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History Around You

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Project Description

 Everywhere people go they leave traces some of which survive long after their childrens' children have died. It would be foolish to think that we have to go to a book to find these signs of human passing; it would be equally foolish to believe everything printed in books or found on the internet. One of the goals of this project is to get readers to understand that historical knowledge is based on evidence, and this project takes a look at the locality close to a rural two-teacher school in County Sligo, Ireland, (Stokane National School, located 54 10' N, 9W) with a view to discovering its history and unveiling its secrets for the children attending the school. Projects of this kind are suitable for a group of children from nine years of age and over. The school environment, which is the child's own doorstep, is used as an extended classroom, and aided by technological knowledge resources, the child and teacher explore and extend their knowledge. Modern research suggests that educational institutions should provide experiential contexts for children to grow and develop educationally, and this project has that theme, whereby the children can see and touch the historical environment, and afterwards express themselves in art, sculpture, song, poetry and written accounts.


1. to get the pupils to take a closer look at their local environment with a view to understanding its history;

2. to develop the child's awareness and knowledge of her/his heritage at an appropriate level;

3. to provide enjoyable, engaging and challenging activities in a variety of subject areas;

4. to aid development of critical thinking, research skills and real-world application of knowledge;

5. to develop the child's ability to seek out and record information first hand;

6. to bring the history of the childrens' environment alive in the classroom and in the childrens' lives;

7. to enable children see the beauty of the world around them.

8. to develop the child's awareness of the historical in her/his locality and a consequent attitude of conservation by drawing attention to the technological, scientific and aesthetic achievements of the past as well as social and political developments.

9. to develop the child's interest and participation in hobbies and leisure pursuits having a historical flavour.

10. to develop in the child the notion that life has changed and will continue to change.

11. to alert the child to the existence of bias and prejudice in historical evidence.

12. to alert the child to the idea that the same set of events can be seen differently by different people.


1. Children love stories, and teacher includes some local legends in the history scheme. In our area we have stories such as the "Mermaid Rocks". This is the story of a local chieftain, newly-elected head of the O'Dowda clan, who finds a mermaid called Aoife, marries her, but, on hearing nature's call back to the sea, she returns to the sea with one of her children having changed the other six into boulders as she made her way to the brine.

2. Teacher tells the story and pupils illustrate, do collage work or build models. Teacher tells pupils the places in the story will be visited later on in the term after some more stories are done. Local maps are introduced.

3. After a number of history lessons have been completed, teacher plans a class tour. Follow-up work is now completed in the classroom, when other sources on history are added in.

4. Children use the internet to try to find out more about their past through finding links to the locality in which their family now resides, and the locality from which a parent came from if different to the place they now reside in.