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  • In this activity, students will:
    • Visit several online web sites to look at examples of architecture in Frederick County
    • Examine and interpret a primary source document
    This activity is coordinated with the following MSPAP outcomes:
    • Reading Outcome:

      Students will demonstrate their ability to construct, extend, and examine meaning for a variety of texts by using strategic behavior and integrating both their prior knowledge and reading and topic familiarity.

    • Social Studies Outcomes:

      • Students will demonstrate an ability — individually or as part of a group — to gather information, think critically, and solve problems as needed to facilitate responsible decision-making, to understand complex ideas, and to generate new ideas.

        Grades K - 3: Obtain and use relevant information by reading, asking questions, observing, and listening; interact with others in groups to achieve common goals.

        Grades 4 - 5: Obtain, interpret, organize, and use information from reading, asking questions, observing, and listening; participate in a group in a variety of roles, such as leader, follower, member, encourager, facilitator, and recorder.

      • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the history, diversity, and commonality of the peoples of the world, the reality of human interdependence, the need for global cooperation, and a multicultural perspective.

        Grades K - 3: Explain how people from different cultures share common wants and needs; examine how people develop cultures through interaction with the environment and with other cultures.

        Grades 4 - 5: Analyze the characteristics of various cultures as evidenced in the development of Maryland and the U.S.


    The homes people choose to construct and live in reflect cultural choices. In colonial times, people worked with available building materials to recreate homes similar to those in the culture from which they emigrated, while showing some stamp of the new world into which these people came. In this way, homes can be seen not only as a mark of what the society from which they emerged values, but as an indication of how old traditions have been maintained and modified.

    You will need web access for this activity. If this is not available in your classroom, you can visit the sites yourself, print the needed pages, and duplicate them for your class.


    1. Duplicate Worksheet D for students. You will need three copies for each student. Visit and bookmark sites on student-accessible computers. If possible, place bookmarks in a separate folder for student use, with a title built around this activity. You can speed up this process by copying the bookmarks file to a disk and then transferring the file to each computer that students will be using.

    2. Explain to students that they are going to look back at different times in the history of Frederick County by examining the homes of that period to find out more about the culture that built these structures. Start this exploration by comparing some of the older homes in your community with more modern homes. How are they different? How are they the same? You could use a Venn diagram of intersecting circles to record student responses.

    3. Write the URLs for the sites students should visit on the board. (Explain that they are bookmarked on student-accessible computers if you have completed this for them.) Students can select three homes from this group. The sites are:

      This site is a general one, looking at homes and everyday life in colonial times and beyond

      The Beatty-Cramer House, believed to be the oldest in Frederick County; encourage students to follow the click-offs on this page to learn more details about the house

      A virtual visit to Schifferstadt, a home built in 1756, which shows the Germanic traditions of the county

      A virtual tour of Ceresville Mansion, built in 1888

      The building that currently houses The Historical Society of Frederick County is briefly looked at here and described in detail at http://www.mdinns.com/inns/fredcnty.htm

      A general description of many of the historic homes and sites in the area

    4. Explain that, as they visit each site, students should fill out a chart for each home. Some of the information is given at the site; other information can be gleaned from pictures of the homes.

    5. Divide the class into pairs or groups, and assign them a computer station to use in gathering the information.

    6. Bring the class together to share their information, and reflect on the kinds of cultural values and activities that the homes they visited virtually have to say. For example, how does the sturdy architecture of Schifferstadt reflect what the people who built it felt about their homes?

    7. As a concluding activity, direct students to write several diary entries from the point of view of the people who may have lived in one of these homes in the past.


     Built in . . .
     Built by . . .
     Other people who
      have lived here:

     Number of rooms:
     Number of windows:
     Size of windows:
     Number of fireplaces:
     Building materials used on
      the outside of the house

     Some architectural features:
     Decorative elements on
      the outside of the home:

     Other buildings located
      near the house

     Used today as a/an:


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