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Intro Our Town, 1900 Living without Technology



Prep --

Materials: Card board, boxes, wood pieced, art supplies, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, colored paper, construction paper, hammer, nails, glue, fabric, sewing kits and a computer.

Computer Resources: You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

- Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
- Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
- Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MBs of RAM.
- IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 95 or higher.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

Software Resources:
- Any Word Processing Program (i.e., MS Word, Corel WordPerfect, AppleWorks, etc.)
- Any SpreadSheet Program (i.e. MS Excel, Apple Works, etc.)
- MS PowerPoint or HyperStudio can be used by students to add a multimedia presentation to their final project. For more information on how to use these programs, see wNetSchool's HyperStudio or PowerPoint Tutorials.


Bookmarks: There are more sites available focusing on 20th century technologies. A simple search on the Internet will yield many results. The sites below represent good sources from which a student can begin his or her research. The following sites can be bookmarked, downloaded as a page, or put into a web page for future student research.

Turn-of-the-Century Child at Home home.html

A Victorian Scrapbook

The Transformation of American Society 0,5716,121262+1,00.html

A Middle Class Household vicproj.html

The Library of Congress

The Rise of the Small Towns small-rise.html

Era of Settlers and Emerging Towns 1850-1900 curriculum/soc_studies/text/grade3/ Kent_Hist/kent_histbSaET.html

Urban Population Data history/courses/hist563/data/ urban_population_table.htm

populations of towns SectionVII/Population1756.htm

Historic Towns

Ghost Towns & Back Woods Trails of Chaffee County, Colorado

Ghost Towns

American Railroad Maps, 1828-1900

Natural Environment In The Eastern Kentucky Cultural Landscape coaltowns/ historic_context.htm

A Comparative Chronology of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day

A & C Archive: Companies: Sears Roebuck

20th century Industry

The 20th Century - CNN

The 20th Century - Time

The People's Century

20th Century America

20th Century Issues

Encyclopedia Britannica 0,5716,115400+1,00.html


Steps --

Time allotment: 6 weeks

Assignment: Reconstruct the town in which you live in, as it existed in 1900. Build a model or an computer simulation of the town center, civic center, businesses, buildings, industry, farms, communications, transportation, stores, houses, recreational areas, meeting places, markets and maps.

  1. Brainstorm the make up of the town in the 1900šs: including: the people of the town, jobs that make up a community, buildings, design and industry that

  2. Have class discussions about how the town was different in 1900 versus today.

  3. Break students up into groups. Hand out a research Web guide. Assign a different segment of the community to each group. Have students research a specific portion of the town. Students can use the Town Questionnaire to help them formulate their portion of the town.

  4. Have student design their portion of the community using art and construction tools.

  5. Have a town opening. Have each student take on the role of a different member of the community, including: bakers, bankers, farmers, politicians, servants, children, parents, etc.


Tips --

Teachers using computers: Teachers need to access at least one computer either in their classroom or in a lab.

Computer in the Classroom: If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, and other materials from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer, in order to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places.

If you have big monitor or projection facilities: you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

Several Computers in the Classroom: Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites. You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

Using a Computer Lab: A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

Extended Activities:
Note: Activities and challenges can be adjusted for all grades, Kindergarten through 12th. Activities and challenges can also be presented as a research paper, web site, hypermedia stack or oral presentation.

  1. Interview with an elderly person who has lived in your area most of their lives. Ask the following questions and create a book, report, poster board, presentation, video or multimedia program diagramming their life in your town:

    - What changes have you witnessed over the years?
    - What changes have been for the good of the community? Why?
    - What changes have been bad, in your opinion? Why?
    - What are some of the yearly events that you look forward to attending?
    - Are there annual events that used to take place in your town that no longer happen? Why not?
    - What are your fondest childhood memories of your town?
    - What are the benefits of spending most or all of your life in the same town? What are the downsides?
    - If you had your whole life to live over, would you live in this town?

  2. Hold a town meeting, event or party with each of the original founders of the town. Students can take on the personality of each character and dress up in original clothing. Food from the 1900's can be served, music from the turn of the century played, and a script written and acted out. Invite family members and friends to enjoy the students work on display.

  1. Using a line or bar graph, illustrate the population of your town every ten years beginning from 1900. If there were major population increases or decreases during the last 100 years, find out what changed in your town to make a significant difference in population.

  2. Design a chart showing pictures and biographical information about the mayors of your town since 1900.

  3. Draw a large map of the town in 1900 and then in 2000. Compare the two as a group discussion.

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