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How to Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together

The Iron Hill School building continues to serve an educational purpose in its community as the Iron Hill Museum of Natural History. The following activities will help students understand the concept of philanthropy as well as begin to discover the history of their own school.

Activity 1: Researching Philanthropists
Ask students to consider what is meant by the words "philanthropy" and "philanthropist" and write down a definition for each. Then have them compare their definitions with those found in a dictionary. Next, have students choose a philanthropist (other than du Pont) who was active during the Progressive Era and write a short essay describing how that person fits the definition of a philanthropist. Finally, ask students to think of a contemporary philanthropist and compare their contribution to that of the person they researched from the Progressive Era.

Activity 2: Collecting Oral Histories
If possible, have students look at old yearbooks to discover the names of former students of their school who might still live in the area. Invite one or more of them to come to the class for an interview. Ask the class to prepare a list of questions that will help them discover what the typical school day was like at the time, what he/she remembers most about the time spent at the school, and any changes to the school building he/she notices. Choose one or two students to conduct the interview and have the entire class take notes. Then have each student write a newspaper article about the person(s) interviewed that illustrates the differences between the typical school day then and now and highlights how the school may have changed over the years. Read the articles to the class and have them vote on one article to be submitted to the school newspaper for publication. Finally, ask students to make a list of things they think they might remember and what objects they might save in case someone ever asks to interview them about their school days.

Activity 3: The History of Your School
Have students research their school to find out who designed the building, when it was built, and what conditions influenced the plan and the style. In some states, documentation about the construction of schools is located at the State Department of Education and the State Archives. In other states, the school district offices or the municipal library hold this information. Next, have them try to discover how the school building has been altered, adapted, and updated over time. Try to decide what ideals about education the architecture of their school reflects. Students should consider size, floor plan, kinds of classrooms, student and teacher facilities, etc. They should research the guidelines and specifications in effect at the time their school was built. How do those requirements differ from the progressive ideals used at the Iron Hill School?




Comments or Questions

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