One exciting way to look at history is to study the people who shaped it. In this activity, you and each of your classmates will choose five individuals who made the world a better place during the 20th century. Then, in a single database, you'll combine information about their lives, accomplishments, and the historical events that influenced their work.
Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan.
Note teachers: Please download the student activity handouts located in the sidebar under Software and Materials Needed, for additional details about the main activities for this lesson plan.
Step 1: Giants research
Software: Office Access and bing.com or other online encyclopedia
What to do: Gather pictures and basic information about your five history makers
Think about the greatest achievements of the 20th century, in any field of human endeavor. Who made them happen? What names come to mind? Thomas Edison? Madame Curie? John Lennon? Mother Teresa? Pick five people whose accomplishments you admire most or about whom you would like to learn more.
Using bing.com or other online encyclopedia, search for images and information about the men and women you've chosen. The sites listed above will help you get started on the Web. Request permission to reproduce images if permission is not explicitly given in the source. Cite all of the sources that you use.
Use the Office Access form that your teacher has created to collect information about each person, including area of influence, and the decade and nature of his or her major contribution(s).
When you enter information in the Name and Decade fields, it will appear blue and underlined. These are hypertext links, but they won't work properly until you connect them to their appropriate destinations in Step 4 (below).
Find a picture of each of your chosen history makers and include it the Office Access record. To insert the image into the form take the following steps:
Click in the Picture frame to select it.
Go to the Insert menu, and choose Object.
In the Insert Object dialog box, select
Create from File. Then use the Browse button to locate the image you have saved so that the path to that image appears in the File box.
Click the Link check box, and then click OK.
Step 2: Get personal
Software: Office Word and bing.com or other online encyclopedia
What to do: Research and write short biographies of your history makers
- As a class, create a list of all the people represented in your database. Your teacher will help you divide the list evenly among all the students in your class.
- Use bing.com or other online encyclopedia to research and write short biographies on the individuals assigned to you (no more than one page each). Each biography should be a separate Word document.
- Make sure that you use the same margins, font, and other formatting as your classmates so that all of your biographies will have a common look.
- Use the subjects' last names for your file names, and save them to a shared directory that your teacher will set up.
Step 3: Research the historical context
Software: Office Word, bing.com or other online encyclopedia
What to do: Write a paper on the period of history in which your history makers worked
- Your teacher will divide the class into ten teams and assign each team a decade to document.
- Using bing.com or other online encyclopedia, and additional Web resources as needed, research and write a one-page document highlighting the major events of your assigned decade.
- Keep in mind that the purpose of this document is to provide a historical context for the achievements of the men and women you and your classmates have chosen. The scope of your history document must be broad enough to encompass events that may have influenced all of the "giants of the century" who made their major contributions during your assigned decade.
- When you are done with your history document, save it in a shared directory (that your teacher will set up) with the name of the decade it represents (for example, 1900-1909.doc).
Step 4: Pull it all together
Software: Office Access
What to do: Link your records to your biographies and history documents
- Open a new spreadsheet in Office Excel.
- Open the "Giants of the Century" database. In the Database window, in the Object column, click Forms, and then double-click the form name to open it.
- Go to each of the records you created in Step 1 (Giants research). Click the person's name, and then cancel any dialog boxes that appear. The name will then be highlighted. Go to the Insert menu and select Hyperlink to open the Insert Hyperlink dialog box. Browse to the location of the biography document for that person, and click OK.
- Repeat this procedure with the decade you've entered in the Decade field, but link to the document that contains history for the corresponding period.
- Your "Giants of the Century" database is complete. Browse the records and discuss them in class. What does it tell you about the 20th century?
- Students will learn about the giants of history who shaped the 20th century.
- Students will gain an understanding of creating and building a database of content.