Social Studies Blog Post #6: Hamilton, Big Ideas

Big Ideas:

  • Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events.

Passage: “Got a lot farther by working a lot harder By being a lot smarter By being a self-starter”

The idea that anyone with skill could climb up the social ladder and become someone significant through hard work and being smarter, influenced Hamilton’s life and the thirteen colonies. Despite Hamilton’s background and birth status as an illegitimate child, Hamilton was able to become a founding father through reading lots of books and diligently working towards his goals.

  • Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies.

Passage: “Started workin’, clerkin’ for his late mother’s landlord”

Hamilton had to work for his late mother’s landlord due to the disparities in power between him and the landlord. If he has the money to be self-sufficient, he wouldn’t have had to work for his late mother’s landlord, but because the landlord held way more power, he had to work for him. If the disparities between them hadn’t been so great, Hamilton’s relationship with the landlord wouldn’t have been the same.

  • Collective identity is constructed and can change over time.

Passage: “How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”

Alexander Hamilton started out as a poor, illegitimate child that no one cared about. Over time, however, his collective identity as an excellent writer was constructed, and he was able to go to New York and become an influential figure.

  • The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change.

Passage: “In New York, you can be a new man”

In the Caribbean, Hamilton realized that he couldn’t achieve his goals, so he moved to a different physical environment, New York. New York, like the other colonies, had a different political, social, and economic structure from Britain, as success was also determined by merit, so even an illegitimate child like Hamilton could change his social and political standing. Someone with Hamilton’s background wouldn’t have had a chance at decent education in Britain.


Social Studies Blog Post #5: Independent Inquiry

Inquiry Question: What impact did the Hudson Bay Company have on the First Nations?

For my independent inquiry, I decided to create a video to demonstrate my learning. Click the link below to access the video.


  4. Crossroads: A Meeting of Nations (2nd Edition)
  5. Empire of the Bay 





In-Depth Blog Post #5: Week 11

Since my last blog post four weeks ago, I have had two sessions with my mentor. My progress has been coming along nicely, and at this stage, I am equipped with the skills needed to create basic scripts and create my map. Rather than my mentor starting the session by showing me a new skill, we discuss my progress from the last session and any difficulties I had. From there, my mentor shows me different ways to solve any technical issues and gives me suggestions on what I could add to my game.

During our sessions, we went more in-depth with the enemy scripts. My mentor showed me some examples online that I could use for inspiration. He explained how I could use the C# scripts to add all sorts of different actions at different times on my enemies by using colliders. My mentor also showed me some tools on the engine that I could use while I was creating my map. Before, I would have to drag tree by tree to create a “cartoonish-looking” forest, but Rafael showed me how I could experiment with opacity, density, and the brush tool to paint realistic forests and grass fields on my map.

Progress wise, I would say I am on track. I know all the C# scripts I need as of now, but that will change as new ideas pop up. I am also starting to create the map for the game, adding trees, sound effects, and all kinds of assets from the asset store. Getting the right texture and getting the aesthetics nailed down will be challenging with only free assets, as they are very limited in selection and quality, but by experimenting with different brush sizes, opacity, and assets, I can find different ways to create my map.

1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

During our last meeting, my mentor showed me various websites where I could download sound effects for my game, such as Sound cloud. He showed me how I could listen to the sounds that I might want for my game and download them. From there, it is just a matter of picking the ones that work best and pressing the import button on the Unity engine. My mentor encouraged me to find new sound effects, such as a forest sound effect for the forest.

2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

Since Unity is an IT skill, it has the support of the World Wide Web, allowing millions of other game design enthusiasts to help me out on the internet. If I have a question or want to learn more about what a special function does, I can usually find it on a search engine in a few seconds. By using the learning opportunities available on the internet, I can reinforce the concepts my mentor discusses in our sessions.

3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

Having my mentor guide me and helping me out when the internet fails, might accelerate my learning. The internet is a great resource, but since there isn’t always just one answer to solving a problem in Unity, answers from 2006 and 2011 may not help me with working with the current version of Unity. Searching for answers on the internet can be time-consuming sometimes, and by having my mentor to answer any questions I have, I can move on to other concepts instead of spending hours on single concepts.

