SOCIAL STUDIES ACTIVITIES FOCUSING ON SARASOTA COUNTY AND FLORIDA HISTORY
Lists developed by Sharon Napshin, Media Specialist, Sarasota Middle School
These suggested activities are intended to be used at the option of the teacher. They are interdisciplinary by nature and may be used to reinforce existing curriculum standards. Their applications are broad and may be adapted for use at a variety of ability and interest levels.
1. Draw a travel poster telling people why they should visit Sarasota in the year 1900. Show what they might see. Encourage tourism.
2. Choose one place that you would like to visit in Sarasota County. Write a paragraph telling why you chose that place and what you hope to see there.
3. Describe one place to visit that is as unlike Sarasota as you can. Make a travel poster or travel folder about that place.
4. Write about some place in Sarasota County that you have enjoyed visiting. Tell why you liked it there. Illustrate your paper.
5. Use newspaper airline ads that are aimed at tourists wishing to come to Florida. What are some of the reasons that you see given for people to travel here? Are those reasons true, or are they exaggeration?
6. Make a collage of pictures from newspapers or magazines that are centered about one specific theme. Example: beaches, tourists, oranges, sunshine, etc.
7. Bring newspaper articles into class and keep a scrap book or a bulletin board of local happenings; include school events, parades, etc. Things that have special interest to your class may be included.
8. Make a list of all the songs that you can think of that have something to do with Florida. Try to have your music teacher play some of the melodies for other students.
9. Use the local newspaper to find an interesting sporting or entertainment event that is happening in the state. Now, use a roadmap to find the quickest route to get there by car from your town. Approximately how many miles is the round trip?
10. Search the newspaper to find articles of particular interest to people in Sarasota County. Mount and display them so you can share with your classmates.
11. Plan an old fashioned, all-day picnic on the grounds of Spanish Point (with reservations made by telephone, of course) or some other beautiful local site. Bring a dish that represents your own national background or one that depicts local food favorites.
12. Make a survey of the question: Should future growth in Sarasota be allowed? Should it be encouraged? Graph the results of your survey.
13. List several reasons why someone might want to move from their home in a large city in 1910 to the frontier land of coastal Florida.
14. Draw a political cartoon showing some of the facts about water pollution or air pollution and either one's effects upon Sarasota County.
15. Interview business owners and find out the history of their particular business in this area. Find out the name of the product or service, the number of employees, the source of raw materials, and the market for the product or service in the area. Summarize what you think the future for this business might be in ten years.
16. Get the Thursday newspaper with all of the food advertisements. Imagine that you have $100.00 to spend and want to shop for enough food to feed your family for the whole week, BUT YOU CAN ONLY BUY FOODS THAT ARE RAISED, FOUND, OR GROWN IN SARASOTA COUNTY. What would you buy?
17. What foods are raised or grown in Sarasota County? What products are developed here? Check newspaper ads for prices of those items. Are they cheaper, more expensive, or about the same price as they would be in other parts of the country? Explain your answer.
18. Everyone should bring in a piece of fruit that has been grown in Florida. Make fruit salad. List what fruits are missing, i.e. not grown in Florida. Discuss why.
19. Why was the invention of air conditioning important? Write an essay telling how air conditioning affected the growth and development of Sarasota County. What about the effect of other technology upon the development of our area?
20. Use airline ads from the newspaper. Compare the cost of traveling from a variety of cities to Sarasota. Compute the cost per mile from each of the cities. What are the results of your work? Are the costs the same? Is travel from one area to another more expensive? Is travel from one area to another cheaper?
21. Study the local "Help Wanted" ads. List the types of jobs available. What specific skills are needed for those jobs? What training is available in this area?
22. Interview new students in your class or your school and determine why they moved to Sarasota County. Make a poster showing reasons why people move here.
23. Compare an original map of Sarasota County, such as the one Eliza and John Webb might have used, with a modern one, such as a road map of today. State three geographical changes that you see in the barrier islands.
24. Use a map of Sarasota County for names, and alphabetize a list of fifteen places that you find on the map.
25. Use a Florida roadmap to tell the best route to take to get from the town you live in to Saint Augustine. How many miles are there between these two cities?
26. Use a Florida map to compute the distance in miles and in kilometers from Tampa to North Port; from Englewood to Osprey; and from Arcadia to Sarasota.
27. Use the local newspaper to find the temperatures for all of the towns and communities in Sarasota County for yesterday. What city was the warmest? Coolest? How many degrees was the difference between the two temperatures? How many miles apart are the two cities? What might account for the difference of temperature?
28. Use the local newspaper. Graph the high and low temperatures for the city you live in for one month. Pick out one city in a northern state and graph its high and low temperatures for the same period of time. Find the average temperatures for each of the two cities.
