This month EDSITEment spotlights an activity that many students take part in every summer: vacationing. Students are encouraged to use their summer travel experiences to learn about new places and document their understanding of what they encounter. Whether their destination is Colonial Williamsburg, or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, students can approach their new surroundings as explorers, transforming their vacation into an unforgettable experience they can share with others.
When taking a vacation, students can ask themselves:
These questions can set students on a path to understanding the historical and/or cultural significance of their vacation site.
The activities below will aid students in recording their travel experience and documenting various aspects of their destination while expanding their knowledge of explorers and travelers of the past.
Learn about the travels of Marco Polo and the new and interesting things he saw, through “Marco Polo and His Travels,” from the Silk Road Foundation from the EDSITEment-reviewed website, Ask Asia, then follow his route using the interactive map and questions.
Compare your trip with Marco Polo’s journey. Complete the provided PDF chart.
Grades 6–8: Keep a travel journal while on your vacation. In your travel journal, describe
You may have been bored driving in a cramped car all day or spending endless hours waiting in airports to board planes. If you think traveling today is hard, and sometimes not so fun, read about Harriet Palmer’s journey to the Oregon Territory in the 1850s. Although long, Harriet’s trip had plenty of excitement and adventure. You can complete the chart provided recording information about your trip, and think about how your journey compared with hers.
Would you recommend the trip you took to your friends or cousins? If so, you may want to use the provided brochure template to make a tourist guide of your vacation destination. Use the brochure to highlight your favorite activities and show others why this is a good place to take a vacation.
Pretend you’re the producer of a reality TV program, scouting out a location in the western United States for next season’s show. While looking for a site, you come across a pamphlet from the nineteenth century that promotes settlement in the Oregon Territory. What sort of information do you think this pamphlet would contain? Create the pamphlet using the brochure template provided. Be sure to include all the benefits of going west as well as the supplies needed for the journey.
When summer vacation is over and you return to school, you know one of your first writing assignments will be to describe your summer. Even if you stayed home, you may have discovered new things about where you live and experienced events that made you think differently about the place where you grew up.
Read Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago” for ideas on how to use your senses to write about the feelings a place invokes in you. Think about your vacation site or home town, and record your thoughts through the following:
Also through EDSITEment, students can travel virtually to many places both in the U.S. and around the world. They can:
Chicago children on train platform going to summer camp, 1905. Image courtesy of American Memory at the Library of Congress.