When Missoula was Young:
Engaging Students in the Living History of their Community
What do the following people have in common?
- The first woman representative elected to the U.S. Congress.
- A revered Salish leader who was forcibly removed from her tribal homeland to an Indian reservation.
- A racecar driver, mechanic, inventor, and rancher who played a principal role in the development of a city airport.
- A homesteader whose farm has been preserved by a city as a community treasure.
Third graders will be given this challenge to discover the identities of these and other ordinary and extraordinary individuals who were children in 1883 when Missoula, Montana officially became a town. Thinking and acting like historical researchers, students will use primary sources to reconstruct life in their community in 1883 through the eyes of children living at that time. They will work with high school social studies and video production students to create a final video that will become a story map of their subject’s life.
In this place-based project, third graders will deepen their understanding of local history through exciting and exploratory investigations that engage them in the learning process while working with high school students in the areas of social studies and video production. After visiting local historic sites, examining photos, family histories, letters and diaries, creating photos, video, and GPS data, and conducting interviews, students will share their learning with other students and members of the community through multi-media photo stories that will be linked to the Missoula city cemetery web site. Finally, they will create Google Earth Place Tours that will become a story map of their subject’s life.
Goals and Objectives
· Engage students in innovative practices that integrate inquiry and place-based learning, higher order thinking skills, community resources, and the use of supportive technologies in the context of core academic subjects while working with high school students in the areas of social studies and video production.
· Instill in young people that historical figures were, in fact, living, breathing human beings who started their lives just like them.
- Students will use primary sources to investigate life in their community in 1883.
- Students will describe the cultural traditions and contributions of the people of the Missoula Valley.
- Students will share their learning with other students and members of the community through digital storytelling.