What does childhood reveal about a culture?Overview
This lesson contains primary source documents,
grouped by a thematic topic for study. They provide historical understanding of American history during the early nineteenth century. During this time of expansion and reform, these personal records reveal the values and culture that shaped our history, promote historical thinking, and stimulate class discussion, debate, and writing.
All of the documents are from the New England area and provide information about childhood between 1790 - 1840.
- Teachers can effectively incorporate them into a lesson or create new lessons around them. Each primary source document is accompanied by a headnote that provides information pertinent to the document.
- A historical background paper, included with the Papers and Articles, provides some additional information and context for the selected documents.
- Additional Teacher Resources articles and an Activity Sheet are included to assist teachers and students using these materials.
- A curriculum introducing primary sources is available as a Unit Plan.
Students will utilize the following skills:
- Interpret and analyze primary source documents
- Compare and contrast childhood today with that of the past
- Develop research skills
Upper Elementary, Middle, High SchoolInternet Resources
For related information and activities visit the Kids Club.
- Secondary Source
- Books and articles about the past, based on primary sources, that were written by people who were not present at the time of the event. A biography is a secondary source whereas an autobiography is a primary source.
- Primary Source
- Original records that have survived from the past, such as written documents, pictures, physical objects, oral histories or memories created at or near the time of the event.
- Evaluating Data
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
- Applying Knowledge
- Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- Understanding the Human Experience
- Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
- Reading for Perspective
- Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- Developing Research Skills
- Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
- Understands United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected relations with external powers and Native Americans.
- Understands how the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions.
- Understands the extension, restriction, and reorganization of political democracy after 1800.
- Understands the sources and character of cultural, religious, and social reform movements in the antebellum period.
- Living and Working Together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago
- Understands family life now and in the past, and family life in various places long ago.
- Understands the history of the local community and how communities in North America varied long ago.
- The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
- Understands how democratic values came to be, and how they have been exemplified by people, events, and symbols.
- Understands the causes and nature of movements of large groups of people into and within the United States, now and long ago.
- Understands the folklore and other cultural contributions from various regions of the United States and how they helped to form a national heritage.
- The History of Peoples of Many Cultures Around the World
- Understands selected attributes and historical developments of societies in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.
- Understands major discoveries in science and technology, some of their social and economic effects, and the major scientists and inventors responsible for them.