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Overview


Subject/Sub-Subject: Social Studies/U.S. History


Title: Comparison of Colonial Life and Today


Summary:

Students compare images of colonial communication, farming, kitchen, bedroom, and library with modern life.


Understanding Goal

The way people live has changed over time.

Investigative Question

How can primary resources help us understand differences between the way the colonists lived their lives and the way we live our lives today?

Grade(s): 2, preK
Audience: General
Learners: Classes of second grade students with a wide range of abilities.
Required Vocabulary: N/A
Prior Content Knowledge: N/A
Standards

K.2 The student will describe everyday life in the present and in the past and begin to recognize that things change over time.
1.1 The student will interpret information presented in picture time lines to show sequence of events and will distinguish between past and present.
2.3 The student will identify and compare changes in community life over time in terms of buildings, jobs, transportation, and population.

Field Tests

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


Sources

Comparison of Colonial Life and Today

Understanding Goal

The way people live has changed over time.

Click on an image for more information.

Slideshow Icon View as a slideshow
Fireplace in the kitchen at Mt. Vernon Life of George Washington--The farmer / painted by Stearns ; lith. by Rgnier, imp. Lemercier, Paris Levi Bowen to George Washington, September 7, 1775 (Image 1) [Library at Mount Vernon]
Charlottesville, Virginia. Bedroom of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776 / J.L.G. Ferris Reading the Declaration of Independence by John Nixon, from the steps of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, July 8, 1776 / drawn by E.A. Abbey A New England kitchen. A hundred years ago / H. W. P.

Required Materials


Directions

Formal Assessment

Step 1 Ask the students to brainstorm and verbally share details about colonial life.
Step 2 Explain that the students will look at prints from the Library of Congress which show colonial life and that they will compare those images with modern life. Let students know that these pictures were not taken during colonial times, but that the pictures will help us infer what life may have been like.
Step 3 Project images of colonial life (New England kitchen, kitchen at Mt. Vernon, bedroom at Monticello, library at Mt. Vernon, drafting and gathering to hear the Declaration of Independence, and farming at Mt. Vernon.) Ask students to point out details for each image, comparing and contrasting the details with life today.
Step 4 Ask each student to choose one image which they would like to compare with modern life. Give each student the chosen image and a large sheet of manila or construction paper.
Step 5 Have the students glue their image onto the left side of the paper and draw a comparable scene of life today on the right side of the paper.
Step 6 Students who finish quickly can make a list of the differences they have shown in their drawing.
Step 7 Students verbally share one difference between colonial life and modern life as depicted on their drawings.

Best Practices


Analysis of Student Learning


Through art and words, students demonstrated their understanding of major differences between colonial lives and theirs. They pointed out the lack of electricity for today's appliances and fixtures such as lamps, stoves, refrigerators, etc. They observed differences in writing aids (computers vs. quill pens) and communication (town crier gatherings vs. newspapers, radios, TV, e-mail, etc.) They demonstrated an understanding of differences in farming.


Analysis of Best Instructional Practices (learn more)

Differentiated Instruction Differentiated Instruction (learn more)

Product

Teaching for Understanding Teaching for Understanding(learn more)

Explicit Understanding Goal

Check Misconceptions

Assessing Understanding

Learners Explain Thinking

Technology Integration Technology Integration(learn more)

Content Presented

Reflections and Recommendations


It was difficult to find prints of some of the areas of colonial life that would be relevant to the students - school, games, transportation, clothing, etc. - but I would like to locate them to include in the discussions and choices of scenes to compare. Showing the prints using a data projector and SmartBoard resulted in larger images for the children to discuss, but some of the prints looked darker when projected.


Credits

Authors and Contributors

Pam Freer
Bush Hill Elementary School, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia
Barbara Murphy
Bush Hill Elementary School, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia

Library of Congress Items

Library of Congress items used in this Lesson Plan.

Thumbnail Library of Congress Item
Fireplace in the kitchen at Mt. Vernon unknown c1903. Fireplace in the kitchen at Mt. Vernon. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs.
Life of George Washington--The farmer / painted by Stearns ; lith. by Rgnier, imp. Lemercier, Paris Stearns, Junius Brutus (1853). Life of George Washington--The farmer / painted by Stearns ; lith. by Rgnier, imp. Lemercier, Paris. Library of Congress: American Memory, By Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies, 1789-Present.
Levi Bowen to George Washington, September 7, 1775 (Image 1) Bowen, L. 1775. Levi Bowen to George Washington, September 7, 1775 (Image 1). Library of Congress: American Memory, George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799 .
[Library at Mount Vernon]
Unknown. 1909-1932. [Library at Mount Vernon] . Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs.
Charlottesville, Virginia. Bedroom of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello Collier, J. 1943. Charlottesville, Virginia. Bedroom of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection.
Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776 / J.L.G. Ferris Ferris, J.L.G. c1932. Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776 / J.L.G. Ferris. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs.
Reading the Declaration of Independence by John Nixon, from the steps of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, July 8, 1776 / drawn by E.A. Abbey Abbey, E. A. 1876. Reading the Declaration of Independence by John Nixon, from the steps of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, July 8, 1776 / drawn by E.A. Abbey. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs.
A New England kitchen. A hundred years ago / H. W. P. Unknown. c1876. A New England kitchen. A hundred years ago / H. W. P. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs.