20 Questions for Reading and Evaluating Historic Places

An analysis worksheet prompting students to read and analyze historic places using twenty questions. The worksheet may be used during field trips to historic places or in a classroom setting while using virtual tours or digital images of historic spaces. Included are links to Mount Vernon's virtual tour in Virginia and Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The “20 Questions” series worksheets from George Washington’s Mount Vernon are designed to guide students in a structured exploration of new primary sources. Each set of questions moves from concrete observations to an analysis of the source’s relationship to people that lived in the past. The last questions ask students to make larger conclusions about the culture of the time to inform a final writing prompt. Included with each worksheet are primary sources from George Washington’s world.

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20 Questions for Reading and Evaluating Historic Prints

An analysis worksheet prompting students to read and analyze historic prints using twenty questions. Included are sample prints related to the Constitution, including: The Ninth and Sufficient Pillar Raised and A Display of the United States of America

The “20 Questions” series worksheets from George Washington’s Mount Vernon are designed to guide students in a structured exploration of new primary sources. Each set of questions moves from concrete observations to an analysis of the source’s relationship to people that lived in the past. The last questions ask students to make larger conclusions about the culture of the time to inform a final writing prompt. Included with each worksheet are primary sources from George Washington’s world.

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20 Questions for Reading and Evaluating Historic Recipes

An analysis worksheet prompting students to read and analyze historic recipes using twenty questions. Included are sample recipes, including: Martha Washington's Great Cake Recipe, as well as 18th-century recipes for Ice Cream, Broiled Herring, and Indian Pudding.

The “20 Questions” series worksheets from George Washington’s Mount Vernon are designed to guide students in a structured exploration of new primary sources. Each set of questions moves from concrete observations to an analysis of the source’s relationship to people that lived in the past. The last questions ask students to make larger conclusions about the culture of the time to inform a final writing prompt. Included with each worksheet are primary sources from George Washington’s world.

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20 Questions for Reading and Evaluating Objects

An analysis worksheet prompting students to read and analyze objects using twenty questions. Included are sample objects for analysis, including: The Key to the Bastille, Martha Washington's shoes, George Washington's Field Bedstead, and a Surveyor's Compass.

The “20 Questions” series worksheets from George Washington’s Mount Vernon are designed to guide students in a structured exploration of new primary sources. Each set of questions moves from concrete observations to an analysis of the source’s relationship to people that lived in the past. The last questions ask students to make larger conclusions about the culture of the time to inform a final writing prompt. Included with each worksheet are primary sources from George Washington’s world.

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Breaking and Mending the Two-Term Precedent

This lesson draws a connection between George Washington’s establishment of the two-term precedent for the presidency and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s breaking of that precedent nearly 150 years later. In this lesson, students will analyze multiple primary and secondary sources, both collaboratively and independently. Discussion and debate is a large focus of this lesson. Students will make interdisciplinary connections between history and government/civics. This resource was created by 2013-2014 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Hannah Markwardt. 

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Bullet Journaling with Washington

This activity connects students to George Washington's meticulous record keeping by equating it with modern day bullet journaling. Students will look at a 1793 Farm Report made by one of Washington's overseers and was sent to him while he was President. They will then keep a bullet journal for a week to experiment with recording their own information. By reflecting on their experience they will be able to get a better understanding of Washington and his personality. 

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Choose Your Weapon

This activity recreates the distribution of Washington's swords between his five nephews after his death. In groups of five, students will learn about five of George Washington's swords, after which they work together to choose which sword they would pick. They will consequently learn about how swords were used in the 18th century to represent a person's rank and identity, as well as the situation they are in. Students will also realize how artifacts are not static and their lives continue beyond their original use. 

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Disease During Wartime

A lesson plan that draws a connection between the threat of smallpox during the Revolutionary War and the influenza pandemic during World War I. In this lesson, students will utilize educational technology to consult primary, secondary, and tertiary sources in the completion of a webquest. Writing across the curriculum is a large focus of this lesson. Students will make interdisciplinary connections between history and science (specifically biology). This resource was created by 2013-2014 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Hannah Markwardt. 

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George Washington's Foreign Policy

A lesson that asks students to connect George Washington’s Farewell Address to later presidential foreign policy messages. As a group, the class will discuss the influence Washington’s message had on the nation and posterity. Working in groups, students investigate excerpts from later presidential foreign policy messages and compare and contrast these with Washington’s Farewell Address. A Socratic Seminar analyzing past U.S. foreign policy also asks students to chart a course for future U.S. foreign policy.

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A Grub Hoe

This activity is designed to question students' assumptions on how labor was divided at Mount Vernon. Students will look at an artifact (the grub hoe) and then analyze primary and secondary sources to reinterpret that artifact. They will learn that enslaved women primary worked in the fields, while enslaved men usually did "skilled" tasks. This is an activity that will illustrate how gender binaries are constructed and have changed throughout history. It also reinforces students' STEM skills, such as percentages and ratios. 

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The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret: The Founders' Failure to End Slavery

This DBQ style lesson asks students to use multiple primary and secondary sources to evaluate the statement: Ideals and moral concerns regarding human equality and the evils of slavery espoused over the course of the Founding Era were impossible to carry out and enforce due to the economic necessity and racial dynamics of slavery. This lesson was created by 2016-2017 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Michael Ellis.

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Seven Years' War Primary Source Set

Mount Vernon’s Primary Source Sets contain documents, maps, objects, and images all related to a given theme. Each primary source includes a brief background for students and supporting content for instruction (additional background information, discussion questions, activity suggestions, and resources). Supporting content is available as one complete document for teachers. Use these sets as a whole collection, in small groups or pairs, or individually depending on classroom needs.

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Snuff Box and Hogshead

This activity compares two containers of tobacco- one on the production side and the other on the consumption side to show how tobacco was made and sold in the Colonies and in England. Students will analyze a snuff box and hogshead as well as British advertisements for tobacco and snuff to understand the importance of tobacco to the 18th century. It also shines a light on how slavery was the foundation of Colonial and English economy, government, and lifestyle. 

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Which Grace: Analysis of Historical Resources

A lesson challenging students to analyze primary and secondary sources to answer the question How many enslaved individuals named Grace, Isaac, and Suckey were there at Mount Vernon from 1750-1799? Using information available to researchers and scholars at the Washington Library, students become historians as they work to answer a question that has no definitive answer. As an optional extension, students can create a biography about one of the individuals identified in their research. 

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