Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ML 15: Methodology and Introduction


As education students, we are taught to use interactive and groups activities. Most of those who want to teach the younger kids use Think-Pair-Share and I also found it difficult to utilize in a high school classroom. However, I think it works extremely well with this lesson. I like the idea of the students working independently, working with the song, and then going into small groups. I decided to use the Think Pair Share because some students can get lost with bigger groups and having one of partner would force the students to participate or sit in silence.

Jigsaw Puzzle (another option):

The Jigsaw Puzzle approach is a good way to get students into small groups. Below is an outline depicting how that might work, logistically. 

Warm Ups and Games:

I like to begin with fun introductory material that hooks learners. The YouTube Lewis and Clark Expedition: A Memestory works well with this lesson.  After the video the class will play a quick Kahoot to do a review and to get the students excited about the lesson. The Kahoot I designed is a five question mini-quiz. It is not to grade the students; but just an interactive way to make them pay attention. The teacher can give the winning student a reward such as extra credit or something tangible such as a piece of candy.

Click HERE to play my sample Kahoot


Incorporating music and poetry is a way to encourage multi-sensory engagement.  

Click HERE to play the You Tube audio recording of Gordon Ward's song.

Click lyric sheet to enlarge or print. A PDF of this file may be obtained that is compatible with electronic reading devices. 

ML 15: Lewis and Clark
Mini Lesson by Nicholas Quintero
For Complete Lesson Overview click HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mini Lesson: Lewis & Clark, Grandfather River

Charles Winston Peale Clark and Lewis Portraits, 1807.


This can be an opening lesson to Manifest Destiny or a good sub-lesson on Lewis and Clark. This lesson revolves around a song, Grandfather River by Gordon Ward, which explains the journey Lewis and Clark embarked on. Song is the focus of this lesson; which would be best suited for a 45-minute class period. This lesson also includes a DBQ worksheet, some of the artifacts used are from the museum’s collection. This lesson also includes a Kahoot game, which can be swapped out for something less technically intensive.

Theoretical Principles:

Think Pair Share or Jigsaw Puzzle (for detailed overview click HERE)


NJ Standard:
Analyze how the concept of Manifest Destiny influenced the acquisition of land through annexation, diplomacy, and war.

US History Content standards:
 Standard 1A
Assess how the Louisiana Purchase affected relations with Native Americans and the lives of various inhabitants of the Louisiana Territory.

Computer (with projector)
Lyric sheet (attached)
DBQ Worksheet (attached)


Lewis and Clark: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were hired by President Jefferson to explore the newly acquired Louisiana territory to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean. Their three-year journey spanned 8,000 miles down the Ohio River, up the Missouri River, across the Continental Divide, and to the Pacific Ocean. Please use this link here to find more information!

President Jefferson: A founding father, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, and the third president of the United States. Under his tenure, the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon. This led to the Lewis and Clark adventure into the frontier lands. Use this link here to discovery information.

Corps of Discovery: was a specially-established unit of the United States Army which formed the nucleus of the Lewis and Clark. The Corps, which was a select group of volunteers, which were led jointly by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark. They were commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, and their objectives were to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and to learn how the Louisiana Purchase. More information can be found here.

Step 1: Kahoot! (Introduction)

The lesson will start with a funny but informative video on Lewis and Clark and their expedition titled Lewis and Clark Expedition: A Memestory. After the video the class will play a quick Kahoot to do a review and to get the students excited about the lesson. The Kahoot is a five question mini-quiz. It is not to grade the students; but just an interactive way to make them pay attention. 

Step 2: Grandfather River (Body)

After the Kahoot game, the teacher will pass out the lyric sheets to the students. The student’s directions would be to listen to Grandfather River and annotate at least three sections of the lyrics. The teacher can change these directions to specific lines or you can leave it broad. After listening to the song one or two times the students, should pair up and talk about the song. This is where they should quickly go over the part they annotated and explain to the other student their thought process. The teacher should than hold a class discussion to answer any questions about the song and to engage the class in discussion. It would also be a good idea to ask the students to explain their thought process about their annotations. After the discussion the teacher will hand out the worksheet DBQ to the students. After some time, the students should go into pairs and work together and go over their answers.  

Step 3: House Hunters Historical (Conclusion)

To finish off this lesson the teacher should go over the worksheet and play this  YouTube video called Louisiana Purchase: House Hunters Historical. This is a hilarious way to reinforce the lesson!

Differentiation/Planned Support:

Individual Students (IEPs or 504s): The small group work for the worksheet will be a great time for students with IEP to utilize peer tutoring with the Think Pair Share. During this time students are required to go into small groups and help each other with the worksheet. This lesson also has many videos and interactive aspects to make sure that IEP students and the rest of the class stay engaged.

More about Gordon Ward:

Gordon Thomas Ward
Gordon Ward is the musician who wrote and sings the Grandfather River. I had the opportunity to hear him sing this song live when he came to Washington’s Headquarters grand opening of their Discover History Center. Click his photo to be linked to his website.



