A Kids Guide to . . .

By Teresita Herrera, December 8, 2009

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

270 minutes for classroom activities


The purpose of this lesson is to involve students in historic preservation by encouraging kids their age to become interested in local historic sites or a specific neighborhood in their community.  

National Standards


Standard 1. Level III. Understands and knows how to analyze chronological relationships and patterns

Standard 2. Level III. Understands the historical perspective

Standard 5.  Level III. Knows a range of arts and communication works from various historical and cultural periods

5. Knows art forms that reflect cultural elements of the local community (e.g., folk art, utilitarian objects, community environment (landscape and architecture), works of local professional artists and craftsmen)


Standard 7. Level III. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts

1. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts (e.g., electronic texts; textbooks; biographical sketches; directions; essays; primary source historical documents, including letters and diaries; print media, including editorials, news stories, periodicals, and magazines; consumer, workplace, and public documents, including catalogs, technical directions, procedures, and bus routes)

Standard 1. Level III. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process 5. Uses content, style, and structure (e.g., formal or informal language, genre, organization) appropriate for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to entertain, to influence, to inform)
Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts Standards Writing 

Grade 6-8

Text Types and Purposes:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1.A Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1.B Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1.C Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1.D Establish and maintain a formal style.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1.E Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.A Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories as appropriate to achieving purpose; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.B Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.C Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.D Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.E Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.F Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.3 (See note; not applicable as a separate requirement)
Production and Distribution of Writing:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge:
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

English Language Arts Standards: Speaking and Listening

Grade 6-8

Comprehension and Collaboration:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.3 Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)
English Language Arts Standards: Reading Informational Text

Grade 6-8    

Key Ideas and Details:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


At the conclusion of this activity, students will be able to:

  • discuss the historical changes that their community has been through
  • discuss what attracts people to certain places
  • draw conclusions about how a community’s characteristics impacts the impressions of people that view them
  • compare and contrast different styles of architecture found around their community
  • research important buildings in their community, especially those registered as national historic sites
  • learn to appreciate the architectural styles and historic sites found in their community
  • understand and demonstrate the steps of the design process
  • create a formal presentation that attracts kids to a community’s historic site


This lesson deals with local history so each school would need to do research in their local area museums and libraries.

digital camera


LCD projector

photo printer


  • paper
  • presentation board
  • construction paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • matted frames


  • preservation: the process of keeping alive or in existence


Step 1: (15 minutes)

1. Begin lesson by asking students to review the challenge:  How can I make my local neighborhood more attractive to teenagers my age?  Answers will be listed and each one discussed.

Step 2: (30 minutes)

1. Students will be shown images of local historic sites in two local cities (or around the county) and asked to identify them. (Preference should be given to sites listed on the National Register or if they are National Historic Sites.)  Each site will then be discussed as well as the history behind them.

2. The teacher will then take a class poll as to how many students have visited these sites, know about them, and whether or not they would be interested in knowing more about these sites.

3. A discussion on what makes these sites appealing and unappealing should then occur (issues such as importance to local history, location, price, entertainment and historical value should be addressed).

Step 3: (135 minutes)

1. If possible, students will then be taken on a field trip to the various historic sites and asked to take note of what these sites can do to attract more teenagers their age to visit and become more interested in historic preservation.

Step 4: (45 minutes)

1. Once students return to class, they will be paired into groups of three to four and assigned a site and do some research.

2. Students should now INVESTIGATE the problem.  They need to find out:

  • Who visits the site?
  • Why do they visit?
  • Is the site attractive to a teenage audience?

3. After investigating, have students FRAME/REFRAME the problem:  Why do you think students are not currently visiting this site? (Cost? Lack of Interest? Location/distance/lack of transportation?)

4. Students will then be asked to use GENERATE possible solutions to the problem.  Students need to brainstorm solutions to the problem.  For example: decreasing cost by creating specific kid nights; trading volunteer time/recycled products/canned goods to attend events; creating specific programs or tours tied to topics the target audience is interested in; creating new exhibits or allowing students to have their own work exhibited at the site.

Step 5: (90 minutes)

1. Students would then need to EDIT & DEVELOP their ideas and narrow down the topic they wish to address in order to increase teenage attendance to these sites.

2. Students will then SHARE & EVALUATE the process and their ideas and get feedback on their solutions.

3. Each group will then FINALIZE THEIR SOLUTION by developing a formal presentation for the entire class and then to be given to the local chamber of commerce.  Students need to remember to articulate what the problem was, how their solution addresses the problem, and why it would be important for this group to support their solution.

4. Students will then ARTICULATE THE SOLUTION AND PROCESS by presenting the final solution to the entire group.

Step 6:

Students will be assessed in the following manner:

30 pts – Final presentation

15 pts – Research

15 pts - Solutions

20 pts - Understanding

20 pts - Participation


The teacher should informally assess students by observation as the design process and rough draft portions of the activity are taking place.  The teacher can also assess if students understand the purpose and objectives of the lesson, if students are properly using cooperative learning, and if they are following directions.

Grading their presentation will also assess students and evaluate how well students grasped the concepts and objectives of the lesson.

Enrichment Extension Activities

After everyone has presented their solutions, the students can be asked which of the ideas they thought were most likely to be adopted by the local community to increase the interest of teenagers to local historical sites.  Students can also be asked to create a flyer or brochure geared to teenagers regarding the sites they enjoyed the most to encourage increased visits and interests to these sites.

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