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Teaching from the Grave

Cemeteries are accessible primary sources that exist in virtually every community. They refl ect the hopes and disappointments of the former residents as well as their successes and shortcomings. To a student of history they provide specifi c information that can be collated and analyzed to uncover the life patterns of residents at specifi c times. This unit is a guide to the use of the cemetery resources for middle school students. Students should do preliminary historic research on the development of their community. The visit to the graveyard should be used to generate enthusiasm among the students. The preliminary research will alert the youngsters to the past members of the community and some of their stories. The succeeding lessons will carry the researchers through the analysis process and hopefully generate specifi c questions about the community. The data can then be grouped to answer these questions. Through this process new insights into the community’s past can be developed.
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