Peale, Charles Willson. Clark and Lewis Portraits. 1807. Courtesy Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia. Accessed 2018. http://explorepahistory.com/displayimage.php?imgId=1-2-24D
History.com Staff. "Lewis and Clark." History.com. 2009. Accessed March 06, 2018. https://www.history.com/topics/lewis-and-clark.
"Thomas Jefferson." Wikipedia. March 03, 2018. Accessed March 06, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson.
"Corps of Discovery." Corps of Discovery. Accessed 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corps_of_Discovery.
Mr.Bett. YouTube. October 12, 2017. Accessed March 06, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2ADwME0c7k.
YouTube. February 17, 2015. Accessed March 15, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kgjJUs1BCs&t=1s.
MrBettsClass. YouTube. October 11, 2016. Accessed March 15, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYaTSImrDxc.

ML:15 Lewis and Clark
Mini Lesson by Nicholas Quintero

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Artifact Lab

Check out our Primary Source Seminar artifact lab in action.  Humanities Institute students from West Orange High School learn about archival preservation. Here they examine laid paper, iron gall ink, watermarks, and eighteenth century script.

Here a student studies a cannon ball. It weights close to ten pounds and is the size of a softball.

Monday, January 22, 2018


During Federal shutdown, we do not monitor or update social media. Morristown National Historical Park is closed for resource protection and safety. For more information: www.nps.gov/morr

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Finding Their Park

Student artists from Westside High School, Newark, New Jersey found their park at Morristown! After viewing their Dream Rocket exhibit, these talented teens wanted to explore the site that inspired their art...they had a little fun in the process!

The Morristown Dream Rocket theme is Ingenuity in the Face of Adversity, and our Westside artists were especially creative with their interpretations of what that means.

Hiking the yellow trail from the Wick House
to the soldier huts with Ranger Gilson. 
Before students even visited our site, they were given a creative prompt which taught them about the Park's history, the Revolution War events we commemorate, and the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) who helped lay the groundwork for historical parks around the country. With this information and the guidance of their outstanding teacher, Ms. Patricia Marinaro, students collaborated to see their artistic visions materialize.

See their work on our Flickr Album
(keyword Westside High School):


Students were allowed to pick rhubarb with the gardener's
permission. Here they are visiting the Wick House,
stalks in hand.
Journals in hand, students set out to explore the resources that inspired their work. The framing narrative for the day was "assumption versus evidence" and this tool helped us analyze everything from historic landscapes and structures to park careers, preservation, and climate change.


Some questions we tackled...

Place Over Time

•What has happened here throughout time?

•How are we part of that history?

•How does understanding the past help us become more empathetic people?

•How will you mark your legacy?

Preserving Public Lands

Student explore the replica hut at the VC.
•What is natural and cultural stewardship?

•Why is it important? How can we help?

•What is involved in preserving and protecting landscapes and historic sites?

•What careers in science, public history, education, and engineering are available at parks?

Innovation in the Face of Adversity

•What is innovation?

•In what ways are you innovative in hard times?

•How do your struggles connect you with other people throughout time?

•How might you connect your story to the stories this park has to tell?

Making Preserved Landscapes Relevant 

•What are the reasons a person might enjoy public lands?

•How might preserved landscapes be meaningful to people on a personal level?

Frog encounters.
Looking closely.

For four hours, students spent time immersed in the power of place. They spent time journaling, conducting science experiments, hiking, analyzing real world job scenarios, and exploring historic structures.

Ranger Gilson (a guest science educator from Gateway Parks) leads students
in a climate change simulation.

Sit spotting exercise.

Student posing with his work (his is in the center).

A little entertainment on the trails.

Thanks Ms. Marinaro for inspiring your talented troop and for helping them #FindTheirPark!

I think we might even have a few new recruits!

sit spotting and journal time

>The Dream Rocket exhibit runs now through Sept 4, 2017,
at our Jockey Hollow location.

✿ Big thanks to Ranger Kathryn Gilson and Ranger Abby Parsons! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Hours Begin July 1

Morristown, NJ
– The National Park Service at Morristown National Historical Park is pleased to announce that it will begin its seven-day-a-week, summer hours of operation on July 1, 2016.

Both the Washington’s Headquarters Museum and Jockey Hollow Visitor Center buildings will be open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

The Ford Mansion also will be open daily with tours at 10:00 am11:00 am1:00 pm2:00 pm3:00 pm, and 4:00 pm. Tickets for Ford Mansion tours must be obtained in the Washington’s Headquarters Museum.

The grounds of all park areas will be open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

On August 31, 2015, the park will resume its regular Wednesday through Sunday operating schedule.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Emily Ramos Finds HER Park

Seventh grader, Emily Ramos, is a seasoned National History Day (NHD) participant. She is also a seasoned National Park explorer! For the past couple of years, her stellar NHD projects have allowed her to share her love for history and meet other young scholars who share that passion. This year’s NHD theme was Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange, so Emily decided to research the establishment of the National Park Service and its role in preserving and protecting sites and landscapes of significance. Her project coincides with our own Centennial celebration and serves as an excellent tribute to one-hundred years of inspiration, education, and community.

We interviewed Emily to get more insight into her research process.

