As part of the Causes of Conflict Teaching American History Grant Project, teachers travel annually to historically significant sites for study produced in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. In previous years, middle school teachers studied the Civil War and high school teachers studied the Civil Rights Movement. Descriptions and resources from both of those trips are posted on this blog; use the search tools to find the entries. This year, elementary teachers studied the New England colonies, from early contact through the American Revolution.
Our study began with talks by John Demos, followed by a trip to Plimoth Plantation. Demos started with a talk Sunday night on just who the Puritans were, disavowing us of our inclination to think of them as repressed, guilt ridden, and austere: in short, the Puritans weren’t puritanical. Monday, we went to Plimoth Plantation, a living history site interpreting the Wampanoag and Plimoth experience. There, Demos helped us understand the worlds of these early settlers: their home and community lives. Interpreters on the Mayflower II, the Wampanoag Home Site, and the 1627 English Village brought these worlds to light. Education specialists Summer Confuorto and Kim VanWormer guided our visits and analysis of the 1621 Treaty as described in Mourts Relation.
Teacher-participants, I turn this over to you, as I will the next several entries:
- What do you think were the big ideas we studied here? Why do you think these episodes and themes are important to study?
- What historical questions were answered here? What new questions developed?
- What new ideas or questions about teaching and learning history did this investigation leave you with?