Lesson Plan Title:How to Learn About Your Community and Heritage

Objectives: (Grade 4)

The student will understand how everyone has history and can be a historian.

The student will gather, examine and predict information about life during earlier times from various primary sources.

The student will use his or her own community as a primary source to learn about the community and his or her own heritage.

The student will use good interview skills to gain information from resource persons.

The student will use research skills to collect data about the community.

The student will analyze the collected data to hypothesize about the community's past, present and future.

The student will report his or her new learning about the community and/or personal heritage using an appropriate presentation mode.


Materials: examples of artifacts and primary sources (early maps, photographs, diaries, etc.); Data Collection Sheet, Cemetery Question Cards.


1. Lesson - Follow the steps described on Primary Sources - Learning About Your Community and Heritage: a) being a history detective; b) everyone has history; c) primary sources. (Note: Click on link for detailed information-Reference &Teacher Pages).

2. Teacher finds resources person(s) by contacting local historical societies, senior citizen centers, or by sending a letter addressed to the students' parents, grandparents and long-time residents.

3. Teacher helps students prepare interview questions. For sample questions, link to oral history site- http://www.rootsweb.com/~genepool/oralhist.htm

4. Resource Person(s) visit class- a) give story/information about local history; b) students interview the resource person.

5. Prepare students for field trip- a) provide background information about the places to be visited; b) model use of observation and inquiry skills; c) read, then compare/contrast early and modern maps of the community; d) students prepare questions for the resource persons they will meet on the field trip; e) review procedures for the trip.

6. Field trip to historic and governmental sites within the attendance area of the school.

Internet Sites:


URL: http://members.aol.com/oldmapsetc/penn.html -- Old maps, prints, and articles of historical and genealogical interest from Pennsylvania can be ordered here.

URL: http://www.ametekusg.com/index.htm -- U.S. Gage - a Present Industry

URL: http://gvh.org -- GrandView Hospital Web Site

URL: http://findagrave.com/ -- Resource to find locations and photos of graves

URL: http://www.livingplaces.com/COMMUNITIES/WestRockhillTwp.html

URL: http://www.livingplaces.com/COMMUNITIES/SellersvilleBoro.html

URL: http://www.enter.net/~sellersville/ -- Borough Web Site - has history of Sellersville
URL: http://tqd.advanced.org/3615/tour.html - virtual Tour of a California Mission, used to show students an example of a virtual tour.

Links for Walter Baum

URL: http://www.bciu.k12.pa.us/michener/bios/baumbio.html

URL: http://www.netins.net/showcase/sellerfamily/200yrs.htm - includes some history of Sellersville

Student Web Work Procedure - After the field trip- a) Visit online sites that contain information about the community and/or relevant links to gain additional information and to check the information gathered during the trip; b) students draw conclusions about their community- its history, heritage, changes and government from the data collected; c) small groups of students continue research, then draw conclusions based on their findings on a specific topic about their community such as: early history, how the community is changing, local government and its services, famous persons who lived in the community, jobs, etc.; d) students decide how they will present their findings- written, oral, visual, electronic, etc.

Outcomes -

1. Students present their reports to their classmates, parents and (possibly) to civic and local business groups.

2. Optional- Revise or enhance school or community websites with new information discovered during student research, either while on the field trip or during class time.

Assessment and Evaluation