Monday, September 5, 2011

Monuments as a Teaching Tool

This summer at the Primary Source Institute the idea of using monuments as a mechanism for teaching about history was presented. I decided to incorporate this idea into the lesson plan I am creating on the U.S. conflicts with the Native Americans in the nineteenth century. For the first three days of the lesson students will learn about and analyze the various conflicts. Seeing that these conflicts are viewed quite differently than they were in the nineteenth century I thought students could examine these different perspectives by developing memorials for the last two days of the lesson. This activity will also help the students put themselves into the shoes of the people involved in these conflicts.

The students will be divided into four groups. Each group will create a memorial from a different perspective. There will be two Native American groups who commission memorials, but one group is from 1890 and one is from 2011. There will be two United States government groups who commission memorials, one group is from 1890 and one is from 2011. A discussion of each group's final product will not only allow students to delve deeper into the conflicts themselves, but help them realize all the factors that play into the development of momuments themselves.

I have not tried this yet so we will see how it goes!


  1. I definitely agree with AmyC regarding using monuments as a teaching tool. I have US History II classes this year and will visit the town center in North Reading to personalize the war for the students by seeing names of individuals from their town who sacrificed their lives in order to provide freedom for future generations.

    I am toying with the idea of having students create a monument for the Vietnam War Memorial because there isn't one that I noticed in town. I think that monuments really make events come alive and that students today will be able to understand the sacrifice made by their fellow Americans better through the experience of constructing a memorial to their memory as a thank you.

  2. The emphasis on monuments and memory is one that has really taken off among our teachers. You can expect to hear about others' plans to incorporate work with monuments during our sharing conference/follow-up day on October 4th!