Skip Navigation

The West Virginia State Museum at The Culture Center


Lesson Plans

Constructivism Resources and Videos Complete PDF

*NOTICE*
Some of the following Lesson Plans have links to additional information with in them and at the time of their creation the links functioned correctly. Over time some of the links may not be maintained by their creators or may be taken down.


Pathway Programs

1. "A Sense of West Virginia" for grades 4th through 8th.

Students are time travelers on a journey. Their job is to experience all the sights, sounds, and various senses encountered in the time periods of the museum. They will have to report back to their peers about their findings. This lesson will provide historical perspective. Through this lesson, the students will be enabled to relate history to their life today. As teacher leaders of WV, we would expect this lesson to result in historical empathy and an understanding of the time periods. We expect the activity to provide students with a better sense of self (their culture, their history, their environment) in hope that it will provide knowledge and understanding of where they are going. (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grades)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Graphic Organizer and Rubric

2. "Where Will I Go From Here?" for grades 4th through 8th.

Students will follow the WV Museum Showpath, considering how West Virginians in the past have been challenged to make a life here. Using the WV Museum as a gateway, student groups will acquire knowledge of their past to critically evaluate and plan for their future. This will give students the opportunity to explore how West Virginians in the past have survived, and give them the opportunity to imagine and analyze where they, as citizens of WV, can find their place and create their own history. (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grades)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubric

3. "A to Z Observations" for 8th grade.

Before visiting the museum, students will be assigned letters. The letters can be the first five letters of their name (can use middle or last if not enough letters in the first name), the teacher can assign letters randomly, or the more adventurous can assign the entire alphabet. As the students tour, they will try to remember impressions (artifacts, pictures, sights, sounds, even abstract impressions of what they experience), that associate with the letters students are assigned. These are examples to guide the students as they go through the showpath, but teachers can adapt these to their individual uses. (8th grade)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson

4. "In the Footsteps of West Virginia" for grades 5th and 8th.

Students will complete a project in the persona of a fictional character from an historical era. This lesson provides for differentiation based on differing materials, different activities while at the museum, and different final projects. This is a way to expand the students' knowledge of specific eras in WV history while personalizing the content. This lesson will enable students to consider history from different viewpoints. Puts the students "in the shoes" of fictional characters from various historical periods to challenge their decision making processes. (5th, 8th grades)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Character Cards and Rubric


Prehistory

1. "What is Geological Time?" for 6th grade.

Only a small percentage of WV history has included humans. By completing the activities students will develop an understanding of the terms and meaning of geologic time. This lesson is intended to show students what is meant by geologic time and how it relates to WV history. (6th grade - Discovery Room 1)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson

2. "Time Warp from Frontier to Prehistory" for 8th grade.

One of the most interesting ways to view things, in the minds of our youth is through "historical imagination" and "historical inquiry". Teachers should insist that students use sources of historical inquiry in utilizing artifacts and data to explain "the way things were". Equally, students are intrigued by Hollywood application of "time warps" such as seen in television and movies such as the "Quantum Leap" series, and the films "The Butterfly Effect", "Frequency", and "Back to the Future". This engagement activity involves putting the student in the role of an early explorer who was literally "ahead of his time". (8th grade - Discovery Room 2)

Opens in a new window and Includes:Includes: Lesson and Rubric


Frontier

1. "Eloquent Words for 8th grade.

In this lesson students will learn about both sides of an issue, then attempt to write persuasively for one. This will give students practice in making logical arguments and using rhetorical techniques. It will also help students learn to look at both sides of an issue. Students will brainstorm the reasons that Europeans had for claiming the land and the reasons Native Americans had using what they have learned and then use that information to choose a side to defend. Lastly, students will write a short speech like Chief Logan's where they give their side's reasons for claiming the land. (8th grade - Discovery Room 3)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Worksheet and Rubric

2. "Women's Roles: Then and Now" for 4th grade.

Students will study the roles that women played on the Appalachian frontier and compare them to women's roles today. Students will see how far women have come in gaining opportunities as well as how life has changed in general during the two hundred years since white settlers came to the western Virginia frontier. This lesson is intended to show students how much women's roles have changed - and how much they haven't. (4th grade - Discovery Room 4)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Pop up Book Instructions and Rubric

3. "Learning to Ask Questions About the Past" for 8th grade.

