Set-Up: There is an expression — “6 degrees of separation” — that suggests how connected we individuals are as collective humanity, no matter how big a world it may be. In short, it means that:

if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is an average of six “steps” away from each person on Earth.

Playing off of this concept, we’re going to play a weekly game called “6 Degrees of Separation” where we are given 2 topics (that seem to have nothing in common) which we must figure out a creative way to connect. The trick is that we have to use a logical set of connections to show how the 2 items are related in “6 steps”. Additionally, we will also offer a bit of trivia about each new step to showcase our knowledge and imagination.

Example: Let’s take 2 random topics — Ancient Egypt and “Lord of the Flies” — and figure out how to connect them in “6 steps” with some added trivia to show our knowledge:

Step 1: When someone in America thinks of ancient Egypt (1), he/she can’t help but think of legendary pharaohs given that everything one can easily think of from that period of Egypt’s history — from golden statues to the Great Pyramids — are remnants of these god-like leaders. It’s particularly interesting that pharaohs were often buried with everything they owned, gifts for them for the afterlife, and even their living servants.

Step 2: The most famous pharaoh (2) that I can think of is King Tut (1) which was one of my favorite stories growing up. Even though the amazing amount of gold discovered and the identity of the “boy king” were supposed to be the important parts of the story, this wasn’t what captured my attention at first. As a young kid, I actually daydreamed a lot about the idea of a curse placed on all of the people involved in finding the original tomb, especially given that the spirit of the pharaoh may have been angry that they disturbed his eternal slumber. This led me to study a range of curses and superstitions when I was in elementary school.

Step 3: King Tut’s (2) exhibit just arrived in Dallas (3) — as a major art exhibit called “King Tut and the Golden Age of Pharoahs” being held at the Dallas Museum of Art — for several months. Hundreds of thousands of people (paying up to $32/ticket) are expected to attend the show, including some of our own art and archeology students who will go there on an upcoming fieldtrip.

Step 4: On Elm Street in Dallas (3), specifically near the Texas School Book Depository (4), was the location of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

Step 5: The Texas School Book Depository (4) was “a multi-floor warehouse for the storage of school textbooks and related materials” (according to Wikipedia) that shut down in 1970 when the business moved out. It was also in the year 1970 that the American Library Association awarded the first Coretta Scott King Award was given to African-American writers/illustrators who focused on the creation of books specifically for children and young people (5).

Step 6: One of the most famous school books ever taught in the United States, Lord of the Flies (6), appears to be about children and young people (5). Clearly, however, it is not “just a book about kids on an island”. Golding’s book was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best English language books published since 1923 (and was also ranked by the American Library Association as one of the most “challenged” books between 1990-2000.)

Challenge: Using these 2 random items, connect them in “6 steps”:

  • the epic poem, Beowulf
  • the star, Hannah Montana

Length: Varies


3 responses to “W8, #2: 6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION

  1. Beowulf (1) was a poem, which tells the story about the brave warrior who kills a lot of monsters. Beowulf was the king of Geats, he fight for people and his country. He travels long way to beat the monster Grandal and its mother. On his last victory he defeats the great Dragon (2) and earns a lot of treasure for his people.

    My favorite creature was the dragon (2). It is very cool and awesome, it can fly and catch people, and some of them also can fire. A lot of movie has a lot of cooled dragons, like in the Lord of the Rings, the dark knight’s dragon are very cool. Also on another cartoon The American Dragon Jack Long (3) was very awesome too. (Actually I don’t really like Jack Long.)

    Every times I saw American dragon on the Disney (4) always let me remember my English teacher Mr. Long. Every times when I imaged him in my brain, just telling me to go read Lord of the Flies, or telling me to shut down the TV and go do the homework.

    On the Disney there are a lot of shows are very cooled like Power Rangers and some Disney movies. But the most popular one was the Hannah Montana. And the actor was the richest teen Miley Cyrus. I don’t get the point why she is so popular, why a lot of people like her. Actually I like Nemo better than her.

    Just tell me if this is too short, i will find the time to fix it.


    Mr. Long: Great response over all; no need to fix it at all.

    Liked this part of your response: “Every times when I imaged him in my brain, just telling me to go read Lord of the Flies, or telling me to shut down the TV and go do the homework.” Funny and creative.

  2. Step 1: Beowulf is an epic poem(1) with an epic story of an epic hero. The story is so great and cool that many have tried to make a movie(2) out of it.

    Step 2: The 2007 Beowulf(1) movie(2) was released, but it was nothing like the book. To many it was a disappointment, and it didn’t really make a lot of money like “The Dark knight” or “I am Legend.” And definetly not more than Titanic who has made more money(3) than any of them.

    Step 3: Money(3) is a big deal these days. I mean the economy is bad, and many people are trying to find a way to make a lot of money including buisnesses and industries. The videogame industry(4) for one has made a lot of money, and it still does today. Its income matches what the movie industry makes. Hopefully people will not be nasty to gamers, saying they have no lives. There are people who actually pick on them, and actually make fun of them.

    Step 4: The videogame industry(4) has made many videogames, and many companies have developed all around the world. From the Gearbox in Dallas to Konami in Japan. There have been many videogames developed, but a fun game to play with your friends is Rock Band 2 (5) developed by Harmonix in the USA(not Japan). It is played by many people around the world.

    Step 6: You know whats interesting is Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montanna(6), the star, likes Rock Band 2. I mean this video says it all: http://www.gametrailers.com/player/usermovies/262991.html.

    Note: I didn’t know how to insert numbers and I hope this is how you do it. If you don’t know the string its: Beowulf, movie, money, videogame industry, Rock Band 2, and ends with Hannah Montanna.


    Mr. Long: Cool connection with H.M. liking Rock Band 2, BTW. Also thought it was very clever how you wove in and out of ‘facts’ and ‘ideas’. Nice job!

  3. (1) Beowulf was the entertainment of the Norse people in the earlier areas.

    (2) As entertainment progressed they changed novels into radio shows.

    (3) The radio shows soon became television shows.

    (4) Television developed in to the corporate world and the Disney corporation was born.

    (5) Hanna Montana becomes the most popular show on the Disney channel.

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