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Inquiry Question






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About This Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file "Washington Monument" (with photographs), and the visitor's guide to the Monument, and other source material about George Washington and the structure built to honor him. It was written by Stephanie A. Kopin, park ranger at the National Mall. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in teaching units on the American Revolution and the early Federal period as the focus for a discussion of whether Washington deserved the reverence he inspired. It could be part of units on the formation of national identity, collective memory, and interpretations of the past. It could also be used in units on art history, architecture, or urban planning.
Time period: 1760s-1880s
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
To understand some of the reasons Washington was so revered during the early 19th century.
2) To describe the intentions behind the memorial to George Washington.
3) To analyze how ideas about the best designs for a monument change over time.
4) To investigate memorials found in their community.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-resolution version.
1) a map showing L'Enfant's original plan for Washington, D.C.
2) three readings about the attempts to build the monument;
3) a broadside encouraging Americans to contribute to the building of the monument;
4) six drawings of potential designs for the monument
5) one cartoon about the monument;
6) one photograph of the Washington Monument today.

Visiting the Site
The Washington Monument, administered by the National Park Service, is located in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall between 15th and 17th Streets and between Constitution and Independence Avenues. It is open to the public every day except December 25. For more information, visit the park web pages.







Comments or Questions

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.