Historical Inquiry should abound in a museum, and in a classroom. For that matter, it should abound in every community, in every family, and in every mind of every student in West Virginia. Nothing is more relevant than our families, our homes, and us individually. In this lesson built around a visit to the state museum, students will develop their questioning skills in the classroom before they go on their field trip. While in the museum students will practice asking questions, and once they arrive back at school, they will ask questions concerning the artifact that their group has chosen and then address their questions through research. (8th grade - Discovery Room 4)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubric

4. "John Brown's Raid" for 8th grade.

John Brown's actions at Harpers Ferry polarized both Northerners and Southerners, and brought the nation to the brink of war. Students will develop a K-W-L chart and answer the question of how the raid affected thinking on the slavery issue. This lesson is intended to show students the importance of the slavery issue to the nation prior to the Civil War. (8th grade - Discovery Room 5)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson


Civil War & The 35th State

1. "War, What is it Good For?" for 8th grade.

Students will use online resources and their museum experience to answer critical questions about WV's role in the Civil War. As a final project they will create an electronic portfolio of their research, using a format of their choice. (8th grade - Discovery Room 6)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson

2. "My Brother, My Enemy" for 4th and 5th grades.

Students will explore West Virginia's role in the Civil War, especially how families were frequently divided by their loyalty to both the North and the South. Using several activities and a trip through the WV Museum, students will create a newsletter and publish a newsletter to demonstrate their learning. Students should understand that West Virginia and its families played an important role in changing the nation. Soldiers and battles were fought in our yards where we walk today. Unfortunately, many of those soldiers were fighting neighbors and their own family members in a bloody battle to save our nation from itself. (4th, 5th grades - Discovery Room 6)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubric

3. "Morse Code Telegraph and West Virginia" for 5th, 7th and 8th grades.

Two inventions that revolutionized WV and the world were Morse Code and the telegraph. With teacher guidance and through discovery, students will realize how these communication tools help shape popular opinions and beliefs. As students view artifacts in the WV State Museum, they will gain a greater appreciation for these inventions, the time period of their greatest use, and how they were used in helping WV become a state. (5th, 7th, 8th grades - Wheeling Intelligencer's Office)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson

4. "Concern in Eastern Virginia" for 5th, 7th and 8th grades.

Students are told an heir to a prominent 1800's legislature comes across a very interesting keepsake. Along with his great-great uncle's obituary, he finds attached a piece of paper headed, "Items to take to western Virginia." Along with a listing of several items, at the bottom of the page in different handwriting he reads, "John's last words." Students will use this information during their visit to the WV State Museum to decide why the uncle was moving to West Virginia, whey he was taking these items, and what this information has to do with WV Statehood. Inevitably, when asked why WV separated from Virginia, most people will target slavery as the cause of the rift. This lesson questions this assertion and allows students to uncover facts that factually substantiate reasons for WV separating from Virginia.(5th, 7th, 8th grades - Discovery Room 7 & 8)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson

5. "WV Cartoons" for 8th grade.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Even though students might not understand the meaning of many cartoons, the humor presented engages students. Once engaged, students are open to analyzing cartoons until they realize the intended meanings. This lesson uses cartoons to enhance student's understanding of how WV became a state. (8th grade - Discovery Room 7 & 8)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson

6. "WV Music One" for 7th and 8th grades.

Popular music is as American as baseball and apple pie. Parents often chide, "If you knew your lessons as well as words to all of the songs on the radio, you would be a genius." Popular music permeates our culture. Students walk into class singing the latest hit. When they do this, most of the time they are met with "knock it off-last get started with class." This lesson gives students a chance to incorporate what they love and sharpen their knowledge and appreciation for WV in the process. (7th, 8th grades - Discovery Rooms 7)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson

7. "Wheeling and the Big City" for 8th grade.

Lesson 1 - Wheeling has a rich history dating back centuries with the Adena Indian tribe asserting its power and authority in the area by scalping would be land speculators and leaving their skulls out in plain sight to serve as a warning to other visitors to the area. Even the name Wheeling, "place of the skull", serves as a reminder to the past. Wheeling would grow with the influx of European immigrants and the creation of the National Road. In this unit, students will be given an opportunity to explore the history of Wheeling. Possible topics of discussion will include: "Gateway to the West", rivers, roads, and railways, Wheeling streetscape, workforce and immigrants and the beginning of the labor movement. Students will be working to answer what does West Virginia mean to me and how did the influx of immigrants affect Wheeling in the 19th Century? (8th grade - Discovery Room 8)

Lesson 2 - Students will continue discussing the information and questions in lesson one and build on their knowledge gained by drawing on what they learned at the WV State Museum to create a time capsule showing what West Virginia is like currently and then comparing that to the past and the artifacts they viewed in the museum. (8th grade - Discovery Room 8)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson 1 & 2

8. "Immigration and Helvetia" for 8th grade.

