In this challenge, students investigate the worldview of either the Edo period or the Meiji period by analyzing artifacts, e.g., images, maps, documents, quotations, poems or other art forms, and selecting the five artifacts that best reflect the assigned worldview.
A. Decipher the implied worldview represented in the artifacts from the assigned period.
Review elements of worldview
This challenge presupposes that students were introduced previously to the concept of worldview.
Key elements of a worldview are summarized in Concept of Worldview (Background Information).
To help students recognize their personal worldview and worldviews of other individuals and societies, you may wish to refer to The Foundations of Worldview (Overarching Critical Inquiry).
Suggest that artifacts can reveal much about a society’s worldview. If students have not yet had experiences in identifying the implied worldview represented in a document, you may want to refer to the activities in Worldviews Expressed (Critical Challenge) and Folk Tales and Worldview (Critical Challenge).
Display a collection of artifacts from either the Edo period or the Meiji period; e.g., documents, paintings, maps, poems. See Sample Artifacts (Background Information) for seven suitable historical artifacts, including a painting, legal documents, quotations and historical accounts.
Model content analysis of an artifact
Select one artifact to analyze as a class. Begin by asking students to identify the explicit contents of the artifact by considering the 5Ws—Who, What, Where, When and Why. If necessary, provide additional background to help students understand the worldview elements represented in the artifact.
For a suggested analysis of a Meiji painting, see Saigo Takamori and the Meiji Restoration (Background Information).
You may want to use the chart in Reporter’s Log (Support Material) to help structure your examination of the artifact.
See Interpreting and Reinterpreting Images (Modelling the Tools) for detailed instructions on teaching and assessing the tools for analyzing the explicit and implicit messages in images. Modelling the Tools can be adapted for examination and analysis of artifacts.
Look for the implied worldview
To model how to draw inferences about the explicit contents of the sample artifact, ask students to look for clues about the author’s or artist’s implied worldview. Draw students’ attention to each element of a worldview:
- view of human nature
- view of the good life
- equality with others
- responsibilities to others
- relationship between the individual and the state
- relationship of humans with nature
- sources of ethical wisdom.
To guide this analysis, you may wish to refer to Clues for Identifying Worldviews (Background Information) in Exploring Worldview (Support Material).
You could provide students with the chart Analyzing Worldview in Exploring Worldview (Support Material) to use to record their conclusions about the implied worldview and supporting evidence.
Analyze additional artifacts
When students are ready to conduct independent analysis, divide the class into small groups. Provide approximately 10 artifacts from either the Meiji period or the Edo period for each group. Alternatively, invite groups to conduct an online search for relevant artifacts.
For each artifact, ask groups to consider the 5Ws—Who, What, When, Where and Why. Students will not necessarily be able to answer all of the 5W questions for each artifact. Direct students to look for clues about the author’s or artist’s worldview. They may not necessarily be able to identify evidence of more than a few worldview elements in any given artifact.
To record their reflections using the 5Ws, you may wish to provide students with the chart What I See and Think in Reporter’s Log (Support Material).
To record conclusions about the implied worldview and supporting evidence, you may wish to provide students with the chart Analyzing Worldview in Exploring Worldview (Support Material).
B. Select five artifacts with identifiable worldview elements
After students have examined their selection of artifacts, direct them to pick five artifacts that clearly reflect various elements of the worldview of their assigned period. Direct students to provide evidence to support statements on how each artifact reveals worldview elements.
You may want to adapt one of the charts and strategies in Justifying My Choice (Support Material) to assist students in justifying their selection of artifacts.
Invite students to display their artifacts and supporting analysis on the classroom walls. Invite other students to examine the exhibits and identify the elements of worldview depicted in each artifact.
Alternatively, students might create a virtual museum display using a multimedia program.