4. When you get together what do you talk about?

My mentor and I talked about his career and his game. I learned more about what type of game he was creating and his experience with game design. I was surprised to learn that it was his first game, but considering how much time it took an indie game developer to create a game, it was understandable. By the end of the conversation, I felt I had a better idea of who my mentor was and what kind of games he was interested in.

5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

Our communication is working well. We listen to each other’s thoughts and ideas, and Rafael is always willing to answer my questions. I am open to Rafael’s constructive criticism, not taking a defensive stance when he critiques my work, but instead trying to find out why and improve from there. Additionally, I find our conversations to be more fluid and natural as we get to know more about each other through the weeks.

6. What are you learning about one another?

We have learned each other’s interests, such as our preferences in video games and what genres we prefer. Rafael has learned what games I prefer and why, while learned that my mentor enjoyed survival and strategy games, but didn’t have too much of a taste for FPS shooters. He has also shared with me some details of his game that he plans to release soon, but only small details, as he plans to keep most of the game a secret until the release.




Social Studies Blog Post #4: 17th Century Letter

January 12, 1679 

Dear Mother, 

I do apologize for not writing to you for a while, finding time and scraping up a penny to

send you this letter has been very difficult. After losing my job at the plantation, I have

been wandering the streets of London, searching for any job. Competition is high, and

jobs are scarce. For a common laborer like me, finding a job in the city is a

barely attainable feat, if not impossible. Alas, it appears that I have resorted to a life of

crime, stealing bread and beer from the local market stalls. Oh, how I would love to sink

my teeth into a juicy piece of meat; the stale bread and bitter beer is not up to my

palate. So far, my punishments have not been so severe. While I do not get caught very

often, I still get the odd whipping here and there. The whippings leave bruises and

gashes on my back, making my back very sore, but compared to the broken bones of

poor Henry down the corner, I would say that I was let off easy. It’s astonishing to think

that the middle and upper class think that we are being lazy. Do they think that we

chose this lifestyle? Seriously, mother, do these people not have even the slightest bit of

pity on us? It’s not our fault that we are condemned to a life of poverty and have to

resort to crime just to live by. Witch hunts are becoming more and more common, and a

man by the name Hopkins has been trialing witches everyday. Apparently, they were the

ones responsible for us losing the war and the plague breaking out. I do feel pity for

these women, but only heaven knows if they are truly witches or scapegoats for

the upper class. I fear that staying here in London might endanger my life. Who knows

who they’ll blame next? I have decided to travel north to a plantation nine miles yonder.

Hopefully there will be work there. I would love to write more, but the cost of mailing

more than one page is a luxury I cannot afford, so I shall have to conclude abruptly.


Social Studies Blog Post #3: The Wheels of Revolution


While the English Civil War is a completely different event from other revolutions and conflicts, it follows the same trajectory as them. Both the English Civil War and the American Revolutionary War were sparked by unfair taxes imposed upon the people by their rulers. In the English Civil War, Charles I imposed unfair taxes on coastal towns in order to fund his lavish desires and show off his opulence, while the British also imposed unfair taxes on their colonies to pay off their war debts. This angered the people, who felt they were not entitled to pay these taxes, and moved them to rise up against their rulers. Additionally, in the American Revolutionary War, the English Civil War, the French Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution, the revolutions all resulted in the lower classes gaining more power. All these revolutions resulted in the high class or aristocracy losing power, which further led to the power being passed down the hierarchy. Sometimes this resulted in the creation of the wealthy middle class, such as in the French and Industrial Revolution, while other times, it just meant the lower class gained more civil rights.

The wheel of revolution in the English Civil War doesn’t necessarily end in justice. While the monarch was punished accordingly for his wrongdoings, the government structure of England didn’t really turn democratic; the short-lived Commonwealth of England was basically a military dictatorship, as Cromwell held absolute power and controlled England to his liking. The war initially had negative consequences, as large numbers of people died and the farmers’ lands were burned. Later, however, the effects would prove to be positive. The lower class got more power, the economic system of England changed from feudalism to capitalism, and the gap between the aristocracy and the common folk narrowed. Although initial consequences were negative, the English Civil War would later be resolved and have positive effects for England.

