Preparation for Teachers
Prior to teaching this lesson, bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom. Load the RealPlayer plug-in from http://www.real.com onto each computer. Familiarize yourself with the content of each Web site, and the navigation of the Fred Hulstrand site. Duplicate the student handouts.
When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of Web sites or other multimedia elements.
Step 1. Ask your students if they have watched any of the recent "reality-based" television shows. What shows can they name? What shows (if any) do they find particularly enjoyable? Why do they think people enjoy watching these shows? What do these shows offer that "traditional" television lacks? Why do people apply to be on the shows, and how are they selected?
(Student responses will vary.)
Step 2. Explain to your students that for the next few days, you will be pursuing a lesson that focuses on a specific reality-based television show. Based on information about the show and its environment, and the knowledge they will develop about the selection process, they will create the ideal participant application.
Explain to your students that the show, titled FRONTIER HOUSE, puts participants in the conditions that faced pioneers in the year 1883 for a period of five months. In order to create a winning application, they will have to investigate the conditions and lifestyles that the show will be seeking to recreate.
Step 3. Distribute the "Do You Wanna Be In Pictures?" Web Focus Sheet to your students. Explain to your students that they will be examining some online primary source documents about homesteaders in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and that they will need to complete the information on the sheet.
Divide your students into four groups, and assign one of the following topics to each group: Schooling, Women, Sod Homes, and Immigrants. Explain to your students that they will first be looking at a collection of photographs that was taken between 1880 and 1920 in the northern Great Plains.
Step 4. Ask your students to log on to the Fred Hulstrand Collection Web site at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/ndfahtml/hult_home.html. Midway down the page, they will see a line which reads "SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: SCHOOLING, WOMEN, SOD HOMES, IMMIGRANTS." Ask each group to click on their assigned topic.
On the next page at the top, there will be a heading that reads "SEARCH ON." This heading is followed by a variety of subtopics. Students can click on each of the subtopics and they will then see a listing of photograph titles. By clicking on the titles, students will see individual photographs.
Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to look at the photographs assigned to their group, and to complete the information on the first half of their Web Focus Sheet. Remind students that it is not necessary to look at every photograph; by looking at a dozen or so they should be able to answer the questions on the Web Focus Sheet.
Step 5. Give your students 10-15 minutes to examine the photographs on the Web site and complete their Web Focus Sheets. After your students have completed their task, check for comprehension. Ask your students:
What did you notice about the location and environment in which these photographs were taken?
What descriptive terms would you use to describe the location and environment?
(Student responses will vary; the photographs were taken in the northern plains, mostly in North Dakota, on vast, expansive prairies).
What did you notice about the people in these photographs? What descriptive terms would you use to describe the people?
(Student responses will vary; the photographs depict early settlers in the area, who are not terribly photogenic by modern standards).
What differences did you notice between the people and places shown in the photographs and today's world?
(Student responses will vary; the photographs illustrate the nineteenth and early twentieth century rural world).
What qualities or characteristics do you think people would need to succeed in this environment?
(Student responses will vary; guide students to realize that people would have needed to be adaptable, dedicated, stubborn, etc.) Do people still have these qualities? Ask your students to provide examples.
Step 6. Remind your students that during FRONTIER HOUSE, participants were asked to live like the people depicted in the photographs they have been examining. Would your students want to try it? Why or why not? (Student responses will vary). Tell them that they may want to complete a little more research before they make a decision.
Step 7. Divide your students into two groups. Ask one group to log on to the FRONTIER HOUSE historical essay "The Little Old Shanty on the Claim." Ask the other group to log on to the FRONTIER HOUSE historical essay "It Is Very Aristocratic To Have a Bed At All."
Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to read the essay, and record the necessary information on the second half of their Web Focus Sheet.
Step 8. Give your students 15-20 minutes to read the essay, then ask them to share some of the facts they learned about living conditions on the frontier. Were they surprised? Why or why not? Would it be easy or difficult to live on the frontier? Would any students still be willing to go?
(Student responses will vary.)
Step 9. Tell your students that during the next class period, they will be examining the actual FRONTIER HOUSE participant selection process, and creating a "perfect family" to apply for the show.