One of the easiest and most versatile ways to add value to the FACS curriculum is by inserting tidbits of history into your lessons. The benefits of making history a part of the FACS curriculum are the same as the those derived from teaching history in the social studies curriculum. When students learn history they:
• Gain identity and insight into themselves and their culture.
• Improve their decision-making skills and judgment.
• Recognize models of good and responsible citizenship.
• Identify and learn from the mistakes of others.
• Understand change and societal development.
• Develop a context from which to understand themselves and others.
When history is brought down to a personal level, as it can be within the context of the FACS curriculum, students gain an even deeper connection to the individuals and events that have shaped our society.
Early in my teaching career, I discovered that opportunities often arose for me to share bits of history with my students. In a lesson on vitamins, for example, I shared the history of how some of the vitamins were discovered. The story of kids developing rickets in Great Britain due to the smog created by the Industrial Revolution helped the students to remember the connection between the sun and the vitamin D production in the body. When we prepared Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, my students didn’t just learn the kitchen skills and science applied in the baking process. They also learned about Ruth Wakefield, the Massachusetts innkeeper responsible for the development of this iconic American treat. History became a natural part of each class and the students never questioned its appropriateness.
Presenting history through the FACS curriculum allows students to see how historical events like wars and natural disasters impact the everyday life of real people. During World War II, for example, the rationing of food and other basic goods drastically changed every aspect of the way American families lived. Many of the “comfort foods” we enjoy today were introduced during this time of sacrifice. This was also the time when the US government began to promote a Guide to Good Eating, which would develop into the My Plate model we use today. The merging of FACS and history doesn’t end at the kitchen door. Every area of the FACS curriculum from clothing and textiles to housing, consumer economics and family dynamics can provide an ideal platform for highlighting historical events.
I have many resources to make it easier for you to add history to your FACS curriculum available on the Fresh FACS website, the Making History board of our Pinterest page and I share historical factoids that you can share with your students on our Facebook page and Twitter almost every day. Check them all out today!