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How to
Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together

The following activities will help students understand the impact of national events on the American public and how such events relate to the history of their own community.

Activity 1: Where Were You On the Day...?
President McKinley's shooting was a shocking event for Americans in 1901. By interviewing parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or friends, students can learn the personal feelings of people who remember more recent tragedies. Ask the students to find one person who remembers what he or she was doing on the day each of these events occurred: (1) the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, (2) the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, (3) the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, (4) the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, and (5) any major event that occurred in their community that is still remembered today. Have students compile notes from their interviews and ask them to share what they have learned.

Activity 2: A Snapshot of History
Ansley Wilcox kept a scrapbook of the events that took place in his home, in Buffalo, and in the United States between May and November of 1901. For one month have each student follow an ongoing national event such as a presidential election, a trial, or a sports team's effort at winning a championship by clipping an article out of the newspaper every day. Each day also have them clip an article on an interesting local story even if it is not ongoing. Students should paste the articles in a notebook and write one or two sentences telling what happened in their lives that day. If they have a "souvenir" (ticket stub, photo, etc. ) from that day, have them include it with their notes. At the end of the month, hold a classroom discussion on the brief "snapshot" students have created of their nation, their community, and their family.

Activity 3: Buildings That Have Witnessed History
Ask students to locate a home or building in their community that has served many different purposes over the years. Using primary resources such as atlases, directories, property tax records, census data, and photographs, have the students trace the history of the structure from its construction to the present day. They may want to interview people who lived near the structure for a long time. Then ask students to make a time line with information about the structure at various times in its history on one side. On the other side have the student write what happened in the United States during that same time period. The students may want to donate the completed project to the local historical society so that others can benefit from their research.



Comments or Questions

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