National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

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Teaching with Historic Places

Heritage Education Services

Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) uses properties listed in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of products and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.

Learning From a Historic Place

1. OVERVIEW: What do you see? What is your general description of the place and its setting?

2. DETAILS: Look closely and identify specific details about location, size, shape, design, arrangement, setting, and other characteristics.

3. IMPRESSIONS: What do your observations suggest about the place's age, purpose, function, and evolution?

4. BIG PICTURE: What do you think the place suggests about people, events, or ways of life from the past?

5. EVIDENCE: Look at your conclusions for Questions 3 and 4. How do you know? What specific clues did the place itself contribute? How influential were previous knowledge or assumptions?

6. QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: What questions did the physical evidence raise for you? What information is missing? What else would you like to know? What types of evidence might answer those questions and test your hypotheses? Where would you find that information?