In Depth Blog Post #4: Week 7

It’s been two weeks since my last blog post, and the amount of progress I have made since then is really astonishing. As I start to understand more and more of the C# scripts and the fruits of my labor start coming together, Unity is getting more and more fascinating. I initially knew that Unity had been a powerful game engine, but the amount of things it automates blows my expectations, and learning a new programming language is also very interesting.

We had originally planned to have the session on February 23rd, but we had to reschedule to February 24th after the inclement weather. This didn’t affect the length or quality of our session, however, as we still managed to cover assets, and how to create a basic script for an asset downloaded from the asset store. These assets make interesting game objects, and I found just experimenting with different assets amusing, as I could quite literally make anything in my game into anything I could find in the asset store, whether it be a goat or an iguana.

Alright Jerome, answer the questions now.

What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

My most difficult mentoring challenge so far is remembering and incorporating all the C# scripts Rafael teaches me. There are tons of different C# functions and codes, and I find that just trying to remember which ones are a class, a function, or a variable is really proving to be a challenge for me. I can usually find the right code when I need to perform a certain task in Unity, but occasionally, I don’t know the format or which code I need to use. Rafael is great at teaching the material, but he goes over the C# scripts really quickly, as we simply don’t have the time to explain every single code that we type. Weeks of classes are being crammed into a single session due to the accelerated nature of our sessions, so writing down the material I learned and going over it over the two weeks I have between our sessions should prove to be effective.

  1. What is working well? Why?

Our progress is going really well. We are covering weeks of material in single classes. Rafael said that we are currently covering materials that he learned when he took weeks of Unity classes. It’s astonishing to think that just a few months back, I had no idea how Unity even worked, and now I’m already creating scripts and creating the rudimentary foundations of my game. Additionally, our communication is excellent. We communicate effectively during mentoring sessions, and when I need Rafael’s assistance when we are not having a session, I can always reach him through phone or e-mail.

  1. What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

Now that I have a grasp of how Unity works and how much time is needed to learn the material, I can update my schedule and start setting goals between each of our sessions. My schedule, which I created before I had even touched Unity, doesn’t really make much sense now, and by setting goals between each session, I will be able to process and comprehend everything Rafael is teaching me.

With every week bringing new challenges, In-Depth has had its share of ups and downs, but the excitement of seeing the different pieces coming together and creating my goal of an original game is making it a thrilling experience!


Social Studies Blog Post #2: Sourcing a Significant Object

Inquiry Question: What is the story of my family’s stamp book?

My significant object is a stamp book that has been passed down for three generations, starting from my grandfather. After the Korean war, my grandfather caught on to the stamp collecting craze and became an avid hobbyist himself, buying a stamp book and collecting the various stamps that were available to him in the newly formed South Korea. This stamp book is a primary source as the stamps were collected directly by my grandfather, and it was created when the stamps were being issued.

When my grandfather started collecting stamps, it was right after the Korean War, and the country was undergoing a lot of economic development. Poverty was widespread since the war had cost the country billions, and my grandfather was unable to afford stamps from overseas and was probably only able to afford local Korean stamps, as seen in the first few pages of the stamp book. A few pages later, I saw the first stamp about the inauguration of the 9th president of South Korea. Under the 9th president, Korea was able to grow economically, allowing a higher salary for everyone. This meant that my grandfather could start buying stamps from overseas, such as stamps from Hong Kong, the Philippines, or America. Later, when the stamp book was passed on to my father, the stamps started to change from mostly Korean stamps to newer Canadian stamps. After our immigration, Canadian stamps became more accessible to my father, so the number of Korean stamps decreased, and the number of Canadian stamps increased.

The stamp book is interesting because it quite literally tells a story of the lives of my grandfather and father in stamps. The choice of stamps, the specific events written on them, such as the inauguration of certain presidents, tell me what events my predecessors had to live through and shows how they went from being poverty stricken agrarian workers, to a middle-class family that could afford the luxury of stamps from overseas. I can’t explain how long it took to gather all the different stamps or why exactly my grandfather even created the stamp book to begin with. While I can make inferences, I will never know for sure.

