local history resources for teachers

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Do you have a suggestion or request for support materials? City Museum can help! Email Maggie Capettini, our Education Coordinator, with your special request: museumed@westchicago.org

Tackle History: Immigration This interactive, bilingual history kit gives children a look into the four main immigrant groups that settled West Chicago: English, German, Irish, and Mexican, as well as general history about immigration to the United States. (Grade 7) Printables from 7th Grade Immigration Kit

Railroad Trunk This educational kit contains maps, books, and artifacts that chronicle the early years of West Chicago. The early importance of the railroad is emphasized. A teacher’s guide contains suggestions on how to use the materials in the trunk. (Grade 3)

McGuffey Readers Check out our set of McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Readers, first published in 1879. The Readers show how students’ education was conducted from the 1830s to the 1920s when the Readers were used as the primary learning tool in classrooms across the country. Students can read the stories and complete the spelling, handwriting, grammar, and vocabulary exercises. (Grade 3-5)

Historical Map Inference Lab (PDF)
This DMK invites students to examine maps through the history of West Chicago, using questions to think critically about geography, the economy, the development of a new community, and more.

Lindsay Light, Kerr-McGee, and Thorium (PDF)
This DMK gives a history of immigration through Castle Gardens and Ellis Island, tracking the arrival of two different people who eventually came to live in West Chicago.

Immigration and Ellis Island Digital Mini-Kit (PDF)
This DMK gives a history of immigration through Castle Gardens and Ellis Island, tracking the arrival of two different people who eventually came to live in West Chicago.

West Chicago Was Once a Prairie: Geography (PDF)
This DMK discusses how prairies were created, why northern Illinois was not originally considered a desirable place to settle, and how technology forever changed The Prairie State.

Chicago History to 1900 Digital Mini-Kit (PDF)
This DMK provides an overview of Chicago history up through 1900, tying significant historical topics and happenings to parallel’s in West Chicago’s own history.

Indian Knoll Celebrates 50 Years, Flashback: 1967 (PDF)
This DMK was created specifically for Indian Knoll’s anniversary. It provides a fun look at how life for kids has changed in the last 50 years.

Economics Digital-Mini Kit (PDF)
Songs, hand plays, and historic photos work together to help students understand basic principles of economics and how they relate to West Chicago’s history.

Little Railroad Town on the Prairie (PDF)
A brief photographic overview of West Chicago’s history. Slide notes allow teachers to give historic background behind each image. The train jobs song is a fun way to learn some of the jobs one could hold on the railroad.
*scroll to end for teacher notes/slide information

history explored through art

History Explore through Art (heART) is a fun and exciting interdisciplinary approach to West Chicago's history. Students are exposed to local history, art history + contemporary art, art-making processes, and creative self-expression. Lessons are grouped by age-level and can be adapted for use with a variety of media.

K-5 heart lessons

Railroad History/"I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold": We take trains for granted now, but they were once new, fast, and exciting! They gave birth to the town we now call West Chicago, and many of the families that immigrated here in the 1800s built the railroads. Artists will use Charles Demuth's painting "I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold" as inspiration for creating an abstract artwork representing West Chicago's railroad history.

6-8 heart lessons

Healthy West Chicago/Wayne Thiebaud: Looks at those delicious cakes! Gumballs! Ice cream cones! Thiebaud knows how to make sweets look delicious in his paintings. Artists will learn about West Chicago's history of healthy foods, and try their hand at creating an artwork where healthy food looks as delicious as Thiebaud's confections. (Click the title to download a PDF lesson).

9-12 heart lessons

De la Tierra Somos¡No Somos Illegales!: Chicago-based artist Carlos A. Cortéz explored social and political ideas using printmaking as a way to share messages. In this lesson, artists learn about the history of Mexican immigration in West Chicago, and create their own "artwork with a message."