HS – Is That a Mastodon?! A Case Study in Civic Responsibility

Hill-Stead workers and overseer Allen Cook, ca. 1913

by Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington, CT


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Science, Historic Preservation, Exploration and Discovery
Theme
Civic Engagement
Town
Farmington, Washington, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Archaeology, Ice Age, Mastodon, Local History, Civic Duty, Historic Preservation, Debate
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – Civics and Government

Historical Background
In 1913 a mastodon skeleton was accidentally discovered on the grounds of the Pope estate (Hill-Stead) in Farmington, Connecticut. This activity takes that historic event as inspiration for a classroom debate based on a fictional case study and a discussion about civic responsibility and preservation.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

To what extent are we, as citizens and communities, responsible for scientifically and/or historically significant finds on public property?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • How do we best preserve animal remains such as dinosaurs, Ice Age animals, and other animal specimens, which are not affiliated with any particular group of people?
  • Who should be responsible for the physical and financial maintenance of these specimens?
  • What is our responsibility to ensure finite resources, such as the skeletons of extinct animals, are available for future generations?
  • To what extent is the discussion different if the find is a man-made artifact rather than a natural specimen?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

For Part I: Debate

page Download the Perspectives for Debate pdf
Mastadon skeleton on display
Mastodon skeleton on display at the Institute for American Indian Studies.

For Part II: The Pope Hill-Stead Mastodon

Museum men with Hill-Stead helpers, overseer Allan Cook
“Museum men with Hill-Stead helpers, overseer Allan Cook in lower right,” ca. September, 1913 – Institute for American Indian Studies

 

Yale-Peabody Preparator Mr. Darby posing with the tibia and fibula
Yale-Peabody Preparator Mr. Darby posing with the tibia and fibula articulated together, ca. 1913 – Institute for American Indian Studies

 

Hill-Stead workers and overseer Allen Cook, ca. 1913
Hill-Stead workers and overseer Allen Cook (far right), ca. 1913. Worker on far left is holding the left humerus. The mandible is resting on a barrel in the center. Worker next to Mr. Cook is holding the second vertebra from the skull, axis – Institute for American Indian Studies

 

Yale-Peabody Preparator Mr. Darby wrapping a bone in plaster before transport
Yale-Peabody Preparator Mr. Darby wrapping a bone in plaster before transport to New Haven, CT, ca. 1913 – Institute for American Indian Studies
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Part I: Debate

This activity involves a debate around the following fictional scenario. A complete mastodon skeleton has been unearthed in your town, on town-owned property, and a decision must be made as to who will care for it and where it will be stored. There are parameters which must be met in order to properly maintain the condition of the mastodon.

  • The bones are very large and will require a considerable amount of storage space, roughly 300 square feet. An image of a mastodon skeleton on display is included in the toolkit to give students a sense of the size of these bones and the space that they take.
  • It is important to note that these are bones and not fossils. The bones must be kept at a consistent temperature and humidity level to prevent cracking and slow decomposition.
  • The bones must be covered to prevent dust or debris from entering any cracks or imperfections within the bones, which would cause the cracks/imperfections to enlarge.
  • Each bone must be periodically examined and checked for any developing deterioration, which would need to be addressed by qualified professionals as soon as possible, or the bones will begin to decay.

Since the remains were found on town land, they belong to the town, and the town must decide what to do with them. Students will research and argue a variety of viewpoints (See Perspectives for Debate document) in a town meeting-style debate. The goal of this activity is to have students decide on the best course of action, knowing that the specimen will require continual maintenance and monitoring in order to preserve it indefinitely and that this will have an impact on town resources.

There are two options for setting up the debate:

Option 1) Assign students to specific roles that they will research and represent in a town hall-style debate, with the goal of convincing a majority of the class to vote on a specific course or plan of action.

Option 2) Assign students to specific roles, but have another class act as town members in a town hall-style debate. At the end of this debate the “town members” will vote on the course of action they found the most convincing.

