Very excited about today. I am substitute teaching in a third grade class at an International Baccalaureate School. I happened to come in right at the beginning of their Unit of Inquiry on Ancestors. Here are the key points of this Unit, under the umbrella theme, Who We Are:
Central Idea: By studying their family heritage, people can learn about their history, traditions, and customs.
Lines of Inquiry:
I've got a 1914 cookbook, a marriage license application notice, a diary from 1914-15, a photograph of an individual, an old map of Washington DC, a receipt for purchase of a Ford pickup (1928), and a report card from 1910 to share with 3rd grade students today.
These artifacts serve as illustrations of how family story can change the narrative of an individual's life, and a glimpse into the past as we dig into work about Ancestors. Now I'd better make a good lunch! We've got lots to explore today.
**Update with learning outcomes:
Here are some of the items we worked with when I visited 3rd grade. Diaries hold an endless fascination with all these guys, and I heard many stories about reading siblings' private thoughts. Yikes!
Mostly, though, we talked about family stories, our responsibility to look for the truth if we can, and places to find primary source materials to confirm that truth. Their examples of where to find primary sources: archaeology, museums, libraries, and families.
Responsibility and perspective are tough concepts for 3rd graders to wrap their heads around in this context, and we did great work exploring these ideas. It was also fun to find out that University of Washington beat Washington State 40-0 in 1936 by reading Kate Stein's diary.
While working on bringing some more visual content to the site, we've been digging around in maps archives.
We'll be adding some map and image resources to our Resource page soon, but for now, you can check out the wonderful Public Domain maps in the Washington State University Digital Collections.
Of course our favorites are the Early Washington maps, but there are many images to explore here, and the search feature is easy to use, with good relevance.
Some patience might be needed for younger students following through the albums, but with assistance they should be able to find and easily cite materials.
In our History Mystery post, I shared photos and thoughts about a boat I saw in our local boatyard, then posed questions about where our readers might look for answers about the boat's history online, as an exercise in research.
My own next step was to head to the local marina office which manages the yard where the boat was stored to look for answers. Before I got a chance, an article appeared in the Port of Everett’s marina newsletter, and our mystery was solved.
The Pt. Defiance is a 60 foot wooden-hulled purse seiner, built 100 years ago. It sank here at the Port of Everett in October, 2014. Following the story further, I found connection to our very first blog post, History in Your Neighborhood, highlighting the Everett waterfront's history.
Visit the Historic Everett waterfront site for more information about the vibrant lumber, commercial fishing, and boatbuilding history of Everett, Washington, including the history of the Pt. Defiance and her captains, Vince and Butch Barcott.
You can also find an overview and timeline of each of these industries on the site.
Check it out!