Just from looking at the stamps, anyone can reason that whoever owned the stamp book was of Korean ethnicity, as hanja, Korean characters, are written on most of the stamps. I can also infer that my grandfather belonged to the middle class, as he was able to afford the luxury of collecting stamps and could even afford better stamps later. My grandfather probably created the stamp book so that he would be able to pass on the heritage and values of the family to future generations. Through collecting stamps that show snippets of the family’s home country and culture, he would be able to preserve the culture and history of his country in the minds of future generations. He valued his country’s culture and wanted to pass that on, so he picked stamps that showed the history of his nation, such as stamps with pictures of Korean traditional clothing and the inauguration of different presidents.

From examining this source, I learned the story of my predecessors and the events that went through to reach the place they are today. I now know the story of the stamp book and the significance of the stamps in the book, so I would say that I answered my inquiry question, but I am still unable to find the exact reason why my grandfather created the stamp book in the first place.

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Social Studies Blog Post #1: Historical Thinking

How do we decide what is important to learn about the past?

There is a plethora of events that happened in the past, but only a few are deemed significant enough to learn. One of the characteristics of a significant event is that the event results in change and causes consequences for masses of people for a long period of time. For example, there have been countless numbers of disease outbreaks in the world, but only a few have been significant enough to be discussed, such as the Black Death. The Black Death caused significant changes to over two hundred million people, half of the world’s population at that time, killing at least seventy million of them and starting the Renaissance in Europe. Since the Black Death had such drastic effects for many people for a long time, it is considered significant.

Additionally, events that reveal issues, such as racism, discrimination, or lack of proper safety, are significant as they shed light on undesirable events, so that we are not condemned to repeat them again, such as the lack of safety in the Triangle Fires, which resulted in the death of over one hundred workers.

Historical significance also depends on whether the event fits within the narrative of the past. As the name suggests, history is a “story” of the past, and for a story to make sense, the story has to be within some kind of constructive order. The transitions between one event to another have to make sense so that the reader can use past context to make sense of what is happening in the current event and make logical predictions of what might come next. Like the chapters in a book, the sequence of events has to build up to one another and help construct the never-ending story.

With all that said, however, historical significance really depends on the historian, or the one who is recording history. Many historians of the past were not impartial and usually had some bias towards events which interfered with their personal thoughts and beliefs. This is why many Ancient Greek accounts of the Battle of Thermopylae tend to be glorified, with Ancient Greek historians claiming that five thousand Greeks held off over two million Persians, while modern estimates predict that the number was significantly lower at about one hundred fifty thousand. The historian, or the people recording the event, might change certain details of the event to make it match their views, or just choose to not write about it at all if they believe that it wasn’t significant, as they wouldn’t want future generations to know anything that makes the historians’ beliefs look foolish. Mostly, the definition of a significant event depends on the historian’s thoughts and feelings towards that event.

In-Depth Blog Post #3: Week 5

It’s been five weeks into In-Depth, and so far, I have learned a lot. Rafael and I have moved on to new C# scripts, and he guided me through the various assets that were already pre-installed in Unity. This was awfully convenient for me, as this meant that I didn’t have to write all the assets from scratch but could simply attach the pre-written assets right to my game objects. I have also finally decided on what type of game I will be focusing on, a first-person maze game. Anyway, here are some questions and answers on my progress so far.

  1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

One thing that went well during our mentoring session was the amount of progress we made. Like last time, Rafael and I had already planned what I was going to learn during the mentoring session, as we had a phone call a few days before the session to plan what materials each of us should bring and what he was going to mentor me. We got through most of the FPS scripts and we even got to discussing popular games and what components were in them. We also strengthened the fundamentals, as having a good base knowledge was important when I moved on to more complicated scripts and games. Despite the meeting only being our second session, we made a lot of progress.

  1. What relationship challenges did you face?

There weren’t really any relationship challenges that my mentor and I faced. We were communicating with each other very well, Rafael made sure that I was getting the concepts and not just nodding my head, and I made sure to ask plenty of questions and paraphrase what Rafael said in case I missed a point. We were also very open and thorough. We answered each others’ questions with depth; Rafael answered my questions about assets and game objects, explaining that everything in the game was a game object, and I answered my mentor’s questions about the type of game I wanted to create and what I had planned. Additionally, I had plenty of time to ask questions and catch up on the information that was being given, as a lot (capitalized) was being covered!

