Unit 4: How Do We Learn About the Past?
Overarching Question:How can people and places affect our families?Previous Unit:
How Do We Learn About Places?This Unit:How Do We Learn aboutthe Past?Next Unit:What is a Good Citizen?Questions to Focus Assessment and Instruction:1. How do we learn about the past?2. How is the past different from the present?3. Why do we celebrate people and events from the past?
Types of Thinking:Brainstorming
Unit Abstract:In this unit students apply historical inquiry within the context of families and schools. The unit begins with a focus on chronology, or time. In the first lesson students explore the terms ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ by using their own personal experiences and then applying the terms to two picture books which explore the past of a child. Next, students explore different ways we learn about history as the teacher shares a story, an artifact, a photo, and a written record of their own past. Students then bring in a family photograph from the past to share with the class and write a short descriptive narrative about the photograph. The idea that families have a past is then further explored through the book When I Was Young in the Mountain or a similar book. Students learn that evidence of the past can be gathered from the words and illustrations of a book. As a summary activity, the class creates a “Past/Present” T-chart showing how family life has changed. Students explore photographs and information about the history of their school and then explore informational text showing how school life has changed. In a final lesson connected to, students learn that national holidays are often celebrations of events and people from the past that made a difference in the United States.
Focus Questions:1. How do we learn about the past?2. How is the past different from the present?3. Why do we celebrate people and events from the past?
1 - H2.0.1:
Demonstrate chronological thinking by distinguishing among past, present, and futureusing family or school events.
1 - H2.0.2:
Use a calendar to distinguish among days, weeks, and months.
1 - H2.0.3:
Investigate a family history for at least two generations, identifying various members and their connections in order to tell a narrative about family life..
1 - H2.0.4: Retell in sequence important ideas and details from stories about families or schools.
1 - H2.0.5:
Use historical records and artifacts (e.g., photos, diaries, oral histories, and videos) to draw possible conclusions about family or school life in the past.
1 - H2.0.6:
Compare life today with life in the past using the criteria of family, school, jobs, or communication..
1 - H2.0.7:
Identify the events or people celebrated during United States national holidays and why we celebrate them (e.g., Independence Day, Constitution Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Presidents’ Day).Key Concepts:artifactcalendarchronologycountryfamilyhistorical evidencehistorynational holidaymonthschoolLesson Sequence:Lesson 1: Thinking about Time: Past, Present, FutureLesson 2: How Calendars Measure TimeLesson 3: Learning About the PastLesson 4: Families Have a PastLesson 5: Schools Have a PastLesson 6: Celebrating Events and People of the PastI Can Statements:I can use a calendar to count days, weeks, or months.I can name American holidays and why we celebrate them.I can tell about events that have happened in the past and the present.I can tell a story about my family's past.Resources:Art Paper and Drawing Materials Such as Markers and CrayonsChart paper and markersOverhead Projector or Document Camera and ProjectorStudent Resources:Family Tree (Music CD) Tom Chapin Gadfly 1988My Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston Harper-Collins, 1997Me and My Family by Joan Sweeney and Annette Cable, Dragonfly Books 2000The Kid's Family Tree Book by Caroline Leavitt, Sterling Books 2007100 Years Ago by Donna Marriott, Joel Kupperstein, and Meryl Treatner, Creative Teaching Press 1998If You Lived a 100 Years Ago by Ann McGovern Scholastic 1999About 100 Years Ago by Trumbauer and Lisa, Capstone Press 2000Roots for Kids by Susan Provost Beller , Genealogical Publishing Co. 2007County Mouse Cottage by Nigal Brooks and Abigail Horner, Walker & Co. 2000Town House Mouse by Nigal Brooks and Abigail Horner, Walker & Co. 2000
At School (Times Change series). Chicago, IL: Heinemann, 2003.
When This Box is Full. New York: Scholastic, 1993.
Happy 4th of July, Jenny Sweeney. New York: Albert Whitman & Company,2003.
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Scholastic Bookshelf, 2006.
Pablo’s Tree. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1994.
School Then and Now (First Step Nonfiction) Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications,2003.
Birthday Presents. New York: Orchard Books, 1987.
When I Was Young in the Mountains. New York: Puffin, 1982.
At Home (Times Change series). Chicago, IL: Heinemann, 2003.
Cynthia Rylant Biography
. 27 August 2008
Historic Family Photographs.
27 August 2008
The Making of Modern Michigan: Digitizing Michigan’s Hidden Past
. A Photo Collection. 27 August 2008 http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/.
Home Then and Now (First Step Nonfiction). Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 2003.
Transportation Then and Now (First Step Nonfiction) Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 2003.
