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Putting It All Together

The following activities will help students better understand continuity and change in Waterford as well as their own community.

Activity 1: A Step Back in Time
Remind students that Waterford today is little changed from the 19th or even the late 18th centuries, so even modern photographs can provide an idea of how Waterford used to be. Ask students to imagine that they lived in Waterford in the 19th century, and have them select one of the following activities:
a. Write a story about your experiences either helping with the wheat harvest or at the mill.
b. Draw three pictures of yourself while helping with the harvest or at the mill.
c. Make a model of the mill.

Activity 2: Waterford, Then and Now
Begin the activity by drawing two large overlapping circles on the blackboard. Label the overlapping area "C," and the two circles "A" and "B." Then ask the class to name some of the things they would find in Waterford if they visited about 1850. List these in Circle A.
Next, ask students to name things they would find in Waterford if they visited today. List these in Circle B.

Section C represents elements of the village common to A and B. With the students' help, draw an arrow to C from any element that appears in both Circle A and Circle B. For example, the mill was in Waterford in 1850, is still in Waterford today, and so should be included in section C.

To complete the activity, hold a classroom discussion about what the number of arrows indicates about how much or how little Waterford has changed over time.

Activity 3: Change over Time in Your Town
Remind students that just as Waterford began with settlers looking for new land who became such successful farmers they produced a local mill economy, their own town or neighborhood had a reason to begin.

1. Have students divide up into small groups and work with the library's local history materials or visit the local historical society to find out the following information, and then share it with the class.
a. When was your town founded?
b. Why was it founded?
c. What is the date of the oldest building that is still standing?
d. Is the building being used for the same purpose it had originally, or not? If applicable, does the building have its original name, or not?
e. What other institutions or resources, besides the library and a historical society, might have information on your community?

2. Divide students into teams to research the occupational history of your town or neighborhood. Either obtain for your students or coordinate with the local library or county historical society so students can look at several transcribed or microfilmed pages of the 1850, 1880, and 1930 censuses for your town or community. The 1930 census is the latest one available with names listed; if your neighborhood was founded after 1930, your county offices should have occupation data from more recent census on the residents that it can give you. Ask each team to:
a. Compile a list of all the occupations of their parents, guardians, or local relatives.
b. Write down the names of the historic occupations for the census date or dates assigned to you for your area.
c. Compare the historic occupations with the current occupations listed by the class. What differences do you see? What similarities do you see?
d. Analyze the reasons why occupational change has taken place in the community or why change has not occurred.

Ask each team to share the information it has found in a class presentation that may include graphs and charts. Discuss as a class the changes from 1850 to 1880, and then to 1930, and finally to the present.

 

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