Here’s a rough outline of a lesson plan that makes use of a digital tool.
Step 1: Ask students to look at “Mapping 10 Years of Fatal Traffic Accidents.” Zoom in on the Portland Metro area and identify 3 details you notice. Click here.
Step 2: Students read a newspaper article on distracted driving and a new Oregon law that recently went into effect. Click here.
Step 3: Students work in small groups and discuss the following questions: (1) How does Oregon’s new law aim to combat distracted driving crashes and fatalities? (2) Does this law seem reasonable to you? Too strict? Not strict enough? (3) Does this law limit individual freedom and liberty?
This activity could be used as either a written assignment or as a discussion prompt. Depending on grade level, scaffolding may be needed for prompt 3.
Chronicling America and the U.S. News Map site would be useful tools that might allow students to take a more broad view of societal issues during the period in question (1836–1922). I’m thinking that range would be great for a unit on Reconstruction, or racial tensions from the Civil War through civil rights. Students could be presented with the tools and prompted to search relevant vocabulary (perhaps reconstruction, lynching, or confederate) and see who was talking about it and when. This could largely be self-directed (after learning the vocab), with maybe an assignment sheet asking a few open-ended questions about what they learned. This would be a great introduction to historical research.
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The U.S. News Map site is a great tool for searching through news articles on U.S. events up to 1922. This is also a great site for students to develop their skills of analyzing primary source documents. I would design a lesson for students using U.S. News Map by having students search for articles about a specific event. For instance, students can search for articles about the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the U.S. I would require students to find 3 articles and give them a series of scaffolded questions to answer for each article:
- When was the article written? Who wrote it? Where was it written?
- How is the event being written about?
- Summarize the article and give specific details.
After students find 3 articles and answer the subsequent questions, I would have students write a short answer essay about women’s suffrage that includes specific detail from the articles.