It has often been said that a person's life is a mirror reflection of their family's past. From rituals to traditions, celebrations to reunions, all of our families have histories that bring the past to the present. This lesson plan will allow students to analyze and evaluate those individuals who came to settle in a rural mountainous setting known as Helvetia and understand why they chose West Virginia as their final living site. Students will analyze the following information: reasons to emigrate, why to WV, connections to the old country, special skills and special people, and evidence of ethnic communities today. (8th grade - Discovery Room 9)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson 1 & 2

Industrialization

1. "5 Days Documentary" for 8th grade.

Students are a documentary crew. They have been assigned to do a documentary on living in a timber, chemical, glass or a natural gas town. They must live with a worker for 5 days and participate in a workers life. (8th grade - Showpath)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Planner, Checklist and Rubrics

2. "Child Labor Industrial Picture Analysis" for 6th and 8th grades.

Students are asked to pick three pictures, about child labor in West Virginia for Lewis Hines to show to Congress. Students must write a letter explaining why they picked these pictures. Students also need to analyze two of these photos (they can not be from the same industry) using the National Archives photo analysis worksheet. (6th, 8th grades - Showpath)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Checklist and Rubrics

3. "Coal Mine Industrial Picture Analysis" for 4th and 8th grades.

Students will look at photographs to see that history is not just in the words, but also in the pictures Students are asked to pick three pictures, from the coal mine administration collection, and analyze them using the national archives photograph analysis worksheet. The students must then write a newspaper report about life in a coal town using the pictures as their source of information. (4th, 8th grades - Showpath)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Checklist and Rubrics

4. "Industrial Book" for 8th grade.

The students will look at West Virginia Poet Laureate Louise McNeill's poems about West Virginia during the Industrial Age from the book "Gauley Mountain." Then students are asked to write 4 selections for a book about the industrial period in West Virginia. (8th grade - Showpath)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Checklist and Rubrics

5. "The Outsiders" for 8th grade.

Students will look at absentee ownership and its effect on West Virginia. Students will look at the problems caused by the geography of West Virginia on getting resources to market. Using what students have learned they are to determine the effect of outside investors in West Virginia. They will act as economic advisors in a country that has many similarities to West Virginia and will deliver a presentation on whether the country should allow outside investment in their country. (8th grade - Showpath)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Checklist and Rubrics

6. "Famous People Website" for 8th grade.

Using the information found in the WV State Museum and through research students will find how a given person is important to West Virginia history and make a web page for the person and present it to the class. (8th grade - Showpath)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson, Checklist and Rubrics

7. "Why Would I Owe My Soul to the Company Store?" for 6th grade.

Students will be introduced to Tennessee Ernie Ford's Song "Sixteen Tons". Students will analyze the chorus of the song and find out its validity through the museum by proving how true the chorus is or why he would say a coal minder owes his soul to the company store. Students will then create a spreadsheet with examples of the miner's income minus his expenses and graph/chart these findings and then summarize in one paragraph why the feeling of debt and "owing" one's soul was so common? (6th grade - Discovery Rooms 10 & 15)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

8. "Equality for One; Equality for All" for 8th grade.

Students will be introduced to the fight for women's suffrage in West Virginia. Using information the class will design and create a Women's Suffrage Magazine. Students will participate in pairs. Each group will be "journalists" who will contribute a "story", an advertisement, and an illustration to the magazine. Students will then have a class debate on Women's suffrage using the knowledge they have gained through the lesson and museum tour. (8th grade - Discovery Room 11)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

9. "Where Does Coal Go?" for 6th and 7th grades.

After students have studied the effects of transportation in America and West Virginia, the modes of transportation, and the coal industry they will be told they are thinking about purchasing a small coal mine in West Virginia. Before they do so, they need to see how coal is transported and how far it can be transported. Students will create a map that documents this information from what they have learned. (6th, 7th grades - Discovery Rooms 12,13 & 14)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

10. "The "Coal Lifecycle" Scrapbook" for 5th and 6th grades.

