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Overview


Subject/Sub-Subject: Social Studies/Other


Title: Past vs. Present - Life in the early 1900's


Summary:


The objective of this lesson is for students to understand that many features of human lifestyles have changed from the past to the present-day, and that some characteristics of life in the past have not changed too much overtime, such as daily routines, family, pets, jobs, etc.  Students use primary source images to search for evidence of the difference between past and present.


Understanding Goal

Things change over time.

Investigative Question

How can primary sources help us to understand what life was like for people in the past?

Grade(s): preK, K, 1, 2
Audience: General
Learners: This investigation was implemented with general education second grade students with varying skills and abilities.
Required Vocabulary: N/A
Prior Content Knowledge: N/A
Standards

(This field added after submission.)

Field Tests

Click on the title to expand the description of each field test

May 18, 2007 - Meredith Radimer
March 30, 2007 - Mary McIlwain
January 10, 2007 - Ann Biczo
December 12, 2006 - Judith Andrews
December 31, 1969 - Clare Gutwein
December 31, 1969 - Jennifer Larrison
December 31, 1969 - Lisa Melluzzo
December 31, 1969 - Patricia Oliver

Sources

Past vs. Present - Life in the early 1900's

Understanding Goal

The objective of this lesson is for students to understand that many features of human lifestyles have changed from the past to the present-day, and that some characteristics of life in the past have not changed too much overtime, such as daily routines, family, pets, jobs, etc.

Click on an image for more information.

Slideshow Icon View as a slideshow
Old Way [Small carriage drawn by three horses] / photo by H.L. Bradley, Bar Harbor. 11th & F, NW, Washington, DC Girls, boys and men, polishing and wrapping, working together: morals in glass factory are proverbially bad. Union Stopper Co., Morgantown, W. Va. Several very young girls and many small boys working here. Location: Morgantown, West Virginia. They carry home the tags in all kinds of carts

Required Materials

Files

past and present clue box handout.doc

Directions

Investigation

Step 1 Introduce the lesson by asking students, Can you think of something that happened a long time ago? Assess the students knowledge of past events/time and history. Note to what extent the students understand a long time ago."
Step 2 Introduce the vocabulary word, past, and explain that the word tells us about things that happened a long time ago.
Step 3 Introduce the vocabulary word, present, and explain that the word tells us about things that are happening right now.
Step 4 Practice with the new vocabulary, giving students some examples of events and asking them if they are examples of past events or present events using examples such as: their births, social studies class right now, George Washingtons life.
Step 5 Explain to students that today they will get to look at some very special pictures. Emphasize and discuss with students that these pictures are photographs. Talk with students about camera pictures versus painted/drawn pictures. Tell students that these pictures are special because they are from 100 years ago and show people who were alive back then.
Step 6 Tell students that their job today is to be detectives to find clues in the pictures that show things that are very different from our lives in America today.
Step 7 Display the Old Way photograph that shows a woman standing next to her log home in the early 1900s. Ask students, What do you see in this picture that looks different from what we know in our lives?. Allow students to approach the picture (poster-size) and point out differences they see. Ask students to describe what they see in words. Brainstorm with students who cannot explain what they see with exact vocabulary, yet know that it is something different (ex. butter churn), before telling them what the object is really called.
Step 8 Adapt the experience for English-Language Learners. Demonstrate/Model for students how to make a simple sketch of that item in the clue boxes on a handout (see attached) each time the students see a clue of something different in the picture. Show the students that they can use words, pictures, or both. Encourage students to continue to do this record-keeping on their own.

Files

Step 9 Adapt the experience for learners comfortable with English or advanced writers. Keep a chart going with the students with two columns: 1) Things that were different in the past, and 2) Things that have stayed the same. Ask students which column is most appropriate and write their ideas about similarities and differences on the chart.
Step 10 Allow students to look for more clues independently, with teacher monitoring. Place one of the remaining four poster-size photographs on each table. Assign 3-5 students to each photograph. Give students either a clue box handout to draw picture clues (great for English Language Learners) or a personal 2-column chart (as described as an alternative assignment for students comfortable with English) for record-keeping. Use the "clue box" handout to allow students to either write or draw the clues in the boxes. Remind students that they should be looking for things in the past (in the picture) that seem different than our lives today.
Step 11 Give students about 15 minutes to find more clues in their new picture. Allow students to rotate to different stations to see different photographs and add to their record-keeping handouts, if time allows.
Step 12 Differentiate by assigning students to groups with peers of like ability based on observation and critical-thinking skills. Assign students photographs with more obvious clues to students developing their skills(Examples: 11th & F, NW, Washington, DC -and- Small Carriage Drawn by 3 Horses). Assign the photographs with more subtle differences to uncover to students with higher-ability (Examples: They carry home the tags in all kinds of carts and- Girls, Boys, and Men, polishing, wrapping, and working together).
Step 13 Regroup for discussion. Ask students to share what they found and point out examples of differences from the past in the other photographs. Review with students the vocabulary words past and present.
Step 14 Ask students, Is everything in the present different than it was in the past? Discuss with examples. Guide students to see that while many things changed (clothing, transportation, machines and tools, hobbies, and activities), some aspects of life have not changed too much over time (such as families, pets, and jobs).

