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March 2012 Archives

Two New History Labs Available Now

The UMBC Center for History Education has added two new History Labs to our site, both of which were developed in partnership with Baltimore County Public Schools.
In "Transforming the West: Did the Reality Match the Expectations for Kansas Homesteaders?" high school students will discover what settlers taking part in the great westward migrations of the 19th Century expected to find at the end of their journey, and just how different the reality was for many of them. Created by teacher Abbie Stiffler, the lab asks students to consider the varied reasons that immigrants made the long and dangerous trip, and what they did to overcome the challenges they encountered when they arrived.

Teachers Brenda Payne, Corjie Tarlton, and Amy Vaillancourt have developed a new lab for upper elementary students, entitled "The Tobacco Economy: How did the Geography of the Chesapeake Region Influence its Development?" This lab utilizes wills and other legal records to highlight the crucial influence of an expanding tobacco crop on the social and economic structure of colonies in the mid-Atlantic region. Students will learn how the expansion of tobacco farming in the region led to a shift in the labor force from indentured servants to enslaved persons.

The History Labs project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching American History Program.

Dr. Constantine Vaporis to Present at Pittsburgh NCTA Workshop

Dr. Constantine Vaporis, professor of history and director of the Asian Studies program, will lead a workshop for the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) at the University of Pittsburgh, on Saturday, March 24. Entitled "Japan and its World: Late Edo Period and Today, " the workshop will focus on the changes that occurred in the late Edo period (mid-19th Century) especially the "opening" of Japan, and how this information relates to understanding Japan's role in the world today. Addressing internal challenges, the dangers posed by outside forces, engagement with other nations, and the role of Japan in the larger realm of postwar Asia, Dr. Vaporis will present to teachers the unique perspective of the Japanese people and society.

For more information about the workshop, please visit the following website.

Dr. Vaporis has taught workshops in the CHE's affiliated NCTA seminar program for K-12 teachers at UMBC for the last five years. The CHE provides support for the yearly NCTA Program, and will be adding a link to the NCTA's work on our website soon. Funded by the Freeman Foundation and launched in 1998, the NCTA is a nationwide initiative to encourage and facilitate teaching and learning about East Asia in the K-12 curriculum.

CHE's "Children's Lives at Colonial London Town" Project Wins Award

The "Children's Lives at Colonial London Town" project, which was developed by the Center for History Education's (CHE) Making American History Master Teachers in Anne Arundel County program, is the recipient of the 2012 Social Studies Program of Excellence Award from the Middle States Regional Council for the Social Studies, an affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies.

Dr. Marjoleine Kars, chair of history, has worked with a group of 4th and 5th grade teachers from Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) for the past four years. She and Ms. Mary Davis, AACPS elementary teacher specialist, developed the London Town project as a way to engage the teachers in doing authentic historical research that would supplement and enrich the school curriculum. The teachers determined that their students would be interested in learning about the lives of children who lived at London Town during the colonial period.

Dr. Kars, Ms. Davis and curators and education specialists at Historic London Town and Gardens, near Annapolis, MD, assisted the teachers as they worked with primary materials on site and in various collections to craft a storybook based on the lives of three families. In fall 2011, the teachers began piloting the materials with their students. At the same time, UMBC initiated the next phase of the project: The creation of an interactive, digital resource, also named "Children's Lives at Colonial London Town." The project's website is being designed by the UMBC New Media Studio and will feature rich historical materials, maps, timelines, as well an interactive storybook.

The website is due to launch in Summer 2012 and will be used in a program of teacher professional development during the 2012-2013 school year.

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