Lesson Plans for Teachers: (Grades 2-5)

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Maps are available on this website. Click here to download an archive with Evanston, Illinois, USA and world maps.

Lesson: What do we already know?

Lesson: How to be a history detective!

Lesson: Where in the world in Evanston?

Lesson: Potawatomis in Evanston

Lesson: Early immigrants to Evanston

Lesson: Living without lights

Lesson: Being a kid 100 years ago


Lesson: What do we already know?

Procedure:

  • Discuss what students already know about Evanston history.
  • The laminated or mounted photos could be used as a springboard for discussion. Ask students to talk about what they see or notice in the photos.
  • Keep a K.W.L. chart. Record in 3 columns what students “Know,” “Want to Know” and (later on) “Learned”

Extension:

  • Go on a scavenger hunt while walking around Evanston. Look for evidence of the ridges (Ridge Rd., Chicago Ave.), old houses and other buildings, buildings where the top half has changed, old street names, and so on.
  • Take a field trip to the Charles Gates Dawes House, the Frances Willard House, or the Grosse Point Lighthouse.

Lesson: How to be a history detective!

Materials:

• Photos depicting life in the past in Evanston

• Artifacts of your choice

Procedure:

  • Brainstorm with students all the ways we have to learn about the past (interviews, memoirs, journals, newspapers, letters, buildings, official records, people, etc.) Point out that objects and photographs can tell us about the past as well.
  • Use a detective approach to identify one or more of the artifacts you bring in to the classroom (ie, old milk jig, toy, etc.) Hold up an item and ask students to answer simple questions:
    o What is it made from?
    o How was it used?
    o Do we still use something like this? If not, what do we use instead?
    o How do we know life was different years ago, based on this artifact?
  • Share one of the photos in the kit and ask students what they see:
    o What is in the photo?
    o What do you see in the background?
    o What are the people doing?
    o When do you think the photo was taken? Why do you think so?
    o What objects are in the photo?
    o How does this photo look different from photos taken today?
    o Do the people look happy? Sad? Tired? Relaxed?
  • Once students have shared all their initial impressions, ask them to look again, even more closely. What do they see now, when they look more carefully?
  • Use the information on the back of the photo to give the actual answers to the questions above. Point out how much they were able to learn about how people lived in the past just by looking at these photos.
  • Share other photos with the class, asking similar questions and talking about what we know from just looking at the photo and what we don’t know.
  • Ask students to brainstorm how we might learn more about the people and places in the photo (talk to someone who knew the people or their relatives, learn about the professions of these people, research the history of the buildings or places in the photo, etc.

Extensions:

  • Ask students which objects that we use today would be considered old-fashioned artifacts 100 years from now.
  • Break students into small groups. Give each group a photo and have them use their imagination to make up a story about the photo. Who are these people? What happened 5 minutes before the picture was taken and 5 minutes after it was taken? Have each group share their story with the class. Discuss the difference between the imagined information in the story and the facts we know from the photo.

Lesson: Where in the world is Evanston?

Meets Dist 65 Standard:
Describe the physical characteristics of places, both local and global

Materials:
World map, U.S. map, Illinois map, Evanston map. (Maps available on this website. Click here to download an archive with Evanston, Illinois, USA and world maps.)

Procedure:

  • As a class, find the approximate location of Evanston on the world, U.S., and Illinois maps. Specifically, find Evanston on the map of Illinois.
  • Using the map of the world, locate the continents, oceans, equator, poles and hemispheres.
  • Examine the map of Evanston and locate your school/location on the map.
  • Discuss the symbols on the map

Extension:

  • Using the map of Evanston as a model, draw a large outline of the city on butcher paper. The teacher or leader can draw in simple landmarks to give students a reference point. You might draw in Lake Michigan, Northwestern University, the Metra tracks and/or El tracks, Fountain Square, major roads such as Oakton, Main, Dempster, Dodge, Davis, Central, Ridge, Sheridan, etc. Once the basic outline of the city is laid out, the group can locate familiar landmarks: their homes, schools, grocery store, park, library, museum or beach. This could become a 3-dimensional map, with buildings and houses made out of cereal boxes, old milk cartons, fabric scraps, and so on.

Lesson: Potawatomis in Evanston

Materials:
Map of Evanston (Maps Available on this website; Click here to obtain them.)

