About Us
Our Team
Our Impact
FAQs
News
Contact Us

The History of Daily Life in America: An Inquiry-based Unit Plan


Page Views: 2601


Advanced Search
Email This Lesson Plan to Me
Email Address:
Subscribe to Newsletter?
Log in to rate this plan!
Overall Rating:
(5.0 stars, 2 ratings)


Keywords: Inquiry-based lesson plan, American history
Subject(s): Social Studies, English/Language Arts, History
Grades P-K through 8
School: Charles A Mooney Middle School, Cleveland, OH
Planned By: Jennifer Conrad
Original Author: Jennifer Conrad, Cleveland
Activity: Developing Essential Questions

Introducing the Big Idea, Theme or Hook:

As a hook to engage students’ interest in the topic, the teacher will walk into the classroom wearing period style clothing of a woman in the 1800’s carrying two water buckets. As the teacher walks in, she will talk about her hard work fetching water in her buckets daily for cooking and cleaning. The teacher will demonstrate how a water pump was used as she walks up and pretends to pump water into her buckets. Students will be asked to think about the differences between getting water now compared with getting water back in the 1800’s.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this activity, students will be able to raise questions about how families lived in America in the 1800’s

Developing questions:

With teacher direction, students will begin to think about what life was like in the 1800s in the area of the United States that is now Northeast, Ohio. Using a Power Point presentation, students will be exposed to images of this time in history. To guide students to ask deep questions, the teacher will model inquiry questions related to selected images on the screen. As each image is displayed, students are encouraged to ask questions about what they are viewing as it relates to how people lived long ago. Students will be encouraged to use the words ‘what, why, when, where & how’ when asking questions.
{This part of the lesson will take approximately 30 minutes}

Grouping of Students:

As the images are displayed on the screen, students will brainstorm as a whole group. This process will enable the teacher to redirect some students to develop stronger questions for inquiry. Students will be grouped in pairs to complete the written assignment that accompanies this lesson. As the unit progresses, students will work independently.

Student Products:

Students will complete a project planning flowchart to ensure that students stay focused on the topic and that the questions are directly related to the focus of study. Students will complete handout Q-12 with a partner and develop two questions about the given topic.
{This part of the lesson will take approximately 20 minutes}

Assessment Strategies:

This activity will be graded using a rubric created to assess the students’ ability to develop an inquiry question that encourages deep exploration of the specific topic.

Materials, Resources, Technology and logistics:

Images from: Hale Farm and Village Virtual Tour http://westernreservepublicmedia.org/halefarm/village.htm
>Images
from: Heritage Village Museum http://www.heritagevillagecincinnati.org/education/teachers_page.html

Replica
of an old water pump that might have been used in the late 1800’s

handout Q-12 (Reading the Web by Maya Eagleton pg 111)

Computer with PowerPoint program

Projector and screen


Accommodations include:

redirection, prompting and spelling help to complete the project planning flowchart.



Activity: Locating and Evaluating Internet Resources

Introducing the activities:

Students will be told that they are going to be detectives for this lesson. Students will be told that they will be using clues to solve a mystery on the internet. Some of the clues will be hidden, but all clues are needed for solving the mystery. The teacher will hold up some magnifying glasses to motivate and inspire students in the class.

Learning Objectives:

1. Obtain information about a topic using a variety of oral and visual sources.
2. Display courtesy and respect for others in group settings including: (a) Staying on the topic & (b) Focusing attention on the speaker.

Searching the internet and locating resources:

1. Using a projector, the teacher will display the computer screen for all students to view. The teacher will discuss the importance of good search strategies along with the importance of choosing the correct search engine to meet their needs. Using a broad topic like ‘dogs’, the teacher will demonstrate how to search for information on the web. The teacher will model the ineffective way of typing www.dog.com for finding information about popular dog breeds. Next the teacher will use www.google.com and type dog into the search bar. Students will observe the number of hits that are displayed. Next the teacher will type the words “dog breeds” + popular into the search bar. Students will again observe the number of hit that are displayed. The teacher will point out the sponsored link(s) displayed on the screen, and talk about what kind of information could be found on that site. The teacher will model these same steps using www.yahooligans.com to find information about the solar system. Students will find the answer to the following question. What is the fifth planet away from the sun? Modeling both effective and ineffective approaches while searching for information, students will discover the impact of key words, “quotation marks”, and the plus sign (+). As a class, students will locate the answer to the questions: What are the most popular dog breeds? & What is the fifth planet away from the sun? {This part of the lesson will take approximately 20 minutes}
2. Using the knowledge gained from the whole group activity, students will break into groups of two and conduct a search to find the answer to the following questions. What are the most popular cat breeds? & Who was our 20th president? Each group will have 10 minutes to successfully find the answers using www.google.com or www.yahooligans.com. {This part of the lesson will take 10 minutes}
3. After focusing on key words using www.google.com and www.yahooligans.com, students will practice using a different web site which is designed for entering whole research questions. Before students begin to locate information related to their focal question, the teacher will model how to search using www.askforkids.com. The teacher will type “cooking in the 1800’s” into the search bar. The teacher will point out the left-hand margin where a list of narrowed choices have been generated for a more focused search.
4. Students will begin to look for information related to their focus question from the Developing Essential Questions portion of the unit. Using the website www.askforkids.com, students will type in their exact focus question to find the answers to their questions. Once students have found one or more web sites pertaining to their focal question, students will write the URL, the search engine used, and the answer to their question on student handout. (see Appendix 2) {This part of the lesson will take approximately 20-30 minutes}

Evaluating resources and information on the internet:

1. After all groups have completed the handout, appendix 2, the teacher will lead a whole group discussion about information found on the web. The teacher will display the web site for The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus @ http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/. The teacher will read the first paragraph on this site and talk about its validity. The teacher will model ways to evaluate the web site for truthfulness. The teacher will answer the following questions while modeling how to find the answers to each question below. {This part of the lesson will take approximately 20 minutes}
a. Does the information make sense?
b. Where else can you look to confirm this information?
c. Who created the website? Is that person an expert?
d. When was this information posted? Is it recent?
e. Is the information on this site true?