Part II: The Pope Hill-Stead Mastodon

The second part of this activity involves an exploration of the true historical incident that inspired the fictional debate, the accidental discovery in 1913 of a mastodon skeleton on the grounds of the Pope estate (Hill-Stead) in Farmington, Connecticut. A selection of historic photographs from the excavation and a short history of the Pope Hill-Stead mastodon are included in the toolkit above. After familiarizing themselves with the Pope Hill-Stead case, students will discuss how finding a mastodon skeleton in 1913 might have been different than finding one today and what questions are raised if a specimen is discovered on private property, rather than public property.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Cultural preservation has taken many different forms over the course of our history. At one time, private individuals had almost free rein to collect and/or display objects of interest in whatever way they saw fit. The struggle between what is considered “progress” and safeguarding the past often pitts developers against preservationists. The rights of Native Americans to retain their cultural material (including human remains) was not officially recognized until the later part of the 20th century. There is now a growing understanding, however, that multiple perspectives need to be considered when making decisions about preserving our diverse history and culture.

Have students investigate two federal laws in place for the protection of cultural materials in the United States: the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990.

Federal law does not currently address the preservation of extinct animals, such as the mastodon in this case study. Using what they have learned through this activity and their investigations of the two existing federal laws, have students draft a letter to a legislator arguing whether or not animal specimens should be protected by preservation laws as well.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles & Books to READ

Grade 3 – Exploring Communities: Using Historic Maps to Learn about the Past


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Architecture, Environment, The State
Theme
Using Evidence to Learn About the Past
Town
Bridgeport, Canton, Danbury, East Haddam, Hartford, Killingly, Madison, New Haven, New London, NorwichThomaston, Vernon, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Map, Geography, Communities, Local History, Architecture, Landmarks, Insurance
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 3 – Connecticut & Local History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

Why do our communities look the way they do today?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS

In what ways has our community’s past shaped how it looks today?

How has geography affected our community over time?

How have science, technology, and innovation affected communities?

D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

An example of a Sanborn map titled Insurance maps of Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut by the Sanborn Map Company, 1904 -
An example of a Sanborn map titled Insurance maps of Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut by the Sanborn Map Company, 1904 – Yale University, Sterling Memorial Library, Connecticut Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Use the Yale University Library website–Connecticut Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps— to select and download a Sanborn fire insurance map to fit your teaching goals (you can look at the maps in your browser, but downloading the high-quality PDFs will enable students to make out more details).

You may choose just one map from your town or a nearby town, if you wish to focus on your own community, or select a few maps to show different types of environments—large cities, medium-sized towns, or smaller towns—if your focus is on urban, suburban, and rural communities. Note that many (but not all) Connecticut towns are represented in Sanborn maps. Here are a few samples from around the state:

Sanborn fire insurance maps were first published in 1867 to show how great a risk of fire there was in any town or city. The maps include all of the buildings in town, colored-coded to show what materials were used to build them (mostly “frame”/wood, brick, or stone). The maps also include important public buildings (government buildings, theaters, churches, schools, etc.), street names, and additional information. For larger cities, the maps take up several pages, like an atlas. For some communities, they are the most detailed maps available from the late 1800s to early 1900s. They are a great source of information about the past for historians–young and old!

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Using the Library of Congress’s Primary Source Analysis process, give students time to examine each of the maps you have selected, and ask them to OBSERVE, REFLECT, and QUESTION. For larger towns, you may want to start with the “title page” and then also look at a downtown detail page and one from farther outside the city center.

  1.  Observe: What do you notice first? What information does the map provide? What geographic elements are included? Which way is north/south/east/west and how do you know? Are there words on the map?
  2. Reflect: What do you think was important to the people who made this map? Does the map give us any clues about the time in which it was made? If you are familiar with this town today, what is the same and what is different? Or how is the town shown in this map similar to or different from your own?
  3. Question: What does this map make you wonder?
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  1. Imagining they are cartographers/map-makers, students will think about their own town and develop a list of all of the special places (public buildings, landmarks, public spaces, etc.) that should be included in a new map of town.
  2. Students will try their hand at making a map using rulers and graph paper. Making a map of the classroom is an easy project to start with; if your room has floor tiles, students can use those to mark out the dimensions on the graph paper.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Articles & Books to READ

