Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Introduction -Link Before You Watch - link Lectures and Activities - Link Classroom and Applications

Workshop 5
Classroom Applications

Reflect on how you teach the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and technological development of the late 19th century in your classroom. How would you teach it differently with primary sources?

Now consider these lesson ideas contributed by Primary Sources teachers:

Image of Eugenia Rolla

Futurist Predictions from 1893 America
Contributed by Eugenia Rolla

This lesson focuses on the following questions:


How did Americans in 1893 view America as it was then?


How did Americans in 1893 view the future of America?


How accurate were their predictions?

For this lesson, I split my students into five to six groups. Each group read two to four essays from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The groups then recreated each author's worldview in an oral summary to the class. As a whole class, we identified the common denominators among the predictions and assessed to what extent they came true.

Finally, each group came up with 10 predictions for America in the year 2100. They listed their predictions on newsprint, and we compared and contrasted them with the primary sources. Many students were surprised to find a number of similarities.

The lesson worked extremely well, and the students' response was tremendous. It was truly the nature of the documents that drove the lesson and heightened student interest.

Image of Ron Adams

"How can we bring these documents to our students in an understandable way? How can we make them user-friendly? With other teachers we've discussed ways, and researchers have offered us methods. Make it a puzzle; make it a game; make it a challenge."
— Ron Adams

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