Lesson Plan

Thomas P. Kennard House: Building a Prairie Capital - A Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plan

Nebraska Statehood Memorial, Kennard House
Nebraska Statehood Memorial, Kennard House
Nebraska State Historical Society

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Grade Level:
Fifth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Subject:
Architecture, Architecture (Building Styles and Methods), History, Planning/Development
Duration:
Variable. Adaptable to teacher and student needs.
Group Size:
Up to 36
Setting:
indoors or outdoors
National/State Standards:
Relevant U.S. History Standards for Grades 5-12: Era 4 - Expansion and Reform (1801-1861) Standard 2E
Keywords:
lesson plan, Teaching with Historic Places, Nebraska, 19th century, 1860s, 1870s, statehood, omaha, Lincoln, American History, Nebraska history, capitals, capital cities, state capitals, city planning, Thomas Kennard, John Gillespie, David Butler, Lancaster County, historic photography, historic maps, italianate architecture, Nebraska State Historical Society

Overview

Using the Thomas P. Kennard House in Nebraska, this lesson plan allows students to describe the challenges Nebraskans faced in selecting a state capital and how they responded to those challenges. Students will use historic maps, readings and photographs to explain how Nebraska's first commissioners worked to ensure the success of the capital city and explore the important factors in planning a capital city.

Objective(s)

  1. To describe the challenges Nebraskans faced in selecting a state capital and how they responded to those challenges. 
  2. To explain how Nebraska's first commissioners worked to ensure the success of the capital city.  
  3. To identify factors important in planning a capital city and to design a state capital. 
  4. To create an exhibit about the history and significance of their community’s oldest buildings.


Background

Information on how to use a Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plan can be found here

Historical context for the lesson plan topic can be found in the lesson's Setting the Stage section.


Materials

  1. Two maps showing the eastern counties of Nebraska and the plat for Lincoln; 
  2. Three readings about the selection of Lincoln as the first state capital and the work of the state commissioners to ensure its success; 
  3. Five photos of the city of Lincoln in the 1860s and 1870s and of the Kennard House.


Procedure

Thomas P. Kennard House: Building a Prairie Capital

Each Teaching with Historic Places lesson plan contains the following teaching activities: Getting Started (inquiry question), Setting the Stage (historical background), Locating the Site (maps), Determining the Facts (readings, documents, charts), Visual Evidence (photographs and other graphic documents), and Putting It All Together (activities). See Parts 2-7 for information about how to use these resources.

Click here to go directly to the lesson plan.

Getting Started

Begin this lesson by asking students to discuss possible answers to the inquiry question that accompanies the "Getting Started" image. Provide them with paper print-outs of the image and question, or direct them to the lesson plan website. To facilitate a whole class discussion, you may want to print or scan the image to make an overhead transparency or digital slide. The purpose of this exercise is to engage students' interest in the lesson's topic by raising questions that can be answered as they complete the lesson.

Rather than serving merely as an illustration for the text, the image is a document that plays an integral role in helping students achieve the lesson's objective. To assist students in learning how to "read" visual materials you may want to begin this section by having them complete the Photo Analysis Worksheet for one or more of the photos. The worksheet is appropriate for analyzing both historical and recent photographs and will help students develop a valuable skill.

Getting Started section for this lesson

Setting the Stage

This section is intended to be used, if necessary, as background material. Read this material aloud to students or summarize it, or provide them with paper print-outs, or direct them to the lesson plan website. If students have computers, you can direct them to the page on the website.

Setting the Stage section for this lesson

Locating the Site

Provide students with the maps and questions included in Locating the Site. You can give them paper print-outs or direct them to the lesson plan website. Have students work individually or in small groups to complete the questions. At least one map familiarizes the students with the historic site's location within the country, state or region. Extended captions may be included to provide students with information necessary to answer the questions.

Locating the Site section in this lesson

Determining the Facts

Provide students with copies of the readings, documents and/or charts included in this section or direct them to the lesson plan website. Allow students to work individually or in small groups. The series of questions that accompanies each of these readings is designed to ensure that students have gathered the appropriate facts from the material.

Determining the Facts section for this lesson

Visual Evidence: Images

Distribute the lesson's visual materials among students. Provide them with paper print-outs, or direct them to the lesson plan website. Have the students examine the photographs and answer the related questions. Note that two or more images may be studied together in order to complete the questions. Extended captions may be included to provide students with important information.

Rather than serving merely as illustrations for the text, the images are documents that play an integral role in helping students achieve the lesson's objectives. To assist students in learning how to "read" visual materials, you may want to begin this section by having them complete the Photo Analysis Worksheet for one or more of the photos.

Visual Evidence: Images section for this lesson

Putting It All Together

After students have completed the questions that accompany the maps, readings and visuals, they should be directed to complete one or more of the activities presented below. These activities engage students in a variety of creative exercises that help them synthesize the information they have learned and formulate conclusions. At least one activity leads students to look for places in their community that relate to the topic of the lesson. In this way students learn to make connections between their community and the broader themes of American history they encounter in their studies.

Putting It All Together section for this lesson

Assessment

Assessment is built into the lesson plan in the form of questions for all documents, including maps and images, and in the student products completed for step 7, Putting it All Together.

Additional Resources

Students and educators who want to know more can find sources of information (with links) here: Supplementary Resources.