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Teaching Children Social Studies with Boston as the Classroom


Welcome to Boston, Massachusetts (1; 2)

While teaching at Boston's Joseph Lee School as a 4/5th grade educational practitioner, I came to realize that I could introduce most topics through social studies themes. I experimented with then current pedagogies applying them to my teaching style, classroom environment, and curriculum content. At that time, the Internet became accessible to me for use in my classroom. As I began to use the Internet as a supplementary tool for classroom learning, I realized that it also provided me the tools of electronic mail, webpages, mailing lists, and archived storage for sharing online with global colleagues.

Originally, I posted many of these pages at Boston KidWeb, my classroom webpage. Though retired since 2001, I would like to continue to share resources at InquiryUnlimited.org that might be of value to educators and learners.

The purpose of this site is to share challenges that I posed to my students and their responses to those challenges; the various teaching activities I employed, and primary source and secondary resources accessible to me, living in Boston. Living in the Boston area, we used the city as our classroom.

I hope that when preparing to study Boston or to travel to Boston - really or virtually - you will remember this page and pay it a visit.


Social Studies Resources for Teaching Children about Boston (42.32N 71.091W) and Massachusetts

Activity: Learn to pinpoint places using the U.S. Gazetteer.

Challenge: Become aware of how regional geography is depicted in poetry.

Challenge: Explore the domain of geography.
Program: Guide Children to Explore the Real U.S.A.

by participating in a free National Park Service program.
Program: Watch history unfold from atop the Old State House with the lion, unicorn, and grasshopper .

Challenge: Compose a letter to a friend explaining what you saw occur on King Street.
Activity: Retrieve the national and local weather forecast.

Challenge: Become aware of the weather and environment in U. S. culture through her songs.
Program: Role play as a patriot at the Braintree farm of Abigail Adams during the siege of Boston in your study of the American Revolutionary Period.

Challenge: Role play as a colonial character through your study of this time period.
Program: Observe a colonial waterwheel, the bellows, and the blast furnace at Saugus Iron Works .

Challenge: Explore the History and Geography of the United States to locate similar endeavors in different regions.
Activity: Compute the hours of daylight .

Challenge: In literature, how does the length of sunlight affect the inhabitants in an environment?
Program: Just for Kids at the Paul Revere House. What do the artifacts reveal about the man, Paul Revere?

Challenge: Compose his biographical sketch.

Challenge: Create a Revolutionary War Period picture dictionary or series of alphabet cards.
Program: Guide yourself through the tropical rain forest at Franklin Park Zoo . Feel its heat. Smell its environment. Hear its inhabitants.

Challenge: Compose an acrostic based on wildlife living in a tropical rain forest. (Books related to rain forests .)
Activity: Timelines allow us to place events in chronological sequence.

Challenge: Be one of the travelers expanding to our western borders.
Program: Re-enact the Boston Massacre Trial

Challenge: Create a song parody about the women attempting to boycott the merchants who favored the taxes.

Challenge: Dramatize it as a puppet show.
Program: Read newspaper articles from Boston's history on microtext at the Boston Public Library .

Challenge: Relate your experience with taxes at that time.
Activity: Convert currency
Program: Design a monument at Dorchester Heights.
Program: Compare the daily life, clothes, and custom of colonial America to our lives at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Activity: Discover if a plane is on time using the information at MassPort's Logan Airport.

Challenge: How does a film director present culture in films?
Program: Re-enact school life at the Abiel Smith School.

Challenge: Compose your own slave narratives.
Program: Compare and contrast the artifacts of Native Americans from various regions at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology as you study Native American cultures.
Activity: Read an MBTA bus schedule.
Program: On your online self-guided tour of the Freedom Trail , compare the mortuary art as you visit the graves of Paul Revere and John Hancock's servant Frank at Old Granary and Roger Clap and Mary Winslow at King's Chapel Burying Ground.

Challenge: Create a gravestone for a fictitious character of this time period.

Challenge: Compose a letter to a friend about the geography of Boston.

Challenge: What of other Negroes living in Boston at that time?
Program: Climb aboard the U.S.S. Constitution.

Challenge: Replay in your mind the activity of the powder monkeys during battles. Imagine the recoiling cannons after firing. Write about it.
Activity: Rely upon this USPS zip codes search tool.

Challenge: Follow the travels across the United States of Looney Lobster, our travel buddy mascot.
Program: Make yourself at home in the Japanese house at the Children's Museum . Take off your shoes. Get comfortable on the tatami mat.

Challenge: Compare Japanese and Native American mythology.

Challenge: Find similarities in the folklore and fables of various cultures.
Program: Observe the leaves as you navigate during a field study of the native trees of Boston at the Arnold Arboretum.

Challenge: Which native groups would have lived here and how would they have used the flora for healing?


Students doing basic research about our state
often requested these Massachusetts and Boston resources from us:

Massachusetts profile including chief cities, population, geography, and constitutional offices
Massachusetts seal and state symbols
historical sketch and Project: Study Massachusetts
Massachusetts Facts:
history and politics/government
Mass. constitution,
oldest in the nation
Mass. Bay Charter,
Mayflower Compact, - November 11, 1620
Longfellow - Paul Revere's "Midnight Ride"
history and culture
Massachusetts History: through her counties
Map of her counties
Photographs from Boston

Share her history, neighborhoods, and landmarks with your family.
1990 Boston census


Created in 1998. Last modified: February 17, 2017
Practitioner at Joseph Lee School, Boston, MA whose webpage was sited at http://lee.boston.k12.ma.us/d4/d4.html.
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