Lesson Plans: Teaching Local History
Too often when teaching the big picture in history, local stories are lost. Imagine students’ interest when they learn of Confederate officer, J.E. B Stuart’s raid in Burke, Virginia, or how German POWs were hired to work on farms in Fairfax County near the end of World War II because of a labor shortage.
Through the years, the story of General Braddock’s buried gold has captured the imagination of many a young Fairfax County resident.
Familiar places and names make studying the past more meaningful. Students get excited when they learn that Dolley Madison Boulevard was named after the route that Dolley Madison traveled, taking the portrait of George Washington when she was escaping the British invasion of Washington, DC.
The study of primary sources including newspapers such as The Alexandria Gazette and The Fairfax Herald or Matthew Brady’s Civil War photos of Fairfax enhance learning local history.
The following lesson plans encourage students to explore the past of their own backyards; then the big picture of history becomes easier for them to understand.
The Impact of Eminent Domain on Burke, Virginia
In 1951, the federal government appropriated private property in Burke, Virginia, to construct an international airport. Citizen protest defeated the proposed airport location, but only after many residents were forced to sell their property and relocate. The proposed airport raised important legal issues, particularly on the impact of eminent domain. Eminent Domain Worksheet PDF
Fairfax County Economy
From Native American hunters in the 1600s to today's officeworkers, how has the economy of Fairfax County changed over time? Read the essay and discussion questions: Fairfax County Economy: an Overview PDF
Names and Places
Where is this place and what is it called? Match names and places in Fairfax County using clues from history and today. Place Names PDF
Written by Mary Lipsey