On the PBS show History Detectives, experts solve mysteries from the past using modern research methods. Teach your students to think like the history-mystery detectives with these lessons for Visiting a Historical Site. Appropriate for grades 7-12, the lessons provide step-by-step instructions for research before a visit to a historical site, procedures during the visit, and the creation of a poem based on the visit.
history, field trip, research methods, poetry
Lesson PlanThis three-lesson unit about Visiting a Historical Site provides students with an appreciation of the level of research conducted by social scientists as they examine a historical site.
In lesson one, students work in groups to research the history of the site, the history of the people who lived there, the site's most important historical period, and how the site became historically important, and then to create a PowerPoint presentation about it.
In lesson two, groups combine their research to create a scavenger hunt that will be used during a visit to the site. During the field trip, students listen to any guides or tours, then work in small groups to complete the scavenger hunt.
In lesson three, students choose (or are assigned) the name of a person who would have been present at the historical site. (It's recommended that students choose a person who would not have been famous.) Then, using facts gathered on the scavenger hunt, each student writes a 10-to-15-line poem from that person's perspective. Students peer edit their poems and share them with the class.
These lessons should take approximately six class periods to complete: 2-3 periods for the research and PowerPoint presentation; 1 period for the field trip; and 2 periods to write and present the poems. The PBS Web site Visiting a Historical Site contains in-depth steps for each lesson, as well as MCREL standards.
AssessmentStudents will be assessed on their
Lesson Plan Source
SOCIAL SCIENCES: U.S. History
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12.1 Era 1: Three Worlds Meet (Beginnings to 1620)
NSS-USH.5-12.2 Era 2: Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)
NSS-USH.5-12.3 Era 3: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
NSS-USH.5-12.4 Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
NSS-USH.5-12.5 Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
NSS-USH.5-12.6 Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)
NSS-USH.5-12.7 Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)
NSS-USH.5-12.8 Era 8: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
NSS-USH.5-12.9 Era 9: Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)
NSS-USH.5-12.10 Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present)
SOCIAL SCIENCES: World History