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HS – The Civilian Conservation Corps in Connecticut

by Edward Dorgan
Lewis S. Mills High School, Burlington


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Environment, Work
Theme
The Role of Connecticut in U.S. History
Town
Statewide
Related Search Terms
Civilian Conservation Corps, Roosevelt’s Tree Army, Great Depression
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How did the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) impact Connecticut?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What was the purpose of the CCC?
  • Where were CCC camps built in Connecticut?
  • What types of work did the CCC workers do?
  • How did the CCC program change the lives of Connecticut’s “CCC boys”?
  • What are the lasting results (the legacy) from the CCC program in Connecticut?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

A map of CCC camps in Connecticut during the Great Depression. The color of the map pins denotes the year the camps were opened: Blue – 1933, Orange – 1935. Also, some of the pins include photographs showing the CCC boys and examples of the work they completed as part of this New Deal program.

pageIn addition, you can download a  list of all 20 of the CCC camps in Connecticut– their locations, when they were built, when they closed, and the names of the state parks or forests today.

connecticut-map

Physical map of Connecticut (includes locations of state’s major cities).

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

The activity follows a study of FDR’s first 100 days in office and the passage of a number of New Deal programs by the U.S. Congress.

  1. Students study the map of the CCC camps in Connecticut established in the 1930s and examine a physical map of the state to determine the significance (if any) of the location of the camps.
  2. Next, students will examine photographs of some CCC camps in Connecticut and of “CCC boys” in the 1930s. For help guiding students in the examination of photographs, use the Library of Congress’s Teacher’s Guide for Analyzing Photographs & Prints.
  3. Using the maps, photographs, and additional primary and secondary materials available online (see suggestions below), students will answer supporting and compelling questions about the role and impact of the CCC program in Connecticut.
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Option 1: Students will create a CCC recruitment poster for young men in Connecticut at the time of the Great Depression.

Option 2: Students will compose a letter to their state representative reflecting on the accomplishments of the CCC programs in Connecticut and advocating for the creation of modern day CCC programs to reduce unemployment for today’s young adults in our state.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT

Grade 3 – Connecticut Whaling and Maritime History


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Business & Industry
Theme
Using Evidence to Learn About the Past
Town
Mystic, a village in the towns of Groton and Stonington, New London, Norwich, Stamford
Related Search Terms
Whaling, Natural Resources, Mystic Seaport
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 3
– Connecticut & Local History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How have Connecticut’s maritime products and industries contributed to the history of America?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • How have Connecticut’s natural resources influenced the development of our state and its contribution to American history?
  • How did industries such as whaling, manufacturing, and technology create Connecticut’s history and contribute to America’s story?
  • Historically, what goods made in Connecticut have we traded elsewhere?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

right whale 1
Cutting in a right whale: View 1 – Mystic Seaport for Educators
right whale 2
Cutting in a right whale: View 2 -The Cutting In Stage – Mystic Seaport for Educators
right whale 3
Cutting in a right whale: View 3 – Hoisting the Head Mystic Seaport for Educators

This series of photographs were taken in 1903. They document the harvesting, cutting, and hoisting aboard of parts of a right whale onto the whaling bark the California. From these photographs we see the importance of the ship and the sailors as valuable resources in the whaling process, as well as the whale oil and baleen being harvested.

Shipping, shipbuilding, and whaling play a large role in New England and Connecticut history, helping to spark the Industrial Revolution in New England.

New Bedford became known as “The City That Lit the World,” and New London was the third-largest whale oil port in the United States. The whaling industry also depopulated whales in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

In small groups, ask students to closely examine the series of three pictures and discuss:

  • What is happening in the photographs?
  • How can they tell? What do they see? Where is the evidence?

The pictures are a series showing a right whale being taken from the Atlantic Ocean and harvested for its resources.

Have students in groups discuss and research as necessary:

  • What is being gained from this harvest?
  • What are the valuable resources in the pictures?
  • What effect do these Connecticut sailors and the whaling industry have on the rest of the country?
  • How did Connecticut’s contribution to the whaling industry affect the way the world viewed America at the time?
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

In groups, have students design a new flag for the state of Connecticut to reflect our maritime history, and present their new flag to the class explaining and justifying each of the elements they included on the flag.

