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Overview | Preparation | Procedure | Evaluation

Lesson Procedure

Each team of students plans an itinerary to be followed on a world map, explores the methods of travel to arrive at their intended destinations, and explains what items of clothing and other personal belongings they would bring on their trip. Once they have finished preparations, they will simulate the journey itself as men and women of the 1890s by preparing an illustrated narrative of their experiences and their impressions of the places they have visited.

Students also compose three postcards addressed to the members of the Board of Trustees of the World's Transportation Commission (WTC). They evaluate the historical validity of these postcards from the point of view of a historian.

Finally, students design a presentation to illustrate their findings to the Board of Trustees. At the conclusion of all the presentations, each student plays a contemporary non-Westerner responding to the findings of the WTC and writes a letter to the members of the WTC commenting on his or her mission.

Step One: Research Background (2 classes - 1 for research, 1 for sharing summaries)

Divide students into teams of three, with each person a member of the World's Transportation Commission:

Travel Planner
Investigates modes of transportation and, room and board, and researches and plans the itinerary.

Investigates methods of photography in use in the 1890s and leads in the selection of images to be recorded.

Investigates the history of the World's Transportation Commission and William Henry Jackson and records the group's impressions of the trip.

Activity: Students individually prepare executive summaries of their research topics and share with other team members. The executive summary consists of:

  • a one-page abstract;
  • a glossary or outline of important information, and
  • a bibliography of sources consulted.

The summary is placed in the team folder and a paper copy is submitted.

Journal: What processes did you use to find the information? What problems did you encounter?


Step Two: Plan Itinerary (3 classes - 2 for planning itinerary, 1 for evaluating parter's proposal)

Teams plan the itinerary of their trip by choosing from the World's Transportation Commission Photographs - Trip Itinerary. Students MUST include:

  • purpose of trip;
  • countries to visit (minimum of four, maximum of six);
  • world map with countries and route plotted;
  • method(s) of travel they plan to use;
  • line budget listing items;
  • packing list, and
  • anticipated challenges.

Activity I: In teams, students design a proposed itinerary and submit it to the Board of Trustees of the World's Transportation Commission for approval.

The proposal answers the following questions:

  1. Why does your trip merit funding?
  2. What challenges do you anticipate encountering on your trip, and how will you overcome them?

Activity II: In teams, students take on the role of the World's Transportation Commission and evaluate another team's proposal. Use the following prompts as a guide:

  • Should the proposal be approved? Why or why not?
  • Respond with comments on the other team's proposal.
  • Include a one-paragraph summary of your findings.
  • Review your partner team's proposal by finding their team folder and recording your comments in their folder.

Journal: How did the planning process for this trip differ from planning a similar trip today?


Step Three: Tour the World (2 classes - 1 for choosing photographs, 1 for reviewing partner's photographs)

Using photographs from Around the World in the 1890s: Photographs from the World's Transportation Commission, 1894-1896, students choose images that best represent their experiences and impressions. These photographs become the visual images that are presented to the Board of Trustees upon return. Students must choose images from the following categories:

  • Children
  • Education
  • Fashion
  • Homes
  • Leisure activities
  • Local customs
  • Modes of transportation
  • Places of worship
  • Technology
  • Women
  • Work and workers

Activity I: Students individually choose images to make into postcards to send home to the Board of Trustees on the status of their trip. Each message must include:

  • a caption identifying the image;
  • proper citation (see Citing Electronic Sources); and
  • a message to the Board of Trustees explaining the significance of the image.

Students create a paper copy postcard by downloading the image and printing it. Students then submit their postcards to their partner team for review.

Activity II: As a team, and using the perspective of a historian today, students write a two-page critique of the postcards sent to them as role play members of the Board of Trustees.

For each postcard, students answer the following questions:

  1. Is this postcard a historically valid document? Why or why not?
  2. What does the postcard tell you about the Western point of view at the turn of the twentieth century?
  3. What is the significance of this image?

Journal: Why did you choose this image for the postcard?

Step Four: Present to the Board of Trustees (2-3 classes for presentations based on number of students)

Activity I: Each student writes a narrative report to the Board of Trustees which chronicles his or her experiences and impressions from the world tour. The narratives are illustrated with photographs from the collection which are linked to the text. The narrative focuses on:

  • how people live;
  • how people work;
  • how people play;
  • technology; and
  • modes of transportation.

Students submit their narratives by placing them in their team folder.

Activity II: Each team gives an oral presentation with an optional slideshow on its trip to the Board of Trustees. Each member of the team must participate and the presentation must include:

  • a description of the itinerary using a world map;
  • a description of the images and why they were selected;
  • an analysis of the student's findings as a member the World's Transportation Commission.

Activity III: Each student plays a contemporary non-Westerner responding to the findings of the World's Transportation Commission and writes a letter to the members of the World's Transportation Commission commenting on their mission.