2. Students will break into groups and explore the web site they used to find the answer to their inquiry question. Using a handout (Appendix 3), students will evaluate their web site for truthfulness. {This part of the lesson will take approximately 20-30 minutes}

Grouping of Students:

Students will participate in a whole group introduction at the start of the lesson and again when Evaluating Resources portion is introduced. Students will be divided into groups of two for all other parts of the lesson.

Student Products:

Complete student handouts (Appendix 2 & 3)

Activity Assessment Strategies:

Using a rubric, students will be graded based on effort, teamwork, finding information, and evaluating sources. (See Appendix 1)

Materials, Resources, Technology and logistics:
Computer, projector, & screen
Copy of Appendix 1,2, & 3
Magnify glasses
Computer for each group in the class

Accommodations include:

redirection, prompting, spelling help to complete student handouts, and help reading information on the web.



Activity: Synthesizing Resources and Communicating Effectively

Introducing the activities:

Holding up a magnifying glass, tell students that they are going to continue being detectives for this lesson. Explain that the next step as a detective is to piece together the clues to solve the mystery. Inform students that the 4th step in the inquiry process in synthesis, and they are going to find information about their topic using several sources. In order to solve the case, they must use information from each source to support their conclusion.

Learning Objectives:

1. Obtain information about a topic using a variety of oral and visual sources.
2. Display courtesy and respect for others in group settings including: (a) Staying on the topic & (b) Focusing attention on the speaker.
3. Raise questions about how families lived in the past and use photographs, letters, artifacts, and books to clarify what is known and what is unknown.

Synthesizing information from multiple resources:

1. Tell students that they will be learning some strategies so they can become good synthesizers. Using a computer and projector, model how to find information about pioneer children and school using key words. Visit the sites below and read information about pioneer schooling aloud.
• http://library.thinkquest.org/J002611F/school.htm
• http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/settlers4.html

Explain that when reading information it is a good strategy to write down important ideas from the text. Using several sticky notes, write down 2 important facts from each web site listed above.

2. Using a poster size copy of appendix 4, place sticky notes into three columns while sorting the information by where it was found. Using a marker, complete the handout. Model the synthesizing process by vocalizing your thought process. Make sure to demonstrate how to rewrite the information in your own words.

{Step 1 & 2 will take approximately 30-45 minutes}

3. Students will break into pairs at this time to find more information about their topic. Students will use sticky notes to write important facts from each source. Students will view two different sites for information about their topic.

4. Students will then complete the synthesis handout (Appendix 4) with their partners. Using the sticky notes, students will transfer information onto their handout and then synthesize all the information.

{Step 3 & 4 will take approximately 30-50 minutes}

Communicating effectively in multiple modalities:

Students will create a Power Point presentation to share with the class. Given a template, students will input their information about their topic relating to life in the 1800’s. Students will create a title page, general information page, a Venn Diagram page, and a creative writing page. Students will use a teacher-create template when completing this project (see Appendix 5 for page layouts).
{This part will take approximately 100 minutes or 2 class periods}

Students will present their Power Point presentations to the class while wearing period style clothing and props.
{Approximately 50 minutes}

Students will create and take part in a living history activity where students assume the roles of historical characters. Students will dress, talk, and act like the people who lived in the 1800’s. With the assistance of the teacher, students will digitally record themselves in these roles. Students will share and view the final project with other classrooms throughout the school.
{Approximately 100 minutes or 2 class periods}


Grouping of Students:

Students will participate in a whole group introduction at the start of the lesson. Students will be divided into groups of two for all other parts of the lesson.

Student Products:

Students will complete synthesis handout (Appendix 4) & Power Point presentation. Students will also participate in a living history activity at the end of the unit. Students will assume the roles of historical characters. Students will dress, talk, and act like the people who lived in the 1800’s.

Assessment Strategies:

Using a rubric, students will be graded based on research topic, effort, teamwork, presentation, synthesis of ideas, and final project.
(See Appendix 6)

Materials, Resources, Technology and logistics:
• Sticky notes
• Computers & projector
• Synthesis handout (Appendix 4)
• Power Point template
• Period style clothing & props
• Appendix 6
• Digital recorder

Accommodations include:

redirection, prompting, spelling help to complete student handouts, and help reading information on the web.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Language Arts:
Review parts of a friendly letter while presenting a Power Point Presentation (provided below).
Follow-Up
Visit Hale Farm and Village "an outdoor living history museum featuring life and crafts from the mid-1800s. It includes farm animals, pastures, and historic houses with historical interpreters dressed in period costume"(Western Reserve Historical Society, 2008).
Links: Link to Hale Farm and Village Virtual Tour
Link to Heritage Village Museum
Link to The Pioneer School
Link to School Life
Link to Writing Friendly Letters
Materials: Flip Video, Portable, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Word Processor, Slideshow, Worksheets
Other Items: 1 The Flip Ultra™ camcorder, $150.00 each, total of $150.00
4 Flash Dive- USB xD Picture Card Reader/Writer, $19.95 each, total of $79.80
1 Portable Classroom Projector CP-X201, $900.00 each, total of $900.00