A unit plan helps high school students explore the social and economic
history of the river towns. Each student will role-play an individual in the community
while researching a vocation and its place in the community, then write a first person report
on their findings. Students can use the audio and video files as well as the Web site narratives
as resources in their research.
The "Decoys - Foul or Fair?" discussion lesson introduces students to critical analysis of historical
artifacts. Discuss, using photographic examples from the decoy collections of several
museums, just how life-like decoys need to be, and which physical characteristics of waterfowl are considered
by decoy makers when they create their carvings for hunters to use.
In "Demise of the River", students will listen to the audio and video interviews of river people
in the Web module's archives and find out what changes these people think led to the end of the
fishing and musseling industries and the general degradation of the Illinois River in the 20th century.
"Commercial and Sport Hunting" lesson asks students to look at the abuses of market hunting
in the early 20th century led to new laws, which in turn led to sport hunting.
In "Be a Pioneer", middle schoolers will play roles of pioneers and make decisions along the way
to Illinois and their new home in the mid-1850s.
"Analysis of an Historical Photograph" lesson will help viewers today look at old photographs with an analytical eye
and find clues to the life of the people who lived then.
Learn how to record oral histories to preserve your family history.