Opal School closed in 2021. You can continue to access these resources for free at teachingpreschoolpartners.org/resource-library/.

Beginning the homework project

Opal 3 Homework Project

January – February 2011

An intention we have for social studies work in Opal 3 this year is to dive into the study of US history before the American Revolution.  With the stories of Columbus and the Pilgrims and the Mayflower behind us, we have moved forward more than a century to 1750, when the British Colonies are established and populated by indigenous, European, and African people.  For the past few weeks we have been wondering:

  • Who immigrated to the British Colonies of North America in 1750?
  • Why did they come?
  • What experiences did they have from the time it was decided they would emigrate until the time they arrived?
  • How will their journeys affect their lives in the “New World”?

Yesterday in class, there was a great turn of events.  The captain (Levia) announced that:

“Land has been sighted, ‘tis true, my fellow passengers and sailors, but there is one twist:  You will not all be landing at the same port.  Your arrival port will be determined by the casting of lots, by sortition, a good old fashioned lottery.

Please join me on deck, let us sit in a circle and take turns drawing the lots that will determine where each of us will drop anchor.”

And so, the lots were cast.  Each student drew a sheet of paper that told them where they will be landing, either in:

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or
  • Charleston, South Carolina

Now, together, we will create and build these new locations that will be our new homes.  As we explained to the students in class, we are starting a whole new game.  As of yet, no one knows exactly who they are, they only know where they are going to land.

We will be growing our schema for these places as they were in 1750 through some homework research projects.

The intention of this homework, beyond the benefits the research will bring to our learning community at school, is to strengthen the working relationship between families and children in the educational process.  We encourage you (and other trusted adults) to join your student in their research.  We hope that you enjoy your collaboration and make discoveries that lead to increased curiosity for families and children about history and about the research process.

Week One Project Instructions:

If you were to land in (fill in your city:  Boston, Philadelphia or Charleston)in August of 1750, what might you see?

This research will be focused on geography:

Ÿ  Will there be bodies of water?

Ÿ  Will you see hills or will it be flat?

Ÿ  Is it forested?

Ÿ  Is there already a village or town or port there?

Ÿ  Are there any land or water forms that are unique to your city?

I am not expecting that students produce anything at home that will need to be turned in.  However, your student should be prepared to share their findings with classmates.  They will be working together on murals where they will have a chance to visually demonstrate what they have learned.  Some students will find that after they do some research, they will just be able to look at a hard copy of a map and describe the geography that is there.  Others might want to take brief notes to remind them of land and water formations in their locale. 

Today in class we looked at historical maps of our cities and used collage materials to start to envision what might be there.  In class next week we will be working more on map reading skills and doing a bit of in class research on this topic.

We are thinking you will do most of your home research online.  While you might find some text that will describe the geography, terrain and topography of your city, much of the information will come from maps and images.