Objectives: Developing skills in the construction
of narrative and the interrogation of textual, visual and oral evidence.
Promoting student-centered collaborative inquiry. Using search engines
to build hypertext trails of knowledge.
Activity (55 minutes total):
Step One (Ten Minutes). Working as an individual, briefly
review the directions for this activity. Then, examine the two photos.
Write a few paragraphs explaining what you see. Your writing can
take the form of a story, poem or historical comment. Be prepared
to share your writing with your partner.
You will work individually and with a partner, and then share and
discuss what you did with a larger group.
Step Two (Ten Minutes). Share your writing with your partner.
Then collaborate to list what you observed in the two photos and
what hypotheses you might draw from those observations and whatever
prior knowledge you bring to the task. Create a brainstorming list
about what else you need to find out in order to explain and put
the photos in some meaningful context.
Step Three (Five Minutes). Working with your partner, go
to the Archives of the West/ Episode Seven website to quickly locate
and identify the images: http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/seven
Step Four (Twenty Minutes). Create a division of labor
with your partner for the following task. Split up and use the tools
listed below to gather primary and secondary sources (in text, images
and audio) that help you situate and understand the two photos.
As you explore, gather documents (text documents, images and/or
oral histories) to share with your partner. You can use one of these
as start points:
- Selected documents from the History Matters website <http://historymatters.gmu.edu/>
Chief, I Just Loved That School
Goodbird, The White Man's Road is Easier
Childers, "All That is Passed Away" : A Young Indian
Praises U.S. Government Policy Policy in the Late Nineteenth
- Five Documents on the HIS 125 Web Pages
Elk, He is Not One of Us
Wolf, None of Us Wanted to Go
Standing Bear, Back to the Blanket
Lady Horse, There was War between the Buffalo and the White
Pratt, Kill the Indian, Save the Man
Arthur, To Introduce Among the Indians the Customs and Pursuits
of Civilized Life
Progress (text document)
- (Optional) Look at documents and images in Archives
of the West/ Episode Seven website).
Step Five (Ten Minutes). Meet with your partner to share
your findings. Together, try to pick three documents at least
one text, and one image (and if you choose, one audio) that
you think will best add context and meaning to your initial reaction
to the photographs. Think about how you chose the three documents
and how each of you might re-write your initial story, poem or historical
analysis to add meaning to the photos. Be prepared to briefly share
your documents and your thoughts with others.
Small Group Discussion (Forty Minutes)
Gather with others who did this activity. Take turns briefly sharing
your presentations. Then reflect on and discuss this activity with
group, using the following sets of questions as prompts. At the
end of this time, prepare one member of the group to share some
of your thoughts with the larger group.
1. What could students learn from this activity about Native American
history in the late 19th century? What other kinds of writing or
presentation outcomes could this activity support?
2. What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the activity?
Is it a good vehicle for developing student skills in inquiry, the
exploration of primary sources, and the construction of historical
3. How would you describe the pedagogy that informs this activity?
What aspects of the activity help to make it effective? What skills
and modes of thinking does this activity support? Do the electronic
materials being engaged suit the assignment's pedagogy and methodological
goals? What can we learn from this activity about the kinds of inquiry
assignments that work best when using new media resources?
4. How does the inquiry approach used in this activity compare
with inquiry approaches you have used in your classes? Would you
assign an activity like this one -- or some variation of it -- in
one of your classes? What is similar? Different? In your experience,
what are the advantages and disadvantages of inquiry leaning? Where
does it fit in the repertoire of teaching in your field?