness".
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 23, 2007

    Here are some Web sites that might help:

    http://www.mathsisfun.com/ad-bc.html - fairly simple and kid-friendly

    http://www.answers.com/topic/common-era - there's a discussion of the BC/AD vs. BCE/CE terminologies, but if you scroll past that there's a list of different calendar-year conventions: the Romans, for example, dated everything from the founding of the city of Rome (and I'd guess that was the system that was in use in Europe, insofar as any system was, before Dionysius Exiguus decided to peg everything to the birth of Christ).

    One warning, though: DO NOT construct math problems that involve subtracting years from dates AD to get dates BC, because the math won't work: there is no year 0 in the BC/AD (or BCE/CE) system. That is, the year after 1 BC is AD 1.
     
  6. BASAM

    BASAM Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2007

    I have never explained AD but for BC I say before civilization
     
  7. Mrs.Gould

    Mrs.Gould Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2007

    Thanks everyone! I don't teach social studies, but have come across AD and BC dates in some math word problems involving integers. I want to be able to explain it but not go into too much depth. I appreciate all of your help!
     
  8. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2007

    I taught this last week. I told the kids they stood for Before Christ and After Death, but explained that when the calendars and history began to be written down, that the Catholic Church was in charge of a lot of things. We actually did a unit on the history of the calendar last year (I loop) so they knew the gregorian calendar (the one we use) was orignated by the Catholics. I teach in a secular private school, but felt that since it came up it was important to talk about.

    I'm actually Jewish and in Sunday school it was always BCE but for the life of me, I can never remember why. I didn't explain that though, since the book we were looking at said BC. Perhaps my Jewish students will tell me something different after they go home and tell their parents! Ha!
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 23, 2007

    littleschool...good for you.

    I actually have a pet peeve that everyone is so afraid to say anything about Jesus Christ or related religions and traditions even when it is factual and pertains to what you are studying BUT, at least in my school, they have no problems discussing Hannukah and Kawanza. And yes they did discuss the story behind the holiday and not just that Lakkes are traditionally eaten. I'm not for relgion being discussed in general but I like it when a teacher is not afraid to include it if it is part of the lesson (in a factual way). Preaching has no place in school, but that's not what you did. So why are people so afraid to say what it means? It's an excellent history lesson.
     
  10. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2007

    I just read that article on BCE and CE... I think I will tell my kids about that next week, just as another point of reference, since it seems that's what they will likely encounter in high school and college, as it is gradually changing in academia.

    I actually think it might make less sense for kids though.. because to them, common era, could mean their life times or their parents life times. Looking at time before that anyway just seems so impossible. I know my students developmentally have very little understanding of time in history. They have had a hard time understanding the word "generation." At least with "Before Christ" they can imagine something--- even if it's people riding camels, or the story of Christmas. I am not Christian and was not raised Christian, but still think that as a child I had some idea of what that looked like, and what it meant... Christianity is the dominant culture of American society, despite removing it from the schools. I'm going on a tangent.. sorry!
     
  11. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Sorry to keep posting on this topic, but I have one more thing to add... I personally cannot imagine trying to teach Western History, especially European history without talking about the importance of the church. Most every aspect of Western History is tied into the Church for one reason or another-- the printing press was invented to print bibles. Greek is the language of science because the the British royals didn't want to reinforce catholiscm (which was banned in England at the time) by using Latin, people came to the US for religious freedom... and on and on.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 23, 2007

    I would tell them what BC really stands for - Jesus Christ. It simply does not mean "Before Civilization", as many civilizations existed before this point. Just my opinion. :)
     
  13. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2007

    But there were civilizations in the BC era.
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 23, 2007

    I don't know why you can just teach it truthfully. And why would AD stand for after death? It doesn't.
     
  15. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2007

    Originally Posted by BASAM
    I have never explained AD but for BC I say before civilization

    As a World History teacher, this really made me cringe:(

    As others have posted, there were MANY great civilizations before 4AD - Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Maya etc...
     
  16. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2007

    In my district we use BCE and CE, but I am not afraid to mention religion in a historical context.
     
  17. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 23, 2007

    I don't mean in reference to this one topic, but in general. This is especially true around the holidays.
     
  18. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2007

    But that's not true - there were many civilisations BC. I think you need to teach them the correct terminology and explain it. It might not be politically correct, but you can't just change it.

    Sorry, having just read through the thread, I've realised I'm not the only one who cringed at this!
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2007
  19. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Sep 25, 2007

    I am an atheist and hold a JD, and am pretty firm about the separation of church and state. The "Under God" in the pledge and references to God on currency irks me slightly.

    It would never occur to me to be sensitive about teaching kids that "B.C." means "Before Christ", because essentially that is what it means (though I think technically BC stands for some Latin phrase which translates directly). If a parent objects, they're being loony.

    A.D., on the other hand, does not mean "After Death" and it was quite confusing for me as a child to hear it that way, because it sets up some 30-odd unnamed years while Jesus is alive. I would have no problem with "Anno Domini", again, because it's history.

    I'm not really all that fond of BCE/CE. First, it's set up to solve a quite artificial "problem". Second, it's still basing it off the arbitrary year of Christ's supposed birth, so it's a change in nothing but terminology anyway. Third, I suspect using very similar letters makes it harder to remember. It would be like changing the word for "Saturday" to remove references to the ancient religious feast of Saternalia. Silly and purposeless.
     
  20. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Sep 25, 2007

    In all of my college textbooks, it's BCE and CE, but I am not afraid to discuss what BC and AD meant and how much of what makes our society 'cool' is being changed into meaningless stats.

    But "After Death?" I am torn between laughing and being appalled! heh. Laughing won.
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 25, 2007

    I disagree with using BCE and CE. There were civilizations around 4000 years before Christ came. I remember being taught AD and BC and not one person having a problem with BC meaning Before Christ because even if you don't believe in him, that's how time was separated.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 25, 2007

    It's a little bit like geometry, actually: to measure, you have to have units, but you also have to have a zero point to measure from - and the location of the zero point is really rather arbitrary, as is made clear by the multiplicity of calendars in the Answers.com/Wikipedia page I posted.
     
  23. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I am not sure what you mean - BCE means Before Common Era which does not imply in any way that civilizations did not exsist.
     

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