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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.

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