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In the Classroom > Course Overview > Unit Overview
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Lesson 4: Deerfield Debates its Future: Education

Lesson Central Question:

In This Lesson:

What changes will occur in Deerfield?

Lesson Length
Key Ideas

Lesson Length

1 class period (85 minutes)

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Key Content Ideas Taught in this Lesson and Teacher Background

We have seen how an expanding economy, a changing population, and industry have arrived in the Connecticut River Valley.

  • How did Deerfield respond to change?
  • What happened to the schools?

Teacher Background Essay: Education as a Constructive Tool for a Modern Political Society

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Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will understand:

  • Industry and technology reshaped life in Deerfield.
  • South Deerfield became more influential as industry and population expanded.
  • Immigration reshaped the demographics and culture of the Deerfield

Students will be able to:

  • Make inferences from their readings and articulate causality.
  • Present learned information to their peers.
  • Locate historical evidence on a web site to support their presentations.
  • Create artifacts (a newspaper, album or scrap book) from their writings, drawings, and projects to archive.
  • Analyze a variety of images and documents.

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In Preparation for Teaching

1. Read Teacher Background Essay: Education as a Constructive Tool for a Modern Political Society

Further Background Reading:

Cubberley, Ellwood. A Brief History of Education. New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1922.

Greenberg, Ivan. "Reformers, Workers, and the Half-day Mill School Movement in the 1870s". Education in Massachusetts: Selected Essays. Michael F. Konig and Martin Kaufman, eds. Westfield, MA: Institute of MA Studies, 1989.

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Primary and Secondary Sources:

  1. Regulations for the Government of the Schools in the Town of Deerfield. (L02.068)
  2. "John Dewey." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  3. "Mann, Horace." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  4. History and Proceeedings of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, pp. 5-7 (L99_138)
  5. "The Mount Sugarloaf School." Greenfield Recorder, Feb 3, 1913. (L02.079)
  6. "Superintendent's Report". Deerfield Town Report, 1915 (L02.071)
  7. "Superintendent's Report". Deerfield Town Report, 1926 (L02.070)
  8. "South Deerfield School Troubles" (L02.083)
  9. "Deerfield Section" (L02.084)
  10. "Dickinson High School" (L02.085)
  11. "Deerfield School Controversy" (L02.086)

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Activities Materials in Context


  1. Review the articles in the "packet" related to the education reform ideals of Mann and Dewey and discuss how they were applied locally. (Add additional articles on school programs, class graduations, etc.)
  2. How does the architectural design of Deerfield schools indicate progress in educational reform?

  3. Using references from the articles, respond to the title of the lesson: "Education as a Constructive Tool for a Modern Political Society."
  4. Explain the function of education as viewed between the 1880s and the 1920s
    What insights into the early private/public school relationships do the articles from 1900 give you?
    What might be the cause of private/public school tension?

    Homework: Prepare an item for the archive -- either a position article in the newspaper on a controversial issue, a picture and accompanying writing for the scrapbook, or a letter home that includes education information from the community.



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