Library Digital Content Access

School Museum

Created By: Kay Grabow, Thomas Paine Elementary School (Urbana, IL)
Grade Level: 4th
Content Area: Social Studies
Database Integration: Students will search the TDC database for images which illustrate aspects of school life from the time of the historic Indians of Illinois to the present.

Illinois Learning Standards Achieved

Standard Achieved

Activity that Meets this Standard

State Goal 16: Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois the United States and other nations

Students will research, and choose for study, individuals who have made a significant contribution to the history of Illinois. They will place these individuals on a time line.

Students will research information about what school was like in the time and place of each of the selected individuals.

State Goal 18: Understand social systems with an emphasis on the United States.

Students will develop a list of questions about schools. They will research the time in history of each of the individuals they have selected in order to answer as many questions as they can about the schools of the time.

They will make comparisons of schools from various times and locations within what is now Illinois.


Computer with Internet access, print materials for history reference, scanner, Kraft paper for making time line, clothing items which approximate that of individuals studied.


  1. Students choose individuals who have made contributions to development of Illinois, including earliest Indians for which information is available; French traders and trappers; British inhabitants; pioneers; leaders in industry; agriculture; education; and government.
  2. Students order the individuals by time.
  3. Students develop a list of questions about schools for which they want to find answers , e.g. "Who could go to school or had to go to school?" "Where was school held" "What school supplies were available?" "Who taught the students?" "Were there grades and report cards?"
  4. Students use Internet and print resources to find answers to questions about schools in Illinois during the time of the cited individuals.
  5. Students search the TDC database for images, which support and illustrate their information about schools.
  6. Students scan images and affix them to a time line which reaches 30 feet or more in the hallway.
  7. Students dress as the individuals they have chosen and stand in the hallway by the appropriate spot on the time line.
  8. Classes and parents are invited to the "School Museum." As visitors pass by, students give information such as, "I am So and So. I contributed to the development of Illinois by...... I lived in Piatt County in 1900. In my time students went to school in one-room school houses. They had only one teacher for all grades. This (point to image) is an example of what my report card might have looked like. Here is a picture of the kind of slate I used."


Each student should be able to give at least one fact about the individual he represents, and at least two facts about the schools of the time and location. Additionally, he should be able to compare and contrast the school of his chosen time/location with one other.