  • Identify each symbol or design included on the flag.
  • What is the significance of each element?
  • Why did they choose to include these particular symbols?
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 3 – Economic Development: Saugatuck’s Development Over Time

by Lauren Francese
Westport Public Schools, Westport


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Arts, Business & Industry, Transportation
Theme
Influence of Geography on the Social, Political, and Economic Development of CT Towns and the State
Town
Westport, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Westport, Progress, Transportation, Art, Lambdin
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 3 – Connecticut & Local History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

In what ways has one town, and Connecticut, changed and/or stayed the same over time?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • In what ways have bodies of water shaped the development of Connecticut over time?
  • What has motivated innovations in transportation throughout Connecticut’s history?
  • How does an artist tell a story?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Saugatuck in the 19th Century by Robert Lambdin - Westport Public Schools
Saugatuck in the 19th Century by Robert Lambdin – Westport Public Schools

This painting is titled, “Saugatuck in the 19th Century.” It depicts Saugatuck as part of Connecticut river commerce and manufacturing. The artist, Robert Lambdin, was a Westport resident who created the mural for the Westport Bank & Trust Company’s Saugatuck branch when it opened in 1970.

It shows the various types of transportation and methods of trade that developed throughout the 19th century. A few of the landmarks in the painting are still standing today, including the original firehouse and the swing bridge and train depot.

While the painting emphasizes the 19th century, the artist included I-95, which was a 20th-century development. However, the framing of the mural with the I-95 overpass creates an interesting dynamic within the mural as a way to think about economic progress.MuralLegendPicture

-Legend for Mural copy

This is a legend for the mural to show the locations represented.

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Introduce the painting and ask students to SEE, THINK, WONDER.

  • What do they SEE in the mural?
  • What does this mural make them THINK about?
  • What does this mural make them WONDER?

SEE: Make observations about the mural.
THINK: Make connections using background knowledge.
WONDER: Ask questions about the mural.

Introduce “economics” and vocabulary terms: buyers, sellers, and trade.
WHO TRADES? (nearly everyone)
PEOPLE TRADE BECAUSE… (people trade because they expect to gain)
PEOPLE MAKE CHOICES ABOUT TRADING BASED ON… (what they want, want more, or don’t want at all)

What questions from the list of things you wondered might help us to explore the economic activity/trade in the mural? (Students can work here to identify and prioritize questions)

Who is trading in the mural? What is being traded? What different types of transportation are people using to trade?

What questions would they ask the artist to better understand the mural? How might we find clues or helpful information to learn more about the message within this mural?


 

Research the Art! What time periods are reflected in the painting? Assign students to research the following modes of transportation or industries that are represented in the painting (inquiry circles may be used here too). Have students place these innovations on a timeline in the classroom.

  • Sailing Vessel
  • Steamboat
  • Railroad
  • Horse and carriage
  • Highways
  • Bank
  • Button Making
  • Saugatuck Manufacturing
  • Doscher Plane Company
  • Wakeman Mattress and Cushion Company
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

In groups, have students create a new title for the painting and explain their rationale for the title. Then, ask students to add to the timeline of transportation (what comes next?) and make predictions about how they would change the painting to reflect their ideas about the future.

  • Why did they choose this title?
  • Why is this painting important for understanding how Westport and other Connecticut communities changed over time?
  • How will the changes they predict for the future of transportation shape the way people live in Westport and other Connecticut communities?

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 8 – The Inventions of A. A. Hotchkiss And Sons