After studying the coal industry and/ or carbon cycle and a visit to the WV State Museum students are told a lump of coal has come to the classroom with amnesia. He doesn't know who he is, where he came from, or what he is supposed to do. It is their job to help him! To assist him, students will create a scrapbook of "Coal's Lifecycle" to jog his memory. (5th, 6th grades - Discovery Rooms 12,13, 14 & 15)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

11. "Is Charleston Your Lucky Charm?" for 4th through 8th grades.

Students will learn the history of the location of West Virginia's state capitol. Students take the role of young citizens living in the city of Charleston in the new state of West Virginia. The decision to choose the capitol city is up for vote, students will research and choose which city they will vote for - Charleston or Wheeling? ((4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grades - Discovery Room 16)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

12. "Off to Work We Go!" for 4th, 6th and 8th grades.

Students will discover how FDR's New Deal impacted West Virginia. Through putting themselves in the role of a young, recently married man, who has been unemployed for 8 months with 2 children and one more on the way, who is desperate to find work to support his family, they will discover how the New Deal impacted everyday people in West Virginia. (4th, 6th, 8th grades - Discovery Room 18)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

13. "West Virginians in the Military: Letters Home" for 8th grade.

Students will read a series of letters from military personnel from WV deployed overseas during different periods of war to family and friends stateside. After researching what life was like in WV for family members as well as at the area of deployment for military personnel, the students will assume the role of a family member at home or a deployed military personnel member and write historically accurate letters to each other. This lesson also includes a technology enrichment idea for a final product other than letters. (8th grade - Discovery Room 20)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

14. "Honoring West Virginians: Building a Monument" for 8th grade.

This unit was designed to teach students about the cultural, societal, and historical importance of monuments. While learning about monuments and their design and construction, students will also learn about some of WV's historical heroes. The monument designing scenario associated with this lesson is a unique way of capturing the students' attention. The hands-on elements of this lesson should help to maintain student interest and participation. (8th grade - Discovery Room 20)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics


Change and Tradition

1. "How Does it Feel? (Civil Rights)" for 5th grade.

Civil Rights have always been at the forefront of importance in West Virginia history. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s got its start from sit-ins in soda shops throughout the state. The class is a segregated society. One group gets more space, the best supplies and equipment, as well as making all the decisions for the entire class. The other group must work with less space, fewer supplies, and no input in the decision making process. This lesson puts students in the footsteps of people of the past and helps them to understand how it felt. (5th grade - Discovery Room 21 & Showpath)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson

2. "Reporting Live From." for 5th through 8th grades.

West Virginia has had both natural and man-made disasters throughout its history. In the wake of many of these disasters, new safety regulations and precautions have been implemented. The student becomes a reporter covering a West Virginia disaster through research and a visit to the WV State Museum. (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grades - Discovery Room 21)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

3. "From Here to There" for 7th grade.

The Interstate Highway System supported by President Dwight D. Eisenhower brought a population shift to West Virginia, as well as greater safety on our roads, reduction of travel time, and an increase in our state's economy. Student will describe a journey between two points in West Virginia, as someone in the present and someone in the past, before the Interstate Highway System existed. (7th grade - Discovery Room 23)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

4. "Art Critic for a Day" for 4th through 8th grades.

Students need to use critical thinking skills in all areas of their life. They need to use these skills to evaluate many aspects of our world. There are particular skills that are necessary to evaluate art works. In this lesson they will learn these skills. Students are given the task to find an art work in the WV State Museum that they believe will excite others and will be displayed in their school library. Students are given criteria in which to evaluate these pieces and it is their goal to find an art work their classmates will enjoy. (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grades - Discovery Room 24)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

5. "Quilt Squared" for 4th through 6th grades.

Crafts have always been a part of rural culture. Crafts differ from "art" in that they serve a purpose, as well as being beautiful. Quilts also have significance because they were often made from old clothing and the owner could use it as a "remembrance." Using what students learned and explored in the WV State Museum students will use math to design their own class quilt. (4th, 5th, 6th grades - Discovery Rooms 25)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics

6. "WV Wants You!" for 4th through 8th grades.

Music is an essential part of our culture and students of all ages listen and enjoy a variety of music styles. West Virginia has a strong tradition of encouraging and fostering many musical styles. Students are told that Def PB Records is looking for a new artist that will capture the essence of West Virginia in music. Their team will write, adapt and compose a song that captures what they experienced while visiting the West Virginia Museum of Culture and History. Students will present their finished song, symphony, cantata or whatever they created at a class assembly. (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grades - Discovery Room 26)

Opens in a new window and Includes: Lesson and Rubrics