Daily Life and Diversity in 18th Century Philadelphia, Lesson One: Investigating History
- Grade Level:
- Fifth Grade-Eighth Grade
- African American History and Culture, Community, History, Social Studies, Sociology, Women's History
- One to two class sessions
- Group Size:
- Up to 36
- National/State Standards:
- Reading History (6-8) .2, (6-8). 8, Speaking & Listening SL 5.1, SL 5.2
- community, 18th Century, Family, Daily life
OverviewStudents will develop an understanding of the daily lives of several citizens in 18th century Philadelphia through the study of four specific households that existed in the decade spanning the years 1790-1800.
Objective(s)Students will investigate the use of primary and secondary sources and will be able to discuss their importance to historians. Upon examining various biographies and primary sources through a web-based activity, students will develop a greater understanding of life in 18th century Philadelphia.
This information document and these teacher resources will provide the teacher with the necessary background for this lesson. The information document is designed with helpful information in an easy-to-read format. It includes descriptions that you can use as a guide and resource, and includes a detailed overview of the four households, their inhabitants and the information about each household covered in the website. The teacher resources sheet is a list of publications that provide details for the "Daily Life in 18th Century Philadelphia" lessons.
- One pocket folder for each student, assembled as detailed in the lesson
- All Investigation Sheets and the Project Rubric
- Index cards of four different colors, or copy paper of four different colors
- Chart paper and color markers
- List of Household Members - Teacher Resource Sheets A, B, C and D
This is a chart of the people living in the Todd House in 1793. Download
This chart details the people living in the Bishop White House in 1792. Download
A chart of the people living in the Forten House in 1798. Download
A chart of the people living in the President's House in 1790. Download
A worksheet defining who is who in our 18th century household. Download
A worksheet for the students to record questions, answers, and sources for their investigation of 18th century life. Download
Before the lesson:
1. Students will be working individually as well as in cooperative groups. Teachers should consider students' learning styles and behaviors when assigning roles, since members of each household will be working together for part of this lesson, and most of this unit.
NOTE: There are four households covered in this unit of study. The Bishop White House and the President's House present more information, therefore teachers may want to consider this before making group assignments.
2. Use the List of Household Members to create a set of identity cards for each of the citizens residing in the 4 households on index cards or color copy paper, using a different color for each household. Students will begin working as individuals and will eventually join others who have cards of matching color .(Students do not need to know this information in advance).
3. Provide a folder for each student. This is the "18th Century Philadelphia Research File." Make copies of all graphic organizers, data sheets and the project rubric and place them in the folders in student assessment that is embedded within this unit of study.
4. Create a wall chart entitled: Sources That Help Us Discover Information about People.
5. Make copies of the Student Pre-Test if you wish to use it for evaluation purposes.
1. Whole Class Discussion : On the board or a piece of chart paper, begin the unit by listing basic information about one of the students in your class: name, gender, address, birth date, and current year. Ask: What does this information really tell us about this member of our class? What can you figure out based on only this information? After that brief discussion, ask: Tell me some other things that you know about him/her. Teacher will list other facts such as: He is a good baseball player, He has 3 siblings, He has one dog and one cat, etc. Begin a discussion by soliciting answers to the following question: "What sources would help us to learn more about this person?" Create a list of responses on the wall chart you prepared earlier. Students may suggest resources such as: interview, examination of personal items, diaries, or records, such as report cards, etc. This chart will be a living poster within the classroom. The students should be encouraged to add to it as they continue with this unit of study.
2. Teacher-Directed Instructions: Distribute folders, and discuss contents. Tell students that the information gathered within these folders will help them to explore the lives of individuals who lived in 18th century Philadelphia. Tell them that all of this information and these folders will be used to assess their learning. Remind them that they should take responsibility for this. (Teacher may wish to share the assessment rubric at this time).
3. Individual Work: Ask students to take their identity cards from their folders. They are to assume the role of the person on the card. At this point, they will not know that others with like-color cards are members of the same household. Ask students to fill in the basic information on Investigation Sheet 1.
4. Cooperative Work: Students are now ready to meet with the other members of their household. Students with like-color cards will meet to share their identities, and they will use the facts that they have been given thus far to formulate hypotheses about the relationships between themselves and the other members of their household. Additional information that is gleaned from this meeting may be recorded on Investigation Sheet 1. Note: At this point, facts need not be correct, but must be based upon sound reasoning. For example, if there are 2 people in a household named John Todd, students might deduce that they are father and son. Corrected data will be listed on Investigation Sheet 5 by the end of this unit.
1. Whole Class Discussion: Bring entire class back together to discuss some of their findings. There will be many questions that remain unanswered. Refer back to the wall chart, Sources that Help Us Discover Information about People. Ask students to identify additional sources for helping them with their exploration of the 18th century households. List the sources. At this time, introduce the terms primary sources (diaries, artifacts, report cards) and secondary sources (newspapers, textbooks). A highlighter may be utilized to identify the primary sources on the wall chart.
2. Individual Work: Investigation Sheet 2 may be completed either in class or for homework. In column one of this sheet, students will develop a list of questions about life in the 18th century. Columns 2 and 3 may be completed when and if these questions are answered. In closing, inform students that they will use web-based activities and a field trip to Independence National Historical Park in order to obtain further information.
This lesson ties to many places in the park including the President's House Site, Bishop White House and Todd House.
Check out these extensions activities.
This document provides additional resources for students.