- Show photographic images of the Gilded Age (see
- Students take notes on the images, in pairs, on provided
notesheet (see Materials)
They were simply to write down what they noticed about
This worked well, in that they noticed more, I believe,
because they did not know what I was going to ask them to
do with what they found. What did not work so well is that
it took longer than I had hoped. Next time I would reduce
the number of slides from 25 to 15. Another possibility
would be that the students could view the slides on their
own; however, I think that they gained more from it doing
it at the same time, as we, obviously, did some whole class
discussion of the slides as we went along.
- When they were done, I asked, "Do these pictures
show a democratic society?"
This surprised them. I think that it is safe to say that
no one had expected that question. Several blurted out "yes"
and several said "no". One student said, "What
does democracy have to do with it?" It ended up being
quite a wonderfully frustrating conversation, in which I
played a very small role. I simply prodded them with questions
(such as, if YES, then "why and how is it?" and
if NO, then "what would it need in order to be?"
and "are these conditions the result of a democracy?'.