What items say about their owners
items contain a wealth of details about our lives. Items
saved for many years suggest strong attachments - not
always in a happy sense - to the items and perhaps to
the place and time the items bring to mind. For this
activity, students examine an image of a personal item
and interpret its use and meaning to its current and
the ability to examine history from the perspectives
of the participants (SS Benchmark I-D Performance
Describe primary and secondary sources and their uses
in research (SS Benchmark I-D; 9-12:3).
Examine an item from the collection
Evaluate the details of that item for historical clues
about the item's use and its owner
a vision of everyday life in prison camps from the
items POWs brought home
packet from Curriculum Resources, First Impression
National Archives (www.archives.gov/)
Library of Congress American Memory Project (http://memory.loc.gov/)
Reading Items worksheet, one for each group of students
(2-4 students per group).
Select a personal item from Battle for Bataan
Artifacts to demonstrate exercise (use the personal
items artifacts from the First Impressions lesson).
Display demonstration photograph via overhead projector
or other projection method. Model how to complete
the worksheet, facilitating responses from students.
Divide students into groups and distribute worksheets.
Have students examine an item and describe the story
it tells by completing the first impressions and second
look portion of the worksheet.
Students look for details that suggest aspects of
life as a POW. (Details section of the worksheet).
Students present their conclusions about their items
to the class. Discuss if the pictures of POW life
are consistent from the items examined.
will be assessed with the group
Invite each group to present their inferred
facts and discuss how these deductions led to an understanding
of the life of a Prisoner of War (POW). Discuss as a
class how much of these inferred facts are historically
perspective. Conduct an imaginary interview
with the original owner of the artifact. Ask the owner:
How the object was used? What can you tell us about
the wear marks on the item? Or why aren't there any
wear marks? Why did he or she save the item? Does it
seem peculiar that it was saved for so many years? Use
these answers to create a label for a museum display.
What represents you? Write about an
object you own or use that most represents you. What
would this object tell people 60 or 70 years from now
about your life? How would this represent your values
and your community?