Lesson Plan - Connecting Oral History to Geography: The Changes of Madison County

A Lesson Plan for Grade 8 Social Studies

By Jennifer Job, School of Education, UNC-Chapel Hill

The object of this lesson is for students to ground the story of a county in the corresponding maps. Students will show an understanding of the geography surrounding the oral history.

This lesson plan is available as a formatted worksheet which can be printed and distributed. Download the worksheet by clicking the title: Madison_k12.pdf

Detail from 	North Carolina County Road Survey of Madison County, 1936.

Time Required: One 90-minute class period

Materials and Resources:

Teacher Instructions:

  1. Review the ways that Western North Carolina has changed throughout its history.
  2. Have students read Change in the Mountains and listen to the accompanying oral histories.
  3. Have students answer the following questions from the last slide: "Madison County community leaders were pulled in many directions as they tried to retain local populations, increase economic benefits, and maintain small town ideals. They were faced with many difficult questions as they attempted to establish balance among seemingly opposing goals. As you explored the story of Madison County, what ideas crossed your mind? Did this county's story remind you of any developments affecting your own community? Can you think of ways in which a community can grow without losing its closeness?"
  4. Give students the Scavenger Hunt Handout (.pdf) to complete after they have read through the history and answered the questions.
    Answer Key:
    1. Marshall
    2. 1792
    3. 1828; 36
    4. Ivy River
    5. Marshall, Alexander, Million Springs, Lapland
    6. Madison, Mars Hill, Hot Springs
    7. 19, 23, 25, 209, 213
  5. Discuss the answers to both the Web site questions and the handout. Ask students to make connections between the geographical location of the county and its history.

Assessment Activity: Collect the answers to the questions and the handouts for assessment.

North Carolina Curriculum Alignment

Goal 9: The learner will explore examples of and opportunities for active citizenship, past and present, at the local and state levels.

  • 9.01: Describe contemporary political, economic, and social issues at the state and local levels and evaluate their impact on the community.