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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

About This Lesson

This lesson plan is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Olmsted Park System," and other sources related to Frederick Law Olmsted and the Emerald Necklace. It was produced in collaboration with the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative. Lisa Marsh, Boston Park Ranger, and Pamela Snow, former Boston Park Ranger, wrote The Emerald Necklace: Boston's Green Connection. Jean West, education consultant, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff edited the lesson. 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 classrooms across the country.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in U.S. history, social studies, and geography courses in units on urban expansion in the late 19th century or city planning.
Time period: Late 19th century to early 20th century
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
1) To determine how 19th-century urban conditions influenced the development of parks.
2) To examine Frederick Law Olmsted's concept of parks and how his beliefs were reflected in his design of the Boston Park System.
3) To explain how topography impacted the development of Boston's Park System.
4) To discover ways to respond to current and future needs of their local cities through open space planning.

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 smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps showing changes in the topography of Boston;
2) three readings about the history of Boston and the vision and contributions of Frederick Law Olmsted to Boston's Park System;
3) one drawing of the Emerald Necklace;
4) four photos of Boston and the Emerald Necklace.

Visiting the site
Visitors to Boston may visit the Emerald Necklace park system independently or participate in walks or bicycle rides led by a Boston Park Ranger. For more information on the sites and educational programs, contact Boston Park Rangers, Boston Parks and Recreation Department, 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02118, or visit their web site. Boston Park Rangers also offer a variety of other historical and environmental programs within the Emerald Necklace park system.



Comments or Questions

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