Description of the Lesson
The lesson was a living history tour of the Desert Queen Ranch in Joshua Tree National Park. The goal of the tour is to show how life and work was like during the height of the ranch in 1939. To do this, the tour utilized two park rangers, one who explained the process of the tour and the other who presented the ranch as if it were 1939.
The first ranger gave some background knowledge of the ranch and some interesting tidbits on the state of the world in 1939, such as the Best Picture Gone With the Wind and war in both Europe and Asia. She then explained how we were to be transported back to 1939 to work with a miner on the ranch, Henry, and since this was not a regular type of tour we could ask him opinionated questions that he would answer. She gave the example of a question to ask: "How do you feel about the Germans?"
Henry, then took us on a tour of the ranch as if we were his new hires. He explained the mining process in 1939 and how the Keys Family, the owners of the ranch, lived and made money. During the tour, if we came across something newer than 1939, he simply acted as if it did not exist. At the end of the tour he took off his helmet to signify we had been transported back to 2010 and could ask him questions about the family and the ranch after 1939.
Since this was a tour on a historical site, no technology was used during the presentation. He did refer to the artifacts and buildings of the ranch. His knowledge of the time also allowed him to answer specific questions such as, "How much will we be paid?" and "What would be a good stock to buy?" His strategy of lesson and question and answer allowed for a deeper understanding of the ranch and life in 1939. The tour used the model of inquiry allowing the guests to try and learn on their own by asking questions of the tour guide.
Analysis of the Theoretical Frames
Knowledge Giving and Facilitating
During much of the tour, the guide Henry was a knowledge giver. He would move the group to a location and provide a short narrative. As stated by Grant, "individuals and events [of Key's Ranch] are woven together into a master narrative and a series of dramatic stories."S.G. Grant, History Lessons: Teaching, Learning, and Testing in U.S. High School Classrooms, (New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003), 13. Our tour guide passed on historical information of facts about life on the ranch.
However, guests were still able to learn on their own as they asked specific questions to Henry who would answer them as if it were 1939. Through the questions and answers, guest "are active meaning makers, building understandings from their experiences and employing those understandings to refine and construct new understandings"Ibid., 32. of what life on a desert ranch was like during the 1930s and 40s.
Assessment of student Learning
Since this observation did not take place in a traditional classroom setting, finding a...