To better understand the United States at the end of the nineteenth century, this interdisciplinary lesson integrates analyzing historical primary resources with literary analysis. Students work in groups and express themselves creatively through a multi-media epic poem. The artistic models for the students' multi-media epic poem are Walt Whitman's Song of Myself (1855) and Hart Crane's The Bridge (1930). These epic poets capture, interpret, and give meaning to their particular times and places. Students look to do the same with the year 1900, relying upon relevant primary resources -- sound recordings, images, text, and their own creative and interpretative voices.
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This interdisciplinary lesson integrates analyzing historical primary resources with literary analysis. Students work in groups and express themselves creatively through a multi-media epic poem.
Ever wonder what women were doing during the 1800s or what is known as the antebellum period of United States history? Men are well represented in our history books as they were the powerful, educated leaders of our country. Women, on the other hand, rarely had opportunities to tell their stories. Powerful stories of brave women who helped shape the history of the United States are revealed to students through journals, letters, narratives and other primary sources. Synthesizing information from the various sources, students write their impressions of women in the Northeast, Southeast, or the West during the Nineteenth Century.
Examine the tension experienced by African-Americans as they struggled to establish a vibrant and meaningful identity based on the promises of liberty and equality in the midst of a society that was ambivalent towards them and sought to impose an inferior definition upon them. The primary sources used are drawn from a time of great change that begins after Reconstruction's brief promise of full citizenship and ends with the First World War's Great Migration, when many African-Americans sought greater freedoms and opportunities by leaving the South for booming industrial cities elsewhere in the nation. The central question posed by these primary sources is how African-Americans were able to form a meaningful identity for themselves, reject the inferior images fastened upon them, and still maintain the strength to keep "from being torn asunder." Using the primary sources presented here, look for answers that bring your ideas together in ways that reflect the richness of the African-American experience.
The collection African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907, contains pamphlets and other materials, most of which were written by African American authors about pressing issues of the day. In this lesson, students use the collection's Timeline of African American History, 1852-1925 to identify problems and issues facing African Americans immediately after Reconstruction. Working in small groups on assigned issues, students search the collection for documents that describe the problem and consider opposing points of view, and suggest a remedy for the problem. Students then present the results of their research in a simulated African American Congress, modeled on a congress documented in the collection's special presentation, Progress of a People.
This lesson encourages students to identify problems facing African Americans immediately after Reconstruction. Students then work in small groups to identify documents describing a particular problem, consider opposing points of view, and suggest a solution and present their research findings.
This site uses images and texts from the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876 to help students learn what the Exposition said about America at that time. Students work as historians using primary sources to create museum exhibits on issues of the Centennial Era.
This lesson invites students to search and sift through rare print documents, early motion pictures, photographs, and recorded sounds from The Library of Congress. Students experience the depth and breadth of the digital resources of the Library, tell the story of a decade, and help define the American Dream.
Reservation Controversies covers historic issues dealing with American Indian Reservations in the 1870s. This experience uses problem based learning (PBL), in which the student is confronted or faced with a real world problem which has no preconceived right or wrong answers. Using various teaching/learning strategies, which include brainstorming, role playing, and oral presentations, the students access primary sources and other background sources to arrive at a recommendation, based on the information. The teacher, librarian, and other support staff act as guides or advisors through most of the process.
In 1782 Jean de Crevecoeur published Letters from an American Farmer in which he defined an American as a "descendent of Europeans" who, if he were "honest, sober and industrious," prospered in a welcoming land of opportunity which gave him choice of occupation and residence. Students will look at life histories from the interviews of everyday Americans conducted by Works Progress Administration officials between 1936-1940 to see if his definition still holds true in this country 150 years later. Students will conclude by working toward a modern definition.
This site helps teachers and students navigate the vast online collections of primary source materials at the Library of Congress. The links, arranged by chronological period, lead to sets of selected primary sources on a variety of topics in U.S. history.
This is a lesson in which students take a trip around the world in 1896 using an online collection of 900 images. The collection includes photos of railroads, elephants, camels, horses, sleds and sleighs, sedan chairs, rickshaws, and other types of transportation, as well as city views, street and harbor scenes, landscapes, and people in North Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania.
This is an annotated collection of Library of Congress resources about America's pastime. It includes early baseball pictures, baseball songs and stories, baseball cards, the first all-professional baseball team in America (the Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1869), Cy Young, Ty Cobb, home run kings, and letters and speeches by Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball.
Students use primary sources focused on baseball to explore the American experience regarding race and ethnicity. The unit should be used when studying the World War II era and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
This site offers twelve puzzle sets. Each set challenges you with four or five jigsaw puzzles made from images found in the American Memory collections. As each puzzle in the set is completed, a new puzzle will appear...until you have completed all of the puzzles in that set. You will then have a chance to use what you have learned to discover the Big Picture...the theme the images in the set have in common
This lesson relates to the westward movement in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Students analyze the role that gunfighters played in the settlement of the West and distinguish between their factual and fictional accounts using American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 - 1940.Billy the Kid alias, William H. Bonney, alias Henry McCarty, alias Kid Antrim, etc. is an example of the typical gunfighter. He was born in the 1850s and died in 1881 when he was shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett. Billy serves as the focus of the lesson.
This site offers thumbnail histories of nearly 30 well-known brand names associated with soft drinks, potatoes, cereal, fruit, airplanes, buses, pianos, sewing machines, jeans, shoes, and other products.
The New Deal programs and agencies, created under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had a powerful impact on the relationship of government to the people of the United States. Yet a study of New Deal programs often leaves the student with a disconnected list of 'alphabet soup' programs and no real grasp of the impact of the New Deal.This lesson takes a student through a process of examining primary sources, both photographs and life histories, to develop a sense of the profound impact the Great Depression had on real people's lives. Then after studying New Deal Programs, students apply what they've learned to improve the situations of those people, whose life history interviews they have read. They synthesize the information gathered into an essay which has both an expository and a creative component. For 10th grade students.
This unit provides a flexible investigative structure for the study of selected themes in U.S. history and culture using the American Memory collections and related resources. Core goals are the development of relationships between selected themes and resources, refinement of student skills in interpretation, analysis, and evaluation of primary sources, and the creation of multimedia projects drawing upon different modes of expression.
This is a teaching unit that leads middle and high school students through the process of critically examining photographs (by Lewis Hine) as historical evidence.