Using graveyards to teach K-12 students about local history

I have been using historic American cemeteries as outdoor museums and teaching laboratories for over two decades. The material culture in these sacred sites contains information about communities, religious beliefs, attitudes about death, and individual life histories. The gravestones are a form of folkart, the cemetery landscapes provide an overview of botanical and geological patterns, and family plots reveal generations of residents and their contributions.

Over the years I have worked with K-12 teachers and graduate students of education to design SOL-based lesson plans to encourage young people to visit and learn from cemeteries. Below are links to a series of lesson plans designed by myself and Dr. John Broome.

Click on the links to student handouts, a presentation about gravestone styles, and a teacher’s guide.

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