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and family? *How do they feel their lives would be affected without those forms of communication?

Activity #2 – Reading an Artifact (part 1)

Divide the students into groups of 2. Have the students visit the Harry S Truman National Historic Site American Visionary Webpage to view the card receiver and calling card. Have the students choose one or both of the artifacts if you prefer, have them to discuss the object(s) including the size, date of manufacture, material, function and use, and cultural significance.

Explain to the students that historians often use documents to learn more about the past. Artifacts can also be used to learn about history. When we learn how to read an artifact (ie. Describe and document it), we allow the artifact to tell us its own story: who used it, how it was used, what changes in daily life it reflects.

Reading an Artifact (part 2)

Have the students do an actual reading of an artifact. You may choose to have them read an object in their home or you may use objects from your classroom. Hand out the Activity #2 – Artifact Reading Worksheet and ask them to fill in their findings and be ready to discuss them with the class or have them read their findings to the class and see if the class can guess the identity of the object by its description.

Activity #3 – Create an appropriate version of a calling card

Depending on the particular age group of the students you may choose to have them read Chapter 16, “Name Cards” in Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then using the supplies listed in the resources section, have the students design and create their own calling card. Have the students role play making a social call using proper calling etiquette. Assign one student the role of the caller, another student the person being called on, and a third student the maid or butler. This activity works well with small groups of no more than three students.

Wrap-up Activity: Short quiz

Students will be able to answer simple fill- in- the- blank questions regarding the information given to them during this lesson.

A wrap-up activity sample quiz is included.

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