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Tales of Truman's Travels Fifty Years Ago

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
two weeks
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Developing research skills in third graders using Truman's extensive travels as a jumping off point

In connection with our Project WhistleStop goal of having a project related to the 1948 campaign, our third grade class decided to develop an e-mail project to find information about the 1948 campaign at various locations where Truman visited and to gather personal stories from people in those areas as to what life was like then and what they remembered about Truman's visit to their home town. The information would be compiled for a presentation at a display at the Truman Library and for the Project WhistleStop web site Truman Trivia project. Our class was responsible for providing the content for 14 days

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

This lesson will introduce student to researching skills using different resources available to them on the computer.

Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • The student will learn how our country has changed in the last fifty years.
  • The student will learn the changes in ecosystems in the different areas of the United States, and the organisms that live in different ecosystems.
  • The students will be writing and evaluating communication with different areas of the United States using the United States Mail and computers.
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Missouri Standards

2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)



Kansas Standards


Benchmark 4: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

2. (A) examines multiple primary sources to understand point of view of an historical figure.

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed

Truman Trunk

Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?

We had used Truman’s Trunk for several weeks as background preparation to learn about Truman’s life. We had done a KWL, and studied about President Truman using the WhistleStop Site on the computers and other material.

Each student wrote several letters to different newspapers in the United States where President Truman visited on his WhistleStop Campaign. (See list of campaign speeches and sites visited) The students stated they were interested in knowing if anyone in their area had met President Truman and his family, also what life was like in the forties, and they wanted to know about the animals, land, and climate of their area.

The students stated they wanted to learn about history through real people, not just from history books. They asked them to E-mail us, phone, or write us a letter.

The response was great!!! We got all three types of communications. and we would locate on the map where the communication was from and the students kept a journal of interesting information they received. They used this information received for the two weeks that our class was featured with the Trivia on the WhistleStop Site.

Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide

Students prepared a backboard presentation for a major display at the Truman Library focusing on the 1948 Campaign. The opportunity to showcase at this event was a special experience. We also have included the project in electronic file form. Students also published on the web daily for two weeks the information they had received.