Best Wishes (Meet the Author). New York: R.C. Owen, 1992.Resources for Further Professional Knowledge
First Grade Social Studies Websites.
27 August 2008National Council for the Social Studies.
27 August 2008 <http://www.ncss.org>.
National History Standards.27 August 2008 <http://nchs.ucla.edu/standards/>.
Social Studies Lesson Plans and Resources. 27 August 2008 <http://www.csun.edu/~hcedu013/>.
Strategies for Teaching Social Studies. 27 August 2008
Teaching Social Studies. 27 August 2008
<http://www.proteacher.org/c/185_Teaching_Social_Studies.htmlEquipment/Manipulatives:Art Paper and Drawing Materials Such as Markers and CrayonsLesson 1: Thinking about Time: Past , Present, FutureLesson 1 Supplemental Materials:Content Expectations:1-H2.0.1: Demonstrate chronological thinking by distinguishing amoung past, present, and future using family or school events.
1 - H2.0.3:
Investigate a family history for at least two generations, identifying various members and their connections in order to tell a narrative about family life.1 - H2.0.4: Retell in sequence important ideas and details from stories about families or schools.R.CM.01.01: Make text-to-self and text-to-text connections and comparisons by activating prior knowledge and connecting personal knowledge and experience to ideas in text through oral and written responses. (English Language Arts)
Key Concepts: chronology, history
Abstract: This lesson begins using a 3-column chart labeled “Past”, “Present” and “Future.” In the column labeled “Past” the teacher writes the word ‘kindergarten’ and asks students what should go in the next two columns (first grade, second grade) The teacher then repeats the process by writing the word ‘baby' in the first column and asking students to help her/him fill in the next two columns (child, adult) . Then, each child is given a sheet with the three column chart on it and told to draw a toy they played with in the past, a toy they play with now and a toy they think they would like to play with in the future. Next, the teacher reads students the book Pablo’s Tree or a similar book. After hearing the story, students work together to identify the family members in the book and retell the family story described in the book, As a connected art project, students create a decorated tree to celebrate their next birthday. The teacher reads the book Birthday Presents, or a similar book and guides students in understanding how this book is like Pablo’s Tree in that both books keep track of time and explore the past by describing the birthdays of a child. Students begin to make text-to-self connections in a pair share activity where they tell about two of their birthdays. Finally, the teacher writes the term ‘history’ on an overhead or board and explains that history is the study of the past.Lesson 2: How Calendars Measure TimeLesson 2 Supplemental Materials:Content Expectations:1-H2.0.2: Use a calendar to distinguish among days, weeks, and months.
Key Concepts: calendar, chronology, month
Abstract: This lesson begins with the teacher showing students a calendar and reviewing how the calendar is organized. Then, returning to the 3-column chart used in Lesson 1 the teacher shows students the current month on the calendar and writes that month under “Present” . This process is repeated with the previous month and the upcoming month. The teacher shares the book When This Box is Full or a similar book. The class discusses how the girl in the story chooses an object representing each month and places it into a box. The teacher then explains that the little girl has created a ‘history box’ of objects that show one year’s passage of time. On chart paper, the teacher lists all the months in a year. The class brainstorms a list of items or events associated with each month of the year. Note that this lesson can be moved to the beginning of the year and used at that time. In this case, the class can create a ‘history box’ of their own by placing an item in the box each month. If the lesson is used in this way, it would be important to review the structure and purpose of a calendar as part of this history unit.Lesson 3: Learning about the PastLesson 3 Supplemental Material:
Content Expectations:1-H2.0.5.: Use historical records and artifacts( e.g., photos, diaries, oral histories, and videos) to draw possible conclusions about family or school life in the past.
Key Concepts: artifact, historical evidence
Abstract: This lesson uses the teacher’s own family history to introduce students to historical evidence. Before the lesson the teacher creates a large chart labeled: How We Learn About the Past. The lesson begins with the teacher showing photographs of themselves as a young child.The teacher then writes the term ‘photographs’ on the chart. The teacher shares a childhood story and adds the term ’people’ to the chart. The teacher then shares an artifact from their past such as a childhood toy and adds ‘artifacts’ to the chart and explains the term in simple words. The teacher shares a historical document from their past such as a report card or a birth certificate and adds the phrase ‘written records’ to the chart. Finally, the teacher guides students in drawing some conclusions about the past based on the objects and information they provided. To help students thinking, provide the following stem for students to complete: In the past… Finally, the teacher explains to students that every person and every family has a past.Lesson 4: Families Have a PastLesson 4 Supplemental Materials:
1 - H2.0.3: Investigate a family history for at least two generations, identifying various members and their connections in order to tell a narrative about family life.
