In this critical challenge, students investigate how the past has changed and shaped their family by interviewing a family member or other adult. To introduce the lesson, explain that Grade 1 is not the same now as it was when you were in school. Tell a few anecdotes and then invite students to ask you questions about your early school days. Arrange for students to work with a partner to develop a question to ask of you. Make a list of the questions that students generate. Explain that there is not enough time to answer all of the questions at this time (you may volunteer to answer the rest at a later date). Invite each student to select a few questions from the list that would provide the most interesting information about when you were in Grade 1. Help students agree on a handful of questions and arrange for various students to formally ask you these questions. See Asking Powerful Questions (Modelling the Tools) for detailed suggestions on how to teach and assess the tools to assist students in generating thoughtful questions.
Remind students that many events that happened when their parents or caregivers were young children have influenced life today (e.g., a positive experience in early schooling may lead a person to choose to be a teacher or a favourite grandparent may have been a role model). To further illustrate how family traditionspast and presentshape current activities and identities, read aloud one or more of the stories listed in the Related Resources.
Ask students if they know how their family's past has influenced the kinds of activities, traditions and celebrations that their family currently enjoys. Invite the class to brainstorm questions to ask of a parent or older adult about the influence of the past on the present. Help the class generate questions about family traditions and stories by offering prompts (e.g., "What question might we ask about to find out about... ?"). When a number of questions have been generated and recorded, invite students individually to select three questions from the list to ask of an adult in their family. Suggest that the selected questions should offer interesting information about how the past has affected themselves and their family. Help students to record their questions. You may want to adapt one of the charts and strategies for Recording Our Research (Support Material) to structure this activity.
If appropriate, invite students to ask their questions of a family member. Before doing this, ensure that every child has someone who they can ask and that protocols about asking older adults questions have been followed. As an alternative, arrange for several older adults to come to class and answer students' questions from their perspectives and experiences.
After students' questions have been answered, discuss what students have learned about their past and its influence on the present. You may want to suggest that students explain this connection in a sentence such as:
"Because this happened in the past ____________, we now do _________." or
"The reason we now do _____________ is because our family used to__________."