Research & Investigation Project (RIP): A Grave Undertaking
Lesson 3: A Walk Through the Past
Social Studies: 2-3 class periods
English: 1 class period
top of page
|Key Content Ideas Taught in this Lesson and Teacher Background
Social Studies: By learning to "read" and analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources carefully and critically, we can learn a great deal about the lives of our research subjects. Each individual source reveals a different type, quantity, and quality of information. When we combine what we have learned from multiple sources, we can expand our knowledge of our research subjects and make logical and defensible hypotheses about the social life and cultural attitudes of Deerfield from 1780 to 1880.
English (same as in lesson 2): Many great American writers such as Emerson, Thoreau, Wheatley, and Poe lived during this age. Their writings help to define American Literature and had a profound influence on the thinking of the day. Their use of language and the topics about which they wrote reflect many of the experiences, attitudes, values, and ideas of the people of their times.
top of page
|Intended Learning Outcomes
Students will understand:
- that primary and secondary sources are rich sources of information about the past.
- that mourning art took many forms, in addition to gravestones.
- that needlework was a common means of creating mourning art.
- that tombstone carvings and mourning art stitchery are mediums for expression of attitudes toward death.
- how tombstone carvings and mourning art stitchery changed over time.
- read "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, and understand Poe's use of poetic language, metaphor, and other tools he used to create dramatic tension.
- learn about Poe's biography and understand how his life may have influenced his art.
- understand and be able to identify the ways in which Poe's writings reveal clues about the times in which he wrote.
Students will be able to:
- read and understand a variety of primary and secondary sources, extract factual information and infer from them understandings about an individual's social status and family.
- develop reasonable and defensible hypotheses about some aspects of social life.
- recognize metaphorical language, rhyme scheme, heroic couplets, and iambic pentameter in "The Raven" of Edgar Allan Poe.
- handle cutting tools safely and effectively
- design and create family registers or models of tombstones.
- identify the symbolic elements of needlework mourning art.
top of page
|In Preparation for Teaching
1. Review Teacher Background Essay: Primary and Secondary Sources.
2. Print out the Student Background Essay: Primary Source Analysis for the students.
3. Print out the Worksheet: Basic Questions for the students.
4. Print out and review the Research Techniques page and the documents about Dr. William Stoddard Williams and make copies of the documents for each team.
5. Print out Reading and Analyzing Background Information Using Primary and Secondary Sources worksheet to distribute to the class.
6. Print out the Vocabulary Sheet to distribute to the class.
top of page
- Documents about Dr. William Stoddard Williams found on the Research Techniques page.
- "The Raven" poem
- Student Background Essay: Primary Source Analysis
- Teacher Background Essay: Primary and Secondary Sources
- Worksheet: Basic Questions
- Instructions for Using the "Reading and Analyzing Background Information Using Primary and Secondary Sources" sheet
- Reading and Analyzing Background Information Using Primary and Secondary Sources
- *Sheldon, George, A History of Deerfield Massachusetts, Volume II, (facsimile of the 1895-96 edition), Deerfield, Mass: Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 1983, p. 383. (in Digital Collection)
- *McGowan, Susan and Amelia Miller, Family and Landscape: Deerfield Homelots from 1671, Deerfield, Mass: Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 1996. (or use information on the Research Subjects page)
- Vocabulary Sheet
- Biographical information on Poe
- Worksheet: Poetry and Hymns from Lesson 2
- *optional- video of "The Simpsons" version of "The Raven," commercially available (no activities included for it in this lesson)
- Directions for Carving Gravestone Models
- Directions for Embroidery
- *Chisels and other simple carving tools
- *graph-paper for design of needlework
- *scraps of pine boards- approx. size: 8" x 14" x 1"
- *optional- paint for pine board gravestone models
- *needlework supplies: needles, embroidery hoops, floss, Aida cloth (14 or 18 count), scissors, self-closing plastic bags for embroidery project storage
- Alphabet Samples for Cross Stitch Embroidery
*not provided with this unit
top of page
||Materials in Context
Activity 1: Social Studies
Analyzing Primary and Secondary Sources Using Dr. William Stoddard Williams as an Example
A. Distribute and discuss the Student Background Essay: Primary Source Analysis (using Teacher Background Essay: Primary and Secondary Sources for background information.)
B. Organize students into their research teams.
C. Distribute Worksheet: Basic Questions and the Research Techniques page and the Dr. William Stoddard Williams material to each team.
D. Lead a class discussion using the Research Techniques as a guide to explore the documents.
E. Break the students into their teams and distribute Reading and Analyzing Background Information Using Primary and Secondary Sources to each student.
F. Have the students distribute the William Stoddard Williams documents among themselves and each student answer the questions on the Reading and Analyzing Background Information Using Primary and Secondary Sources worksheet so that each person is reading, analyzing, and answering questions about different documents.
G. Have the students then fill in the "Reading and Analyzing Background Information Using Primary and Secondary Sources" worksheet. Go over the instructions on the worksheet and remind students that they will probably not be able to answer every question - historians seldom can. Explain that they will need to read the documents carefully and answer the questions on the worksheet. Encourage students to use other sources (reference books, textbooks, web sites, etc.) to answer questions that the documents don't cover.
H. Hand out and go over the Vocabulary Sheet.
I. Encourage students to discuss their findings with their teammates.
J. Explain that when each person is finished, you will give each team a clean copy of the worksheet.
K. Ask team members to consolidate all of the information from their documentary research onto the new worksheet, and try to "flesh out" more of the questions. Encourage students to:
- Discuss their primary and secondary sources and combine what they have learned to answer the questions.
- Use what they already know about the time period and their research subject to help them complete the worksheet. Encourage students to use other sources (reference books, text books, web sites, etc.) to answer questions.
- Add any information about Williams that they read in Sheldon and McGowan/Miller.
J. Discuss the research process and findings. Inform students that they will be receiving packets of documents about their historical people, and will use those sources, A History of Deerfield, Family and Landscape, (or the Digital Collection and the Research Subjects Page) and information from their "Cemetery Research Organizers" to explore the lives of their research subjects.
top of page
Student Background Essay: Primary Source Analysis
Teacher Background Essay: Primary and Secondary Sources
Worksheet: Basic Questions
Reading and Analyzing Background Information Using Primary and Secondary Sources
Digital Collection and the Research Subjects page
Activity 2: English Class
A Look at Some Literature of the Period
A. Explain and discuss the essential elements of Edgar Allan Poe's biography.
B. Distribute copies of "The Raven." Ask students to read the poem aloud and discuss rhyme scheme, heroic couplets, and use of metaphor. Ask them to look for clues within the poem about the time in which Poe was writing. In particular they should note different and old-fashioned words and descriptions of surroundings.
C. Distribute the "Poetry and Hymns Worksheet/Note Sheet."
D. Instruct students to work in small groups to complete the worksheet for "The Raven."
E. Complete worksheet for homework, if necessary.
top of page
Biographical information on Poe
Worksheet: Poetry and Hymns
Activity 3: Social Studies
Mourning Art Through the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Each student should produce one piece of mourning art. Their choices are:
- Gravestone model - carved on a pine board
- Embroidered family register
1. Review each project.
2. Distribute the appropriate directions to students.
3. Distribute a sample of a family register. Discuss briefly their manufacture, popularity and use.
4. Demonstrate proper use of the woodworking tools and proper technique for carving.
5. Distribute tools and materials for the projects.
top of page
Directions for Carving Gravestone Models
Directions for Embroidery
Alphabet Samples for Cross Stitch Embroidery