Best Practices


Analysis of Student Learning


Students at the Kindergarten/First Grade level often have a hard time grasping abstract concepts in their Social Studies Curriculum. The students that I worked with were just venturing into a unit about Past and Present. Many of them could not even explain the word past at the beginning of the unit, nor could they really understand discussions about time periods of 100 hundred years ago," etc. Use of the primary document photographs (all of which were from about 100 years ago) during this lesson really made the abstract concept come alive. Students were active participants in kinesthetically pointing out things in the photographs that represented a different way of life from what we know today. Students could express their ideas orally, and they also had the chance to sketch pictures of or describe in words the clues they found in the pictures that denoted differences in lifestyles of the past. This drawing option was especially helpful for students in a First Language Support class for English Language Learners. Using pictures with this population of students helped weed out the language barrier. Having the options of drawing or using word descriptions worked well with students who were more comfortable with the English language. By the end of the lesson, due to emphasis on a connection between the vocabulary word past and the elements in the pictures, the students were able to correctly use the word past and give examples of clues they had found independently in the pictures. The differences seemed to come alive to them since they were able to make visual connections between things they know in their own world/lives and the way things were 100 years ago (ex. clothing, houses, jobs, transportation, etc.)


Analysis of Best Instructional Practices (learn more)

Differentiated Instruction Differentiated Instruction (learn more)

Process

Grouping Learners

Literacy Instruction Literacy Instruction(learn more)

Information/Media

Visual

Teaching for Understanding Teaching for Understanding(learn more)

Assessing Understanding

Learners Explain Thinking

Reflections and Recommendations


I actually have done this lesson on more than one occasion. As a Resource Teacher, I have used the lesson in several K-1 classes, several of which had many English Language Learners. In those cases, I continued to give students a chance to express their knowledge orally, with words, and through drawings. I would continue to give these options since it allowed students to demonstrate learning in a way best for them. I did make some changes to the procedure for students who had a better command of the English language. In one first grade classroom, we analyzed many of the pictures together and make an ongoing chart to summarize Things that were different in the past and Things that have stayed the same. In these classes, we were able to have more of a discussion-based lesson. Students were then also able to make the connection that although things were different in the past in America, there are some things that have always been the same (family, people, pets, jobs, etc.). I think that this would be a good extension to add to my original lesson, especially for students who are using this lesson at a more mid-point in the unit and are ready for that analysis. In a couple of classrooms, I had time to implement an application activity after analysis of the photographs. I found small pictures of things from the past and the present (eg: a sketch of a log cabin, and a sketch of a house from the present day). Students were asked to sort these small pictures and glue them onto a two-column chart labeled "Past" and "Present." During this activity, students were able to show what they had learned about differences between the two time periods. In addition, a teacher would be able to control the topics shown through the pictures, which could extend the lesson beyond those things only shown in the pictures (eg: small pictures could show other differences like food, toys, etc.) A final element that I may add to this lesson would be a sharing/presentation facet. I have had students look at the photographs in small groups. This could be even further differentiated by giving different groups of students different photographs based on their background knowledge and critical thinking skills. Then, the groups could prepare a short presentation for the class about the differences they found about life in the past from their photographs.


Credits

Authors and Contributors

Katy Baymiller
Campbell Elementary School, Arlington County Public Schools, Virginia

Library of Congress Items

Library of Congress items used in this Lesson Plan.

Thumbnail Library of Congress Item
Old Way Palmer, F. c1908. Old Way . Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs.
[Small carriage drawn by three horses] / photo by H.L. Bradley, Bar Harbor. Unknown c1903. [Small carriage drawn by three horses] / photo by H.L. Bradley, Bar Harbor. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs.
11th & F, NW, Washington, DC between 1909 and 1932. 11th & F, NW, Washington, DC . Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs, National Photo Company Collection .
Girls, boys and men, polishing and wrapping, working together: morals in glass factory are proverbially bad. Union Stopper Co., Morgantown, W. Va. Several very young girls and many small boys working here. Location: Morgantown, West Virginia. Hine, L. 1908. Girls, boys and men, polishing and wrapping, working together: morals in glass factory are proverbially bad. Union Stopper Co., Morgantown, W. Va. Several very young girls and many small boys working here. Location: Morgantown, West Virginia. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs, National Child Labor Committee Collection .
They carry home the tags in all kinds of carts Hine, L. 1912. They carry home the tags in all kinds of carts. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs, National Child Labor Committee Collection .