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A perpetual calendar from 1859 to 1937

[Detail] A perpetual calendar from 1859 to 1937

Lesson Procedure

Week One:

  1. Introduce the project focus by posing the Essential Question, which frames the investigation:

    What patterns of change affected the lives of individuals and groups in the United States between 1890 and 1941?

    Tell students that they will be engaging in an intensive study of the Essential Question, using a wide variety of resources, posing important questions about specific historical themes, and examining selected topics related to those themes.
  2. Direct students to Core Historical Themes and Topics, which will form the framework for the development of connections between major patterns of historical change and continuity and student projects. Using selected secondary sources (i. e., course textbook, videotapes, other resources), examine aspects of Core Historical Themes during 1890-1941. This broad overview will provide students with a context for their investigation.
  3. Form student teams for the investigation. Assign no more than 6 students to a group, with each student examining a minimum of one theme within the focus of the Essential Question. Each group will address all six themes within one decade from 1890 to 1941. Either assign a decade to each group or allow students to choose their decade.
  4. Once students have chosen their focus theme(s), emphasize that the final project must provide an answer to the Essential Question by demonstrating understanding of how each theme was represented in the daily life of people from their assigned/chosen decade. In the final project presentation, individual students will demonstrate understanding by developing a biography for a person from the decade assigned/chosen and give their portion of the group's presentation with this persona.
  5. Direct students to the Student Procedure section of this lesson plan to acquaint them with the Library's online resources.
  6. Demonstrate the identification, analysis, and evaluation of selected primary sources within the Digital Collections collections. Photographs from Detroit Publishing Company provide good examples of detail-rich images, with bibliographic information, and additional subject headings for additional research. Use other media formats such as documents, maps, and audio recordings. Motion pictures downloaded ahead of time can also be demonstrated.
  7. Students then select a primary source item and complete the Primary Source Analysis Tool, working alone or with others. Before the students begin, select questions from the teacher’s guide Analyzing Primary Sources to focus and prompt analysis and discussion.


Week Two:

  1. Return to the Digital Collections collections. Student teams should investigate the collections with the purpose of developing a series of Questions for Investigation about their core historical theme. For example: Students working with Theme 2 (What were the processes and consequences of migration for the peopling of the United States?) might identify three questions. One question might be, "Who migrated to the United States during {my assigned/chosen decade} and where did they settle?"

    If students are developing questions that do not seem to be central to the theme, the teacher should provide some questions and help students refine their own.
  2. As students locate sources in Digital Collections , the teacher should monitor source identification, analysis, and evaluation, providing feedback on the relevance and meaning of sources. Once students are engaged in the selection process, introduce Core Topics of Core Historical Themes and Topics. Tell students that this list contains topics that MUST be represented in the selection of sources for their theme(s). Not all Core Topics will be addressed by all students; but all Topics must be addressed by each group. A minimum number per student should be determined by the teacher so that students can focus their source selection process efficiently.

Week Three:

  1. Once students have demonstrated success in identifying relevant, meaningful sources for their themes, and the teacher has provided feedback to help them build a portfolio of useful sources linked to their Core Historical Themes and Topics, the groups should identify the project format or its Mode of Expression.
  2. Discuss the general requirements, schedule, possible mode of expression product ideas, and evaluation.
  3. Students develop a work plan for their project.

From Concept to Completion will help students define and assign responsibility for products that comprise their project.

At this point, facilitate exchange of ideas between individuals within groups and among different groups about:

  1. how project development is proceeding,
  2. sources that appear useful for various projects, and
  3. problem-solving at different stages of project development.


Week Four

Students continue to acquire sources and begin to map how they will construct relationships between the sources and their Core Theme(s) and Questions for Investigation and their Core Topic(s)

Week Five

Students develop a Preliminary Bibliography for their projects. Project-specific storyboards, outlines, or other structural frameworks for the final project are done in first draft form.

Week Six

Students review/critique first drafts of final projects of class members using a Peer Review Form. The teacher also critiques project first drafts. Students assume historical roles in preparation for their group presentations and develop a Historical Biography.

Group findings can be shared in various ways: class discussion, small groups using a jigsaw technique, or via email.

Week Seven

Final preparation for project presentations takes place. Each group should state at least 5 essential findings that emerged from the research, stating findings as generalizations with broad significance, and avoiding the repetition of minute facts or data. Students may use the Strategy for Sharing guide on the Student Procedure page or other guidelines as you prefer.

Week Eight

Group presentations occur. Students complete Making Sense of What We've Studied as they view and interact with each presentation. Peer critiques and teacher evaluations are done. Groups may revise projects prior to public display.

Week Nine

Teacher evaluates the class based on project findings concerning the Essential Question.