29. Make a collection of shells that you have found on local beaches. Use a library book to help you label the shells with both their Latin and their more common names.
30. Bring in two or three shells that you may have at home. Group shells that are similar. Which group has the most shells? Least shells? Largest shells? Brainstorm: "Why are there more of one type than another?"
31. Collect shells on a field trip to the beach. Match the real shells with pictures in the shell books. Classify them. Identify them with their proper names.
32. Take a walk near your school. Observe and identify local flowers. Return to class and draw pictures of the plants you saw.
33. Draw a cartoon about Florida's mosquitos.
34. Investigate animals that are local. Research what the animal population was ten years ago and what it is now. Compare and research reasons for the changes you might have found.
35. Set up a temporary terrarium or aquarium for observation of local living things; hermit crabs, lizards, fiddler crabs, etc. Discuss habitat, food, etc. Return the animal to the wild.
36. Go to the beach and make a sand casting with plaster of Paris:
a. Collect shells.
b. Dig a shallow hole.
c. Place shells at the bottom of the hole, press into sand.
d. Cover shells with a light layer of sand.
e. Pour plaster into the hole.
f. Let dry (feel the warmth as it sets).
g. Remove sand casting from the sand.
h. Gently wash the shells off in the water.
37. Design a chart which explains the government In Sarasota County.
36. Imagine that you were going to interview the governor. What might you ask him, and what might he answer?
39. Interview a local county or city official. Prepare at least ten interview questions. Be sure that you ask about topics of concern to the growth and development of the county. You may tape record or write out answers.
40. Design a fact sheet about Sarasota County. Make it into a poster and display it for your classmates.
41. Using pictures or prints for reference, draw or model the ship on which the pioneers arrived in Sarasota.
42. Pretend that you are an explorer from Scotland. Tell how you planned your trip. Describe how things went on the trip itself. Describe what you found when you arrived.
43. Draw a timeline showing important events in local history. (Be sure to include the date that your family arrived here.)
44. Choose any place in the local area. Find out:
a. How that place was named.
b. When it was settled.
c. Who the original settlers were.
d. One interesting story about the place.
45. Read a book about Sarasota County (it may be about history, famous people, current problems, native Americans, etc.) Share what you have read with your classmates in an oral report, poster, written report, diorama, etc.
46. Invite a guest speaker to the classroom who can speak on the history of your school, town, or county. Make a list of questions to ask the speaker.
47. Write a poem about some person or place in the history of Sarasota County.
48. Write a letter to a person who was famous in local history. Ask questions about his/her life. Then write an answer that he/she might have written back to you.
49. Make a report about one of the following people: William Whitaker, Mrs. Potter Palmer, Billy Bowlegs, Isaac Redd, John Ringling, Jeffrey Bolding, or anyone else in local history.
50. Write a biography about a woman who was involved in the history of Sarasota County.
51. Imagine that you were able to interview a person from early Sarasota County. Who might you interview, and what might you ask?
52. Research the role of Florida during the Civil War. Prepare an oral presentation for your classmates.
53. Write a story describing what it was like to travel from Tampa to Sarasota in 1848. How would you travel, and what would your trip be like?
54. Take a walking tour of local historical buildings and places. Keep notes of what you see.
55. Make a model of an early Sarasota home.
56. Make a series of drawings which illustrate homes and equipment used by early settlers.
57. Do research to find out about early Sarasota houses. Were they larger or smaller than the houses of today? What about the land where they were located? Was there usually more or less land near the house long ago? Why do you think there might have been so many "size" changes from then until now?
58. Suppose you were one of the first settlers in your town in Sarasota County. Write an essay explaining what your life is like.
59. Create a newspaper for a town in early Sarasota County.
60. Imagine the lives of the early settlers of the area. Walk around your schoolyard and picture it in your mind as those early people would have seen it. Write an essay of what you imagined.
61. Imagine that you are living in frontier Sarasota in 1860. Write a letter to a relative living in the North and explain what your life is like.
62. Research what outdoor games pioneer children would have played. Organize your classmates and play one of them, write a paper which compares old-time games with games that children play today. Illustrate your paper
63. Dress a doll in the clothing of the style of the early pioneers in Sarasota.
64. Visit any three places in Sarasota County that would be listed on a driving tour guide. List their historical significance. If you can, make a photo essay of your visits.
65. Make a word search of the names of the schools, streets, or towns in Sarasota County. Put into the puzzle the things that have historical importance,
Several of these activities were adapted by Sharon Napshin from interdisciplinary units developed during middle school training workshops and Florida Studies workshops.