BRVGS World History Summer Work

Dear Parents and Students:  Welcome to the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School!  We hope you will find BRVGS to be challenging, stimulating and enjoyable.  

Because we have a great deal of information to go through in your first year of BRVGS, we require that students do some summer work before the start of the school year.  This work involves some reading, answer some study guide questions to those readings, and some definitions of important terms that we will use through the year.

Please do not put this off until the last minute.  You will find it important in BRVGS to budget time wisely, and to get work done well ahead of deadlines.  Instructions for accessing the work are below on this page.

This work should be turned in to your class teacher on the first day of school.

If you have received this work by mail, all linked materials will be included in your packet.

If you have questions about this work, or if you do not have computer or internet access, please contact BRVGS Director Marc Carraway at mcarr1@brvgs.k12.va.us, or by cell phone at 434-989-3972.  


Summer work instructions

1. Your first summer reading assignment is an article by Sam Wineburg, called “Thinking Like a Historian” - click on the title to see the article online.  The article was written for teachers, but it can also tell students a lot about the importance and strategies of historical thinking.

2. Once you have read the article, click on “What is Historical Thinking” to answer questions about the article.  Use one of the three options below for answering the questions:

3. After reading the article and answering questions, you will need to define some important terms for history.  You can access those terms by clicking on “Tools of the Historian”.  

You can use online resources or a dictionary - but do not copy and paste from the web! These definitions should be written in your own words, as much as possible.  

4. Your main reading for the summer is from a book called Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond.  This book tells the story of why civilizations and cultures developed differently in different places.  While it is not an easy book, it is a very good start to understand how history is studied.  You will find links to the Introduction and first two chapters, as well as to your study guide, below.  Please answer all of the questions from your study guide.  These must be done before the first day of the school year, and will be graded for completion.

Click on each link to read a section of Guns, Germs and Steel.  There are four sections in all. Your study guide questions are also linked below the reading sections.  

You can print any of these documents by going to the print icon at upper left (just under “File”).

Guns, Germs and Steel, Pages 13 - 23

Guns, Germs and Steel, Pages 22 - 32

Guns, Germs and Steel, Pages 35 - 52

Guns, Germs and Steel, Pages 53 - 66

Guns, Germs and Steel Study Guide Reading Questions 

You can write the answers to these questions in a document to print later or by hand.  

Note - Question # 4 for Chapter 1 refers to a National Geographic article that is not in your packet.  You may skip this question.

Again, if you have questions about this work, or if you do not have computer or internet access, please contact BRVGS Director Marc Carraway at mcarr1@brvgs.k12.va.us, or by cell phone at 434-989-3972.  Good luck with this, and have a great summer!