Today I would upgrade that activity in a number of ways and will share a few here. What I remember about the activity was being responsible for my event. I don't remember any discussion about the idea of the Fire. I think the real power of the song is the idea of fire- we didn't really analyze what Billy Joel meant by fire, nor what started the fire. The other aspect about the original that could be adapted was the focus on cause and effect. I think looking at the song from the lens of cause and effect changes the way the I understand the context of the song.
If you look at the events as being connected like a giant web of cause and effect it changes the learning experience from individual reports of isolated events to a network of interconnected events that changed the path of history.
With that in mind I would update the activity by having students examine modern events. There are a couple of ways that I think this could be done.
- What events since the song was written should be added to the song?
- Current Events- what events of the last month should be added to the song?
2 What event in the original song was most important to history? why?
3 What does Billy Joel mean by we didn't start the fire-- what does the fire refer to?
4 Which events should be added to the song- write new verses with events that have occurred after the song was written. Alternative- Events added prior to the song -
5 Take a look at the current events each month- which should make the cut for the song-- which events of the current time are most important?
6 How would other countires look at the events of the song?
7 How would other countries look at the events students might add like 9/11?
8 The song is about cause and effect-- the events of the cold war sparked other events-- What other events in history could students write a similar song about? What events would be connected with that event?