Perry Meridian Middle School
Traveling trunks will help U.S. History students delve into the lives of people before them. Instead of reading about a distant time that seems incomprehensible, students will handle objects, wear clothing, view real photographs, and explore the sights and sounds of life before them. The teacher will create four trunks. Each trunk will have a theme and a time period about which students are learning and contain replicas of period materials and resources to immerse the students in the historical lifestyle. Students will analyze each trunk using the materials as clues to help them draw conclusions and write about living during the time.
After students have analyzed the teacher-provided trunks and written their own conclusion of living during the time period, they will then prepare their own trunks to travel. This time, students will work in groups to create their own trunks that will travel to elementary classrooms in Perry Township where students studying the same time periods will explore the older students’ work. In creating their own trunks, they will have the opportunity to sew their own clothing, construct their own period replicas, include their own drawings and copies of real primary sources, and create any other materials they believe will help the younger students experience historical life before their time.
The traveling trunks project addresses many of our 21st century academic goals including providing the opportunity to gain experiential knowledge, instilling creative confidence in kids, and teaching kids to create authentic work for real audiences. Traveling trunks provide room for students to create new products as well as construct new information for a real world audience. The skills that students will need to draw upon to complete this project will range from ISTEP-ready analysis and synthesis of texts and objects, comprehending distant historical context, understanding the needs of an audience, and constructing new material to meet that need.