by Rosemary Davis
Sharon Historical Society, Sharon


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Business & Industry, Invention & Technology, Civil War
Theme
The Role of Connecticut in U.S. History
Town
Sharon, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Manufacturing, Industrialization, Hardware, Firearms, Munitions, Projectiles
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How did Sharon, Connecticut, manufacturers A. A. Hotchkiss and Sons contribute to major innovations in U.S. history?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What inventions patented by the Hotchkiss family were used throughout the United States?
  • What industries existed in Sharon, Connecticut, that made it a good place to manufacturer hardware such as home and farm items?
  • What major war in U.S. history used a Hotchkiss invention and led to the Hotchkiss factory moving out of Sharon, Connecticut? Why was it necessary to leave Sharon?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Items made in Asahel Hotchkiss' factory east of Mudge Pond brook. Among the included are currycombs, a horse bit, hasp, mowing machine teeth, nails, bolts, nuts and an ox bow pin. How many can you identify? - Sharon Historical Society
Items made in Asahel Hotchkiss’ factory east of Mudge Pond brook. Among the included are currycombs, a horse bit, hasp, mowing machine teeth, nails, bolts, nuts and an ox bow pin. How many can you identify? – Sharon Historical Society
Classic wrench invented by Andrew Hotchkiss.  Patented under # 8922 Andrew's design has served as the prototype for numerous adjustable wrenches - Sharon Historical Society
Classic wrench invented by Andrew Hotchkiss. Patented under # 8922 Andrew’s design has served as the prototype for numerous adjustable wrenches. – Sharon Historical Society
Hotchkiss exploding shells patented by Andrew Hotchkiss.   - Sharon Historical Society
Hotchkiss exploding shells patented by Andrew Hotchkiss. – Sharon Historical Society
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Students can examine the Hotchkiss inventions in the context of more in-depth questions, such as:

  • Is America a land of political, economic, and social opportunity?
  • What was the significance of Connecticut’s contribution to America’s story?

Students can also use the inventions and the larger story of the Hotchkiss company moving from Sharon to analyze reasons for economic growth in Connecticut in the 19th century and ways that Connecticut contributed to the growth and expansion of the nation. Evaluate the history of individual cities and towns in the 19th century and analyze reasons for economic and/or social change in individual towns during this period.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Students could engage in a debate about the role of innovation in war time. Students could also create a presentation examining the Hotchkiss inventions from geographical (Why was Sharon a good place for innovation?), social (How did farm and home hardware improve everyday life?), and political (What was the contribution of the Hotchkiss shell to the Civil War?) perspectives.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 8 – The Iron Industry of Northwest Connecticut

by Rosemary Davis
Sharon Historical Society, Sharon


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Business & Industry, Invention & Technology
Theme
The Impact of Geography on History
Town
Salisbury, Sharon, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Geography, Industrialization, Iron, Furnace, Ore, Pig Iron
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

Would there have been a thriving iron industry in Connecticut without the geological and geographical advantages of the northwest corner?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • Why was the geography of the northwest corner critical to the success of Connecticut’s iron industry?
  • Why did Connecticut’s iron industry fail?
  • What might have happened to the development of the northwest corner of Connecticut had the men that owned the iron furnaces decided to become steel producers?
  • How did the geographical location of Connecticut’s iron industry affect the development of transportation routes into and out of the state?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Men working as molders in Sharon Valley. Note the unusual variety of tools used for the compacting of special sand for casting the iron. Note: the children are not just visiting they are part of the work force. - Sharon Historical Society
Men working as molders in Sharon Valley. Note the unusual variety of tools used for the compacting of special sand for casting the iron. Note: the children are not just visiting they are part of the work force. – Sharon Historical Society
The Sharon Valley Iron Company furnace in 1875. Note the stacks of pig iron in the foreground and beyond the tree to the left. To the upper right stand the charcoal sheds. At the same level is the elongated casting shed running into the main building to the top of the thirty-four-foot-high blast furnace.  Above the unseen furnace is the top house extending sixty-eight feet above ground.  To the far left is the blast house with an overshot waterwheel powering pumping tubs through the visible pipe to the top house to heat the blast. The casting shed, center front, contains the sand beds where the white-hot iron formed into pigs and cooled. - Salisbury Association
The Sharon Valley Iron Company furnace in 1875. Note the stacks of pig iron in the foreground and beyond the tree to the left. To the upper right stand the charcoal sheds. At the same level is the elongated casting shed running into the main building to the top of the thirty-four foot high blast furnace. Above the unseen furnace is the top house extending sixty-eight feet above ground. To the far left is the blast house with an overshot waterwheel powering pumping tubs through the visible pipe to the top house to heat the blast. The casting shed, center front, contains the sand beds where the white-hot iron formed into pigs and cooled. – Salisbury Association
Account Book, Coal, Sharon Valley Iron Co., 1887-1892. - Sharon Historical Society
Account Book, Coal, Sharon Valley Iron Co., 1887-1892. – Sharon Historical Society
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Using the above primary and secondary source materials, the book, Echoes of Iron in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner, and accompanying video, “Visions of Iron,” students will plot out the geographical locations of materials critical to the success of Connecticut’s iron industry: rivers, forests for the production of charcoal, lime deposits, and iron ore deposits. Once the data has been plotted, students will develop hypotheses as to why the iron industry failed, and what actions could have been taken to foster its long-term success. Using these arguments, students will determine how the character of the northwest corner may have been changed as a result.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Plan a mock town meeting on one of the following topics: the possibility of building more iron furnaces across the region; the conversion of cold blast furnaces to hot blast furnaces; bringing major railroad lines closer to the furnace locations; etc.
  • Using online resources develop an interactive map.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 3 – Hartford: Then and Now

