The primary objective of this unit is to teach history. The goal is to spark an interest in the subject by presenting a general picture of the continuous development of New Haven as part of Connecticut history. It is designed to emphasize visual memory and to utilize visual arts skills. Depending on how the unit is used, the time element may be open-ended. It can be taught as an enrichment to the Sixth Grade study of Connecticut history or it can be presented as an art course and would be equally appropriate for 7th & 8th grades.
The unit is divided into four major periods of architectural styles. They are in chronological order and serve as the basis for a time line which will be embellished by the accompanying narrative of historical events of the period.
It is necessary to say here that the dates I have used to describe the four architectural periods were determined by Carole Rifkind in
A Field Guide
Although, I have taken the liberty to begin the Colonial Period in 1638 when the New Haven Colony was founded. They are difficult, if not impossible, to fix precisely because no one period ended abruptly for another to begin. Therefore, the dates may seem general and overlapping was unavoidable. Few structures are “pure” in their architectural style, having borrowed from many influences. Most do reflect a dominant style in their design. But these are not points to belabor, better to present a picture of the on-going process of change and give the students a sense of their part in the continuum.
I have included information meant to capture the imagination, perhaps the students will be able to see themselves in the situations described. Rather than targeting rote memory, my objectives are to develop skills in observation and description, to create an understanding of the relationships of one part of history to another.
The large number of slides are included to implement the emphasis on the visual mode of learning. Descriptions of the slides are presented in viewing order. Lesson plans for specific activities, a vocabulary list of architectural terms, suggestions for field trips and other activities are also included.