Sunday, June 11, 2006

Errors in History

While I was driving to and from Baltimore to see a few family members, I spent the time in the passenger seat grading my history students’ final exam. As is often the case, history teachers discover new ways in which their students will rewrite history and make up new timelines. After reading the exams, I couldn’t help but feel perhaps I need to share some of these errors.

1. Adolf Hitler was born a Russian.
2. In 1942 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
3. In 1991 the Civil Rights bill is ratified.
4. In 1867, President Lincoln was assassinated.
5. In 1949 the rush for gold occurred.
6. (When talking about Mein Kempf) When it was first published in 1959 I think it was not
7. In 1642 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
8. There was also the settlement of Jamestown in 1507.
9. A major downfall during this time was the stock market crash. Another was the Great
Depression during the 1950s.
10. Neil Armstrong was the 1st man on the moon in 1957.
11. (On Andrew Johnson’s impeachment) It was because he wanted to go against the 10 year of
office act. He caused a huge uproar when he fired his secretary of state.
12. In 1859-1861, the Civil War had erupted.

Now the corrections for some are obvious. First, Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. The Civil Rights Act was ratified in 1964. The God Rush was in 1849. Mein Kempf was published in 1929. Jamestown was founded in 1607. The Great Depression was in the 1930s. Neil Armstrong got to the moon in 1969, but Sputnik got into space in 1957. Johnson opposed the Tenure of Office Act. Finally, the Civil War occurred between 1861-1865.


Kevin said...

Was this multiple choice or was it short answer? Your example of "1942" could have been a slip up. I can understand your disapproval of most of the other answers...just another perspective.

BDM said...

All essay

BDM said...

And yeah, the 1942 one could have been a mix up, but still, if you say the 1492 rhyme enough times, it should stick.

Kevin said...

"And yeah, the 1942 one could have been a mix up, but still, if you say the 1492 rhyme enough times, it should stick. "

I agree with you that it should stick but as a teacher of students with learning disabilities, I know that students just get mixed up sometimes in the heat of the moment. You could ask that student later what year Columbus sailed and if they still say 1942, then there's a problem.

Again, your a professional and I respect your opinion. Have fun shutting down this last week.

Sam said...

The "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue" mnemonic is essentially the same rhyme as "In 1942, Columbus sailed the ocean blue", only the 2 is really indicated by the mnemonic.

Of course, I present my own, "In 1506, Columbus sailed the river Styx".

("your" is possessive, "you're" is "you're")

onesofty said...

Even teachers can make mistakes. You wrote God rush but ment gold rush. It happens;)