K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Related pages

  • Folklife: Students will learn North Carolina folklore, traditions, war activities, local legends, superstitions, food preparation traditions, art, songs and dances which are unique to the area.
  • North Carolina Traditions: North Carolina is rich in traditions. From crafts such as quilting and basketry to storytelling and Jack Tales, there is much to learn and enjoy. Traditions have been passed down through the generations and it is important that we preserve them for generations to come.
  • Families in colonial North Carolina: In colonial families, the father had absolute authority over his family, and wives and children were expected to do as they were told. And everyone, even young children, worked to sustain the family.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to answer these essential questions:
    • What was life like for this family during this period of history?
    • Why did life center around the hearth?
  • Students will be able to form answers to this thought-provoking question and support their answers with valid arguments:
    • Should women return to the vital role of primary caregiver and homemaker?
  • Students will also be able to:
    • utilize visual data
    • draw inferences
    • draw conclusions
    • form opinions and support them with facts

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

One to two 70-minute class periods



  • Before beginning this lesson, teachers should be familiar with Socratic Seminars. To familiarize yourself, read the reference article “Socratic Method.”
  • Prepare the magic eye photo-viewing sheets.
  • Before this activity students should have background knowledge of:
    • How family life and the jobs it involved were rigidly divided between male and female roles.
    • What changes occurred to blur the lines that divided family jobs into male and female roles.


Preview activity: Comparing personal experience with key concepts

  1. Have students write an answer to the following prompt for today’s activities: Describe a typical day for each member of your family. Be sure to tell at least three specific activities each member of your family is responsible for during the course of the day.
  2. Ask several students to share their responses.
  3. Explain to students that family dynamics have changed throughout history.
  4. Ask students, Why have family chores and activities changed throughout time? As students call out answers, create a written list on the board or chart paper.

By leading students through this questioning process, you give them conceptual information they will need to better understand how traditional male/female family roles have changed over time.

Activity one: Photograph analysis

  1. Place students in cooperative groups of three to four (depending on class size).
  2. Give each group a different copy of a hearth photo, a Magic Eye, and a picture analysis worksheet to record their observations.
  3. Give each group a piece of chart paper and have them list the three inferences they developed during the activity.
  4. Pull the class back together to debrief the activity. Have each group share their inferences.

Activity two: Socratic seminar

  1. Give students a copy of each image to be discussed during the seminar.
  2. Have the students analyze the images alone or in pairs and develop arguments in response to the following statements:
    • Women should return to the roles of homemakers and caregivers.
    • Life has changed for the better since the fireplace/hearth was the gathering place for families.
  3. Arrange desks or chairs into an inner and an outer circle. Have half of your students sit in the inner circle, and half in the outer one. Leave an empty seat in the inner circle. This is a “hot seat” (if anyone in the outer circle wants to answer a question or make a comment).
  4. Discuss rules for appreciating the opinions and feelings of every student. There can be no open discussion if students are concerned about being ridiculed or having their opinions dismissed.
  5. Have students write down their thoughts, comments, or questions about the photos they analyzed. (2-3 minutes)
  6. Partner Discussion: Pair students so they can discuss these notes with each other. (2-3 minutes)
  7. Students begin the seminar by sharing their partners’ comments and thoughts about the assignment in the inner circle. Those seated on the outer circle for the first half of the discussion may, if they choose, move to a hot seat to contribute to the discussion. Teachers may want to stimulate discussion by asking open-ended questions, such as those provided in the Socratic Seminar questions sheet. (15-20 minutes)
  8. For the second half of the discussion, students seated on the outer circle exchange seats with those who have begun on the inner circle.
  9. Closing comments: All students write down a closing comment about the discussion. Each student on the inner circle presents his or her closing comment to the group. (5-10 minutes)
  10. To conclude the lesson, the author recommends using one of the following activities, which allow students to express themselves creatively while demonstrating what they have learned during the unit:
    • Letter to a friend: Students will write a letter to a friend from the perspective of a person living in a specific time period by choosing one of the photographs they analyzed during the group or seminar activities. In the letter, students should describe life events as they would have occurred during that time period. Make sure the completed letter includes the following items, which can be used to create a rubric:
      • A clear understanding of the decade they are “living in” by a description of their home and daily life
      • Two or three activities performed by at least two other members of their family such as their mother, father, and brothers or sisters if they choose.
      • One or two events that actually occurred in history during that time period and their reactions.
      • Be free of spelling and grammar errors that confuse or interrupt the reader.
    • Postcard to a friend: Students will assume the role of a parent living in rural North Carolina during one of the picture time periods. They will write a postcard to their friend describing their life. Make sure the completed postcard includes the following items, which can be used to create a rubric:
      • How the chores/duties they perform helps their family
      • How their lives are different/better than their parents’ lives were.
      • Include accurate information.
      • Be free of spelling and grammar errors that confuse or interrupt the reader
      • Include a colorful picture on the front illustrating one of the facts they included on the back of the postcard.
    • “Then and now” poster: Students will create a poster to illustrate the images of family life as seen by early 1900s society and by today’s society. Make sure the completed poster includes the following items, which can be used to create a rubric:
      • Three or four pictures to illustrate both time periods. (may be drawn or cut from magazines)
      • Three or four written explanations of how family life has changed for the better or worse (student’s choice).
      • Be free of spelling and grammar errors that confuse or interrupt the reader.
    • Letter to the Editor: Students will assume the role of a concerned citizen living in 2009 North Carolina. They will write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper describing how family life has either changed for the better or the worse since women began working outside of the home. Make sure the completed letter includes the following items, which can be used to create a rubric:
      • At least three reasons why family life has improved or worsened since women left their traditional role as mother and homemaker.
      • Use quotes, phrases, or anecdotes from class activities to support their arguments.
      • State their opinion clearly and accurately.
      • Be free of spelling and grammar errors that confuse or interrupt the reader.

Critical vocabulary


  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 8

        • 8.H.3 Understand the factors that contribute to change and continuity in North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.3.1 Explain how migration and immigration contributed to the development of North Carolina and the United States from colonization to contemporary...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 8

  • Goal 7: The learner will analyze changes in North Carolina during the postwar period to the 1970's.
    • Objective 7.02: Evaluate the importance of social changes to different groups in North Carolina.