Investigating a Shotgun House: "Who Knew Shelter Was So Emotionally Charged?"


Investigating a Shotgun House, a Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter case study, asks students to use multiple data sources (oral history, historical documents, architecture, and archaeology) to examine a single question: what can we learn about the lives of mid-20th century urban working-class people from the study of their homes? In this case, shotgun houses. Formal field testing in elementary school classrooms, and interviews with piloting teachers and their students documented that the unit is a highly motivating teaching tool that promotes deep conceptual understanding of basic historical, anthropological, and archaeological content, concepts, and methods while eliciting empathetic attention to issues of social justice, agency, and civic engagement. Our research also determined that the unit is an excellent model of an active learning, inquiry-based teaching approach. Inquiry-based teaching begins with a question, and requires content, data, analysis, thinking, and drawing conclusions to answer it. For many teachers and students, inquiry represents a major pedagogical paradigm shift. If deep conceptual understanding is a course goal, instructors should consider incorporating some aspect of an inquiry-based approach in their teaching. Our poster presents a brief overview of the unit, highlighting its inquiry approach and its social justice aspects. A mini lesson is provided.

Cite this Record

Investigating a Shotgun House: "Who Knew Shelter Was So Emotionally Charged?". A. Gwynn Henderson, Linda S. Levstik, M. Jay Stottman, Janie-Rice Brother. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445033)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -103.975; min lat: 36.598 ; max long: -80.42; max lat: 48.922 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21467