Exploratory Activity 1 - The Stones

Please bring this completed assignment with you to the first day of class.

My estimate of the time required to complete this lesson is 60 to 90 minutes.
For some of you it will be much, much shorter.

Design Notes

I built this simple little page live using some of the tools in educatorpages.com.
During the course of the class, I will create some classroom materials using free tools available to teachers.
My hope is that as I use a variety of delivery options you will be learn about and explore some of the tools available to you.
During the course of class I will rate the tools I use. These ratings are based entirely on my perceptions but
I hope they may guide you in your choices.

This is my evaluation of educatorpages.com


For this activity we are going to learn about some very special rocks.

This assignment consists of two parts and it will be a traditional paper-based assignment. I strongly suggest you read through the entire assignment before beginning. No, there are no trick clues or any of that silly nonsense. I just want you to become familiar with it before you start. Make sure you do both parts. Bring as much as you have done of both parts to class on April 18. We are going to discuss our experiences.

Part One

Answer questions one through four in the section just below this one. The are displayed in blue.
I suggest you copy the questions into a word processing document and insert your answers at the ends of the lines.

Please note this - if, after a reasonable search, the answers to the following four questions prove just to be just too evasive, don't spend more time on them. Move on to part two and we'll take care of part one in class.
(This especially applies to question three of part one.)

However, please give both parts one and two a good, solid attempt.

Below are some pictures of stones, along with their addresses or location descriptions. There are about three dozen stones similar stones involved in the object of this search but for the purposes of this assignment the six shown here should suffice. These stones have a very special place in American history. Your job is to use the tools available to you to answer the questions below. Be sure to keep a brief journal of the methods and paths you followed to obtain answers to the questions.

1. Describe what you can observe about the characteristics of the stones.

Here are some examples of questions you may consider:

  • Are they naturally shaped or have they been shaped by man?
  • What are their surroundings?
  • What type of rock might these stones be?
  • What can you guess about when the stones were set?
  • Are there any clues on the stones themselves that might help us understand about their significance?
  • Is there any evidence that these stones are important?
  • Does anything about their immediate environment give us a clue as to their history?

2. What can you infer from your observations?

Here are some examples of questions you may consider:

  • What inferences can you make about the importance of these stones from their locations and apparent age?
  • What can you infer about the importance of the stones from other objects near them?
  • Who or what do you think might have held them to be of importance?

3. Now to the larger investigative questions

  • What important place do these stones hold in American history?
  • Who placed them?
  • Why were they placed?
  • There is a superlative expression often used to describe these stones. What is it?
  • What highly significant event from 1846 - 1847 event impacted the area where about 1/3 of these stones are located?

4. Reflect on how you learned what you learned.

Here are some examples of questions you may consider:

  • Did knowing the addresses of the stones help you find your answers?
  • Did you have prior knowledge or experience that helped you know about these stones? If so, please describe it.
  • Did you discuss this assignment with someone you felt might be of assistance to you? If so, please describe that discussion.
  • How much time did you need to complete this assignment?
  • How on earth can an assignment like this relate to teaching students reading skills?
  • In what ways did the answers to the questions in parts one and two help you answer those is part three?
  • In a simple paragraph or two, describe your searching methods, what you found, and how you moved from one point of knowledge to another.
  • Look at the word bank at the bottom of the page. Select two of the words in the bank provide a simple explanation of how you could include those vocabulary words in teaching a unit about these stones to a secondary class. If you have other words you might want to use, please feel free to do so.

Here's a reminder - Don't be limited in your thinking.

Tip - The top four pictures and addresses will probably be of the greatest assistance in learning about the stones.

Part Two

In addition to answering the questions in this assignment, you need to keep track of your journey on this voyage. This is the most important part of this activity.

You may choose your preferred method for tracking your work. In a paragraph or three, simply outline how you worked through this assignment and your opinion of it. The following questions may be handy in tracking your work flow.

  1. Where did you begin searching?
  2. Where did the beginning of your search lead you?
  3. What did you find with that search?
  4. Were those results useful?
  5. How did those results effect your subsequent searches?
  6. In the end, which content and searches were the most beneficial to you?
  7. You may also want to reflect on what possible use an assignment like this could be in a literacy class for pre-service teachers. I have some ideas in mind. Yours may be better. Let's hear them.


Here are the stones and their addresses:

1880 block of East-West Highway, Hyattsville, MD

314 Eastern Ave.NE
Washington, DC
Jones Point Light House, Virginia

2824 North Arizona, Falls Church, VA

6980 West Maple Street, Takoma Park, MD

6422 Western Avenue, Washington, DC

Word Bank