  1. What learning challenges emerged?

Although the Unity engine has been easy to use, learning the various C# scripts for my game objects has been proving to be quite difficult. Using the engine is easy, as I only need to know which functions do what, and it’s just a lot of just clicking around and experimenting. The scripts, on the other hand, have been really challenging. The difficulty of digesting all the different scripts needed to create just the most rudimentary of games has been challenging, as even with questions and paraphrases, I have difficulty knowing when to use specific codes, such as void, if(), or else().

  1. What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions?

First, I can increase the efficiency of the mentoring interaction by having everything we need for the meeting set up beforehand and making the best use of our time. Last time, I wasted a few minutes of precious time due to an unexpected accident, and considering how fast my mentoring is going, a lot could have been covered in those few minutes. Additionally, I can also ask more questions and focus on getting the fundamentals set in stone before moving on to more complicated scripts and games. Finally, I can spend more time outside of my mentoring interactions to study and comprehend the material Rafael is teaching me. My mentor has shown me an awesome Wiki where there is a list of all the different C# scripts and the functions of each one. He has also shown me different tutorials I could work on between our biweekly meetings. Doing a few more hours of studying and learning the material outside of our meetings will make sure I fully understand what my mentor taught me the previous meeting and will allow me to accelerate my learning.

Unfortunately, I was unable to add any pictures of my progress this time, as my laptop was unable to screenshot my progress for some reason, but I will add pictures the next time I post.

In Depth Blog Post #2: Week 3

Last Friday, I had the chance to meet with my mentor Rafael, a game developer currently in the midst of creating a strategy game using Unity. Since we had already discussed over e-mail how the meetings were going to be formatted, we could get right into the project. We started off by discussing the user interface and helping me locate where all the various functions were. While Unity is not as complicated as some software, it was still a bit intimidating for me to find where to start with all these fancy buttons and complicated words covering the entire screen. I also had no idea how the camera worked, frolicking with my mouse for half an hour before giving up. Rafael told me that since I was just starting out, I didn’t need to know everything in Unity, and that even he doesn’t use every single function. He answered my questions about how the camera worked and the various possible game designs I could do. I had initially expected to cover only a little bit of the software, but surprisingly, during our narrow time frame, we managed to even get into creating rigid bodies, game objects, and creating a game object that could even roll and jump! My mentor told me that rigid body was basically the physics of the object, such as gravity, speed, and mass. Later, we further discussed rigid body when the object we had created was able to infinitely jump. He explained how we had to define the number of times the object could jump in our script, as for all Unity knew, it was just jumping every time we hit the key associated with that command.

We also discussed about the various resources that I could work on between our bi-weekly meetings. He gave me some resources, such as the Unity website and various Unity tutorials on YouTube. Besides my mentor, the Internet is probably going to be a really good resource. There are hundreds of Unity tutorials and Wikis describing what all the C# scripts can do. I plan to use these resources to accelerate my learning while I’m not meeting my mentor.

The meetings are working out great so far. Since we already had a phone conversation over my background on C# and game design, Rafael already knew what level I was at. We were able to find the perfect media to start from and start almost immediately. I find the mentorship meeting to be a nice alternative from the regular school environment. Since Rafael is only mentoring me, I find that learning is much quicker than in the regular classroom, where one teacher has to tend to thirty different students with different needs.

Besides discussing about using the software, we have also talked a little about ourselves. I went to the meeting not even knowing what my mentor looked like, and I left knowing not only his appearance, but his current projects and opinions on Unity. I learnt that my mentor was currently creating his own game, a grand strategy game with a twist to it. Rafael has been working on the project for years and is planning on releasing sometime next year. He has been working on game design for a couple of years now, and he initially started because he was always interested in playing games and thought about creating his own. He started off by taking a weekly course, and then decided to take game design in university.

So far game design has been very interesting, and I am excited to see what I learn next week.

Here are some pictures of Unity and the scripts I wrote.

unity-progress-3 unity-progress-2 unity-progress-1