Students learn about the historical relevance of specific historical sites and the importance of preserving these sites.
Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed; Boston’s Old State House, where the Boston Massacre and the American Revolution began; Washington D.C.’s National Mall, where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech; Virginia’s Jamestown settlement, the country’s first colony; Charleston’s Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired; New York’s Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants were introduced to their new home. All of these sites, significant to America’s history, can be visited, toured, and admired. While visiting one of the many historical sites around the country, consider the importance in preserving these sites.
BEFORE YOU GO• Explore students’ prior knowledge about the specific historic event. Share this information with the class. Together compile of list of questions the students will try to find answers to while touring the historic site.
• Review relevant vocabulary and key terms: significant, landmark, preservation, historic
• Call ahead/research online for maps and information about the historic site and the historic event that took place there.
WHAT TO WONDER
Questions to ask staff: What happened here? When did it happen? Why did it happen? Why is this event historically significant?
Describe the landmark or monument present at the site. What does it look like?
Observe the scenery at the site. What parts or areas have been preserved since the event took place?
Opinion: Do you think this site is worthy of being preserved as a historic site? Why or why not?
Compare seeing this site in person to looking at pictures of it online or reading about it in your textbook.
Challenge: Be a historical detective! How do experts/historians know that something happened at this site? What clues have been left behind?
Discuss the historical relevance of the event that took place at this site. How is it connected to other events in history?
Project: Choose a site from your past as your own historic site. Create a monument commemorating the event that took place there.
Research how this historic site is being preserved.
Social Impact: Write a letter to a government official persuading him/her to have a specific landmark or memorial erected at a historic site.