Map of Pioneer Hartford produced in 1927

by Laura Krenicki
William J. Johnston Middle School, Colchester


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Environment, Exploration and Discovery
Theme
Influence of Geography on the Social, Political, and Economic Development of CT Towns and the State
Town
Hartford, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Colonial, Hartford, Map, Pequot, Pioneer, Geography, Local History
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 3 – Connecticut & Local History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

In what ways has Hartford, Connecticut, changed and/or stayed the same over time? 

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • How were local landmarks and neighborhoods named?
  • Why were specific individuals in your community honored through monuments or memorials, and how did they affect the history of your town, state, and country?
  • What historical events occurred in your town/city?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson (click on map for larger image).

The Map of Pioneer Hartford: Founded 1636, Incorporated 1784, Showing Early Landmarks and the Locations of Historical Events, ca. 1927 by James and Ruth Goldie - Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division
“The Map of Pioneer Hartford: Founded 1636, Incorporated 1784, Showing Early Landmarks and the Locations of Historical Events”, ca. 1927 by James and Ruth Goldie – Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

The Map of Pioneer Hartford

Hartford, named after the English town of Hertford, was established in 1636. Though Rev. Thomas Hooker is credited with starting the English colony, there was already a Dutch settlement and Native American settlements in the same region. In fact, the state name Connecticut originates from the Mohegan word quonehtacut, meaning “place of long tidal river,” which runs alongside Hartford. This colonial map of Hartford shows how different cartographers (map makers) view space and place. Here, you’ll notice there are few streets, but there are landmarks and family names.

"Hartford Settlement, 1636" map created from two separate maps, originally published in The Colonial History of Hartford by Rev. William DeLoss Love, 1811, on the website Kenyon Street: Hartford's West End.
“Hartford Settlement, 1636” map created from two separate maps, originally published in The Colonial History of Hartford by Rev. William DeLoss Love, 1811, on the website Kenyon Street: Hartford’s West End.

Hartford Settlement, 1636

There are several Native American references on the map. Can your students spot them all? Several groups of Native Peoples lived in the Hartford area, and they have a strong cultural heritage in our state (For more info: Pequot Museum). In fact, many Native Peoples died when Europeans settled in the area because of exposure to new diseases. Using the CDC.gov website, have students find areas of the world requiring immunizations for travelers. Why are immunizations important?

University of Connecticut's, Map and Geographic Information Center - Hartford, CT Historical Places Map Mash-up
University of Connecticut’s, Map and Geographic Information Center – Hartford, CT: Historical Places Map Mash-up

Mash-up map

Over time, more maps were made of Hartford and more details were added as the community grew larger. In the upper left corner of the map is a drop-down menu. Choose one of the maps in the drop-down menu to compare to the map listed above. What questions do you have about the two maps? For more information, you may wish to check out this website: Map of the Week! #3 Hartford in 1640 and 1893

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Have students notice how the map is oriented.

  • Which way is north?
  • How can they tell?
  • Which way does the Connecticut River flow?

The founding of Hartford was dependent on the Connecticut River.

  • Why was the river so important then?
  • How is it important to Hartford now?

For further consideration:

  • How important is scale on a map?
  • If they were to use this Pioneer Map of Hartford, how close would things seem?
  • How might this be misleading if students were going to walk from Soldier’s Field to West Field?
  • How did these places get their names?
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Have students create a personal map from their house to your school. Have students ask their families to see how their community has changed over time.

As a class discussion, consider these questions:

  • What things would you think are important to include in your map?
  • What details or landmarks would you include in your map and what would you leave off?
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