1 - H2.0.6: Compare life today with life in the past using the criteria of family, school, jobs, or communication.
R.NT.01.04: Identify how authors/ illustrators use literary devices including illustrations to support story elements and transitional words including before, after, now, and finally to indicate a sequence of events and sense of story. (English Language Arts)Key Concepts: family, history
Abstract: This lesson begins with the teacher displaying a photo of a parent or grandparent, and sharing the story behind the photograph. The teacher explains the photo is a piece of family history. Students then participate in a sharing project in which students share a photograph from their own family’s past. In a note to parents the teacher asks for each family to send in a historic photograph (or copy) and include description of the photo including who is in the photo, where it was taken, approximate date, etc. The teacher then guides students in comparing the photographs and sequencing them in order of time. Students are then given a sentence starter: My photo shows…. and asked to tell the story of their photo. The teacher poses the question: How do we know these photographs took place in the past? After eliciting student responses the teacher guides students in understanding that photographs can show evidence of the past such as objects we no longer use, clothes that look different, ways of transportation we no longer use, etc. Next, the teacher creates a T-Chart labeled “From Pictures” and “From Words” The teacher then shares the book When I was Young in the Mountains or a similar books and tells students they will belooking for evidence the book takes place in the past.. Using the dedication page, students are asked if the objects shown are from the present or the past. After a brief discussion the teacher adds the term ‘oil lamp” to the “From Pictures” side of the chart. Next, the teacher reads students the first page of the book and asks students for ‘evidence of the past.’ The teacher guides students in understanding that the phrase ‘when I was young” indicates the author is writing about the past. The teacher then adds this phrase to the “From Words” side of the T-chart. continues throughout the story. When the book is finished, the teacher creates a second T-chart labeled“Past” and “Present”. The class revisits the book finding evidence such as children pumping waterin the book and adds the phrase ‘outside pump ’ to the “Past” side of the chart. The teacher then poses the question: How do we get water now? After eliciting responses, the teacher writes the term ‘faucet in our house” to the “Present“ side of the chart. Using illustrations from the book the teacher guides students in identifying more examples of differences between the past and the present.Lesson 5: Schools Have a PastLesson 5 Supplemental Materials:
Content Expectations:1.-H2.0.6. Compare life today with life in the past using the criteria of family, school, jobs, or communication.Key Concepts: history, school
Abstract: This lesson uses the context of a school to compare schools today and schools in the past using informational text. It begins with the teacher sharing photographs depicting the past of the students’ own school. These are obtained from old school yearbooks, other staff members, etc. The teacher then briefly describes the school’s past including when the school was built, what was on the land before the school was built, changes made to the school, etc. If time permits, someone who attended the school in the past can be invited to share their experiences. Next, the teacher shares informational text showing how schools have changed. Two possible choices are: At School (Times Change series) or School Then and Now (First Step Nonfiction). As the book is shared, the class helps the teacher complete a “Past/Present” T-chart.Lesson 6: Celebrating Events and People of the PastLesson 6 Supplemental Materials:Content Expectations:1-H2.0.7: Identify the events of people celebrated during United States nation holidays and why we celebrate them (e.g., Independence Day, Constitution Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day).
Key Concepts: country, history, national holidays
Abstract: In this lesson students explore how some holidays are celebrations of people and events of the past. The lesson begins with a discussion of the concept of holidays and the creation of a class list of holidays celebrated by families of the students. Next, the teacher reviews the two books used in Lesson One: Birthday Presents and Pablo’s Tree. With the teacher’s guidance students conclude that the two books are alike in that they both talk about a child’s past and they both deal with birthday celebrations. The teacher then explains that we celebrate the birthday ofour country on July 4th and unlike family birthdays; this is a birthday that everyone in the country celebrates. July 4th commemorates the day the United States won freedom from England and became and independent country. Using the book Happy 4th of July, Jenny Sweeney, or a similar book, and their own experiences, students discuss different ways people celebrate this national holiday. The teacher explains that sometimes national holidays like July 4th, or Independence Day,are celebrations of things that happened in the past. On drawing paper divided into two sections, students then draw an illustration of a July 4th celebration in one of the sections and write this sentence above the drawing: “We celebrate things that happened in the past.” The teacher explains that sometimes national holidays celebrate people who lived in the past. Using the book Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. or a similar book, the class then explores how and why we celebrate people of the past. Then, in the other section of the drawing paper, students draw Dr.King and write: “We celebrate people of the past.” People are remembered by celebrating national holidays in their honor because these people had a positive impact on our nation. They made the United States a better country.