Lesson Plan

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Daguerreotype of Mexican War General and 12th President of the United States

Daguerreotype of Mexican War General and 12th President of the United States

Library of Congress (no known restrictions)

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
Subject:
Art, Education, History, Mexican War, Military and Wartime History, Social Studies
Duration:
This lesson will take 30-45 minutes to complete.
Group Size:
Up to 36
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
National Standards:
Gr K-4 Social Studies: U.S. History 2, 3
Gr 5-12 Social Studies: World History Eras 4 & 7
Gr K-4 Fine Arts: Visual Arts 4
Gr 5-8 Fine Arts: Visual Arts 4
Keywords:
Photography, Daguerreotype, visual arts

Overview

Modern photography did not exist during the U.S.-Mexican War. Instead, soldier’s kept photos of loved ones on daguerreotypes (də-ˈge-rē-ō-ˌtīp), an early form of photography made on a silver-coated plate. Daguerreotypes were often kept in highly decorated cases. In this lesson, students engage in an interactive activity about daguerreotypes. First, they discuss the difference between modern photography and daguerreotypes. Then, they create their own daguerreotype case.

Objective(s)

In this lesson, students engage in an interactive activity about daguerreotypes. First, they discuss the difference between modern photography and daguerreotypes. Then, they create their own daguerreotype case.

Background

You will need the following materials to make the daguerreotype cases: Ruler, Scissors, Construction paper, Glue or tape, Crayons, markers, or colored pencils.
The 1-minute, 30 second video segment "Daguerreotypes" can be used to accompany this lesson plan. The video clip can be downloaded from our For Kids page.
"Daguerreotypes" can be modified for Elementary and Middle School students. Before starting, review and print out the PDFs in the Materials section. 

Materials

Materials for this lesson plan include the PDF Make Your Own Daguerreotype Case. (PDF 157 KB)

Procedure

Assessment

Assess student performance in two key areas:
  • Participation in group discussion
  • Daguerreotype cases
Above Proficient
Group discussion:  Offers information which directly relates and builds on the topic.
Daguerreotype Case:  Case complete with decorations. Obvious effort to create a good case.

Proficient
Group discussion:  Offers information which directly relates to the topic.
Daguerreotype Case:  Case complete with some decorations. Effort to create a good case.

Below Proficient
Group discussion:  Offers very little information of which some relates to the topic.
Daguerreotype Case:  Case not complete. No decorations. No effort to create a good case.

Extensions

  1. Write a paragraph that compares/contrasts the differences between daguerreotypes and modern photography.
  2. Create an ad for a daguerreotype saloon.
  3. Create a bulletin board display of the daguerreotype cases.

Additional Resources

The accompanying video clip to this lesson plan can be downloaded from our For Kids page. Click on "Daguerreotypes."
Information on the history of daguerreotypes is available from The Daguerreian Society.
Digital images of U.S.-Mexican War daguerreotypes can be found on the PBS-KERA "The Mexican War" website.

Vocabulary

daguerreotype:  early photography method using a metal plate; named for the French inventor L. J. M. Daguerre