Procedure:

  • On the map of Evanston, ask students to locate the intersection of Ridge Avenue and Central Street. Explain that the Potawatomis once had a village at this site. Today, this is the location of the Evanston Hospital.
  • Explain that the Potawatomi  traveled between this village and another village located near Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago (which would be below the bottom of this map).
  • Ask students to locate Ridge Avenue on the map. Do they notice anything unusual about the shape of this road? Help students distinguish between the straight lines of most Evanston streets and the crooked, meandering path that Ridge takes.
  • Explain that Ridge Avenue was originally a high, dry “ridge” left behind by glaciers as they melted. This high ground made a perfect road. The Potawatomi used it to travel between their villages in what are today Evanston and Chicago. Other roads in Evanston were laid out by people, so they are straighter and more even.
  • Learn some easy Potawatomi words! “Bozho” is a friendly greeting, like saying “hi.” “Iwgwien” (pronounced similar to “ee-gwee-EN”) means “thank you.”
  • Have students look into writing their own “land acknowledgment.”  You can find information about writing one here. Discuss the meaning of acknowledging Native Americans’ history in the area.

Extension:
Take a field trip to Evanston Hospital. There is a plaque marking the spot of the former Potawatomi village. It’s on the west side of Ridge Avenue, north of the entrance to the hospital (approximately across from Clinton Place). Ask students to imagine what this area looked like when the Potawatomi were living here. Can you see why this would make a good location for a village?


Lesson: Early immigrants to Evanston

Meets Dist 65 Standard:
Understand the concepts of migration and immigration as they relate to the founding peoples of North America.

Materials:

• Photos of early settlers
• U.S. map

Procedure:

  • Discuss whether any students moved to Evanston from another area. Did anyone’s parents or grandparents move here from another city, state or country?
  • Ask students who were the first people to live in the Evanston area (Native Americans) and who came next (early settlers from the east coast).
  • Share with students photos of early settlers and information about their families. Talk about how far these pioneer families had to travel from their original homes, both in the United States and other countries, to Evanston. Discuss how they might have made that journey.
  • Create a bulletin board display as a class by pinning up the U.S. map. Pin up each pioneer photo card somewhere in the space around the map. Connect the card to the map by placing a pushpin in the loop at the end of the string and pinning it onto the state in which the family started.

Lesson: Living without lights

Meets Dist 65 Standard:
Show awareness of the common needs of all people for food, shelter, and clothing.

Procedure:

  • Explain to students that everyday life was very different in Evanston in the past. One big difference between Evanstonians today and Evanstonians 100 years ago is that many residents then did not have electricity. Ask students to name all the devices around the house that require electricity.

Ask students, “What would you do for cooking and cleaning if you did not have electricity to power your oven, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, refrigerator, etc?”

Ask students if they already know any tools or objects that they know people in the past used in place of our modern objects.

Hold up a photo of the stereoscope (see below) and ask students if they can guess what it was used for. Point out clues to them:
– What is it made out of?
– Do you think it was used to clean, to entertain, to make something?
– Who do you think used it?
– What do you think it was used for? (Teachers might want to hold the stereoscope up so that students can come up, one by one, and look at the picture. The two images, seen together through the stereoscope, give an image that looks alive and “three-dimensional.”)
– Do we still use this? If so, what has changed? If not, what do we use instead? (to see pictures that look “alive” we use TV or movies)

When students have correctly guessed what the object is, discuss how life has changed today with the modern replacement.

Continue the guessing game with some or all of the other recommended images (See below for images. Mason jar for storing preserved fruits and vegetables instead of a refrigerator, milk would be delivered daily instead of refrigerators in stores, rug beater instead of a vacuum, washboard instead of a washing machine, curling iron without a cord that is heated on a stove instead of an electric curling iron).

Extension:

Talk about changes in values and beliefs that have resulted from new technology today (we expect our clothes to be cleaner and our rugs less dusty)

Images:

Mason jar

Milk Delivery

Rugbeater

Washboard and Ringer

Stereoscope

Curling iron


Lesson: Being a kid 100 years ago

Procedure:

  • Look at historic school photos. Ask students how life was different and the same for these children, living in Evanston 100 years ago? Some of these questions might spark discussion:
  • Did students then go to school?
  • What are they wearing?
  • What kinds of chores did they do?
  • What did they do for fun?
  • What might have happened 5 minutes after this picture was taken?
  • Examine the photo more closely. How old are the students? How many teachers are there?
  • Ask students which one of these students reminds them of themselves. Which of these students would they like to meet and become friends with?
  • Try some of the games that children played 100 years ago. You might want to set up stations with different toys and let students travel among them. Or assign them as activities for students to explore.
  • The stereoscope is an antique and should only be used with teacher supervision.
  • After students have had an opportunity to play these games, compare and contrast how they are similar and different from games played today. Are there any games that children played then that are still popular today? Are there any games or toys here that aren’t played today but that would be fun to own?