Lesson Plan --- Family Interviews

Learning Twentieth Century History:

The Grandparent/Elder Project

(Adopted from the Libraryof Congress Lesson Plans)

(Images from Library of Congress)

teacher guide (scroll down) || student guide || student acitivty

Learning Goals: To understand the importanceof individual lives in the "American experience" ofhistory.

(Standards Address the ASMS American Studies Curriculum Objectives)

Materials Required:

Target Level:

8-12 grade

Curriculum Fit:

American studies, state and local history, family history, multicultural studies, writing lab, language arts, communication, geographic themes, including location and place


Students will work in small groups and individually.

Small groups will develop interviewing questions using the worksheet as a starting point. The small groups will share their ideas with the whole class. This process will produce a master list of questions that can be used in their project.

Students will be asked to get a grandparent, great-grandparent or an elder (who may be a relative, a neighbor or a friend) who will be willing to be interviewed for this project. They will be asked to talk about their experiences prior to 1950.

There will be two focus areas for the interview. (1) Childhood memories of growing up (2) learning about an older relative that the interviewer knew as a child. Students will tape their interviews using either a camcorder or a tape recorder using their interview sheets. Students may ask another student to serve as a technical assistant to help them interview (one serving as the interviewer and the other as the technician).

Each individual will give a summary of their feature article (no more than 3 minutes) based on their interview. The whole class will work together to determine unfolding themes.

Technology work groups will be organized around these themes. This allows an opportunity for interchange of ideas in using the technologies. It will also allow for sharing of relevant secondary resources that fit with the primary source materials being gathered.

Supporting materials will be gathered after the interviews to enhance events discussed. These may be primary source pictures from family photo albums, or they may be secondary sources such as newspaper articles, images, sound clips or movies from American Memory or other relevant sources.

The materials will be evaluated, edited and organized to produce a website incorporating the materials and the feature articles.

What needs to have come before this activity?

After completing this lesson, studentswill be able to:

Time Required:

Resources Used:

Student forms and handouts:

Interview questions

Interview tips

Photograph evaluation form


Interview Rubic: - scored individually for interview

Website Rubric: - scored individually for website development

Collaborative Work Skills: Rubric - scored individually - used for small group/class discussions

Overall Project Rubic: - scored individually for overall performance during project

teacher guide || student guide || student acitivty