Living in the Past
Social Studies Activity
In this activity, students research family life of long ago and present their
findings in a variety of ways.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Resource materials
- Writing and drawing supplies
WHAT TO DO
- Have students form "family" groups. Then ask each group to choose a time
in the near or distant past when their family settled in America. They also
need to choose a country of origin. Each member of a group then assumes the
identity of one member of the family. (A choice need not depend on the gender
of the student.)
- Students research their choices and make a presentation about their lives.
Examples of presentations:
- Journal pages of each family member over a certain number of days
- A family album that includes drawings of family members in authentic
clothes, views of their home (inside and out), a simple map of the town
- A series of letters home to the family's country of origin
- A dramatization of a family, school, or work situation -- something such
as a family dinner or the family preparing to go to a fair.
- Whatever the presentation, students should try to include information
about as many of these aspects of life as they can:
- Household chores
- Recreation (games, sports, etc.)
- The geography of the area
- Any significant social events (wars, a gold rush, homesteading, the
Emancipation Proclamation, the Great Depression)
Students may enjoy sharing their presentations with other classes. As part
of the presentation, have students do historical role-playing in costume. If
possible, students talk about their lives and answer questions about it,
always staying in character.
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