The B&O Museum received generous funding from the National Park Service to create this lesson plan. It is modeled after the National Park Service’s Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP). Each lesson plan provides a rich opportunity to enhance learning by bringing historic places across the country directly into your classroom. Students experience the excitement of these special places and the stories they have to tell through carefully selected written and visual materials.
Each TwHP lesson plan contains teacher material and teaching activities. Teacher material includes the following sections: Introduction, Where it fits into the curriculum, Objectives for students, Materials for students, and Visiting the site. Teaching activities consist of the following sections: 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). The lesson plan format was designed to allow flexibility but works best if the material in each lesson plan is presented to students as described below:
1) Getting Started
Begin each lesson by asking students to discuss possible answers to the inquiry question that accompanies the Getting Started image. To facilitate a whole class discussion, you may want to print the page and use it to make an overhead transparency. The purpose of the 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 illustrations for the text, 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. The worksheet is appropriate for analyzing both historical and modern photographs and will help students develop a valuable skill.
2) Setting the Stage
Next present the information in Setting the Stage. This material may be read aloud to students, summarized, or photocopied for students to read individually or in small groups. Setting the Stage material provides background information necessary to acquaint students with the topic of the lesson they will be studying.
3) Locating the Site
Next provide students with copies of the maps and questions included in Locating the Site. Have students work individually or in small groups to complete the questions. At least one map familiarizes students with the historic site’s location within the country, state, and/or region. Extended captions may be included to provide students with information necessary to answer the questions.
4) Determining the Facts
Then provide students with copies of the readings, documents, and/or charts included in Determining the Facts. Again, allow students to work individually or in small groups. The series of questions that accompanies each of these sections is designed to ensure that students have gathered the appropriate facts from the material.
5) Visual Evidence
Next distribute the lesson’s visual materials among students. You can print these images straight from the Web or display them on a computer screen. Have the students examine the photographs and answer the related questions. Note that in some of the lessons two or more images are 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. The worksheet is appropriate for analyzing both historical and modern photographs and will help students develop a valuable skill.
6) 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 in Putting It All Together. 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 in each lesson plan 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.