Objective: To collect, organize, and analyze primary and
secondary source information that documents a local office. (Students will
synthesize what they have learned to predict the office's organization and
functions in the year 2025.)
The preceding activities have helped your
students recognize the significance of evidence in interpreting and
understanding history. In this activity, the students will conduct research to
create a historical record, interpret the evidence they find, and extrapolate from
it to make projections about the future. Like curators in museums, the students
will observe and collect objects and try to interpret their meanings based on
Small groups of three or four students will
take field trips to visit offices in their community. Using the Research Guidelines students should prepare
for the trips by obtaining materials from the company and writing Interview Worksheets like the one supplied
in Lesson 3. On the field trip, teams of
students will conduct two formal interviews as well as informally question
other people. They will also sketch the physical layout of the office and its
contents. Later they will write summaries of the interviews, project how they
think the company they visited will change in twenty-five years, and write an
essay (of about 500 words) explaining their projections. Their final
presentation should include a set of materials documenting the company as it is
today, a complementary set of materials depicting the company in the year 2025,
and the explanatory essay. For example, using sketches and a computer, students
may prepare a product brochure like the actual brochure obtained from the
company, describing its products in the year 2025. The interview summaries will
describe an imaginary manager and subordinate in 2525, and so on.
Selection of site visits should receive
careful consideration. Small offices may be easier to sketch and inventory than
large ones; they may also be less interesting. On the other hand, a very large
office may simply exceed the limits of feasible investigation. Students may
find that focusing on one department or manageable work area within a larger
entity will offer the best opportunity for research.
1. Organize the class into small groups of at
least three but not more than four students.
2. Give each group two or three days to
decide on a company or organization to visit. The students' interviews in Lesson 3 may have identified some local
offices; or they may wish to use the telephone book or a local chamber of
commerce listing of local businesses for addresses and telephone numbers.
Suggest that each group determine its scheduling and transportation needs. As
most offices conduct business until 5 or 6 p.m., the field trip can be fit in
3. Have each group organize itself as a
research team based on the information they need to obtain (as described in the
Research Guidelines). Two students may be
responsible for interviewing, one for obtaining company literature and writing
up the essay, another for sketching the layout or preparing the inventory.
4. Set aside class time or suggest that
students arrange time to work on their presentation following the field trip.
Set a deadline for completion of the field trip and submission of documentary
and written materials.
5. Make copies of the Research Guidelines for each group. Allow
class time for students to ask questions and do preliminary planning.