A real life civics lesson at Boca Middle
Students in Ms. Oyer’s sixth and seventh grade social studies classes have had the opportunity to learn first hand about civics and economics concepts thanks to the television program Jericho. Jericho is a show about a small town in Kansas and what happens in the town following a nuclear bombing of the United States. The show chronicles how the residents survive and the choices they make in governing and allocation of resources.
Ms. Oyer, a teacher at Boca Raton Middle School, recommends that students watch the show as part of their homework assignment. She said the show helps make abstract concepts easier for the students to understand. The students get absorbed in the show’s characters and at the same time learn about societal, economic and governmental choices through concrete examples.
The only problem is that CBS has decided to cancel the show for the second time. The show was cancelled in 2007, but due to viewer response was reinstated. An on-line protest involving delivering 20 tons of peanuts to CBS Entertainment in New York and California succeeded in bringing back Jericho. Peanuts were used because in the very last show the main character’s battle cry was “nuts”.
Just as the students learned about civics from the show, its cancellation also presents an opportunity to become involved. Knowing that the fans are rising up in revolt again, the students want to do their part and have written letters to CBS asking for Jericho to be continued. When the on-line fans decided to raise money to buy huge ads in Variety and Hollywood Reporter, the students brought in spare change and raised $52.11. A note with the donation posted on the protest website by Ms. Oyer received great feedback and motivated others to donate. Once again peanuts are being sent, this time to entertainment writers at newspapers so that they can generate media coverage about the cancellation.
The loyal viewers are hopeful that CBS will sell the show to another station who will continue to produce it. As Ms. Oyer optimistically states, ” This show is not dead, just in transit.” Whatever happens, these social studies students have had a real life opportunity to learn about civic involvement.