Name:  Emily Ramos
Grade:  7
School:  Nicholas Oresko School
Hometown:  Bayonne
Hobbies/Interests:  Swim Team, Girl Scouts, violin and reading

What is National History Day and why do you enjoy participating?

National History Day is an academic contest that focuses on different areas of history.  I enjoy participating in National History Day because it gives students a fun and interactive way to learn about different aspects of history. 

What was this year’s theme and how did you go about interpreting it?

This year’s NHD theme was “Exploration, Encounter and Exchange”.  My topic relates to all of these aspects.  It deals with the exploration of a new idea.  My thesis stated that establishing America's national parks was one of our nation's best ideas.  This idea was very radical for the time period- that lands should be preserved for everyone to enjoy and for future generations.  Exchange also played a role in my project- industrialization and economy using up the land and the resources versus protection and preservation.  Encounter involved new peoples, such as Indian tribes living there, people occupying the lands in the east where Shenandoah and the Smokies were created.  Their opposition was encountered in many cases.  I was glad to find out through my research that the idea of establishing national parks succeeded.  And I agree that it was one of the best ideas and contributions made by our country.

How did you choose a topic?

My family and I have visited several National Parks over the past few years.  I learned that they are all operated by the National Park Service.  My favorite parks are the ones that preserve and conserve the natural world such as: mountains, seashores, and wildlife habitats.  Besides being some of the most beautiful places to visit, they offer many educational programs.  My favorite is the Junior Ranger Program.  It allows young people to earn badges for completing activities designed to have them learn about a particular park in a fun and interactive way.  With the 100th anniversary of the NPS approaching, I would like to use my project as doing my part in making people aware of what our National Parks have to offer.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Ultimate Teaching Tool

For the last two weeks, I conducted two sets of two day teacher immersion workshops at Morristown National Historic Park (MNHP) and the Jacobus Vanderveer House (JVH). My biggest take-away so far from these sessions with teachers is that there is no limit to the use of our national parks and historic locations for our schools and students. The teachers on these workshops developed lesson summaries on topics as diverse as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work at MNHP during the Great Depression, the nutritional and herbal uses of the colonial era garden to enhance food and life and lesson ideas probing the perspectives of Loyalists, Patriots, children, slaves, Native Americans and women during the Revolutionary War time period.  Other teachers used the historic, cultural and recreational resources at MNHP and the JVH to create lessons on invasive plant species, tree canopy coverage and kindergarten level lessons on place over time and wants and needs as they related to the children of the Vanderveer and Ford families.   My personal favorite part of these workshops was leading teachers on the process of “sit-spotting” in nature. This practice was done by Native American groups as a form of meditation and nature observation. We connected sit-spotting to everything our ancestors and elders learned about their world. For example, at MNHP and the JVH, nature awareness and observation utilized by inhabitants of these areas at different times led to very simple yet powerful outcomes. Their survival depended upon being nature-aware. Observation gave our ancestors the knowledge of the best direction to build the front of one’s home (south facing to gain the most Sun), the simple concept of selecting the best geographic areas for winter encampments, what herbs to use for medicinal purposes, the usage of plants to make linens, the best woods to use to make fires, build cabins and craft boats and so much more. More importantly, sit-spotting allows teachers and students the time and space to imagine what it was like to be that historic figure on that property during a specific moment in time.   For me, that simple concept of experiential, nature and place-based education is probably the most powerful teaching tool we as educators still have in our bag of  tools.

--Chris Bickel

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nature-Based Learning and Immersive History

The first sessions of workshops at the Morristown and Vanderveer sites were a success. Chris and his teaching colleagues had a lot of ground to cover, both literally (they did some hiking) and in terms of potential teaching materials. 

This week, Chris shares with us his vision for this TRT collaboration.

As an educator, principal and supervisor for over 18 years, I have always been fascinated not with the content of history, but with the varied and nuanced connections between history and other disciplines. I am drawn to the big picture study of historical events and how geography, economy, local and international politics, culture and  man's relationship and learning from nature all intertwine to form what we know as “history.”  As such, my goals of creating a Teacher Immersion experience at Morristown National Historic Park and the Jacobus Vanderveer House are directed at immersing teachers in the resources themselves while helping them make "big picture" connections between the park resource, their grade level and content area. My goal is to empower every teacher, K-12, realize they can use the cultural, historical and recreational resources of our parks and historic sites to create lessons or guide field trips utilizing these amazing resources. Additionally, as a nature based coach in training, I love the learning that arises when students and/or teachers are in the outdoors. In my workshop, I stress the habit of "sit-spotting" to help teachers reconnect with the history of our past. Sit Spotting is the act of sitting and observing in nature for at least 20 minutes per day every day.  I like to introduce teachers to this practice because so much of what our elders and ancestors of the past were able to do was possible by simply observing nature.  The concept and location of a "winter encampment" were made possible by observation.  The usage of wood for flooring and building, keeping windows on the south facing side, growing herbs for seasoning and medicinal purposes, the weaving of textiles from plants and the utilization of winter ice for summer storage and more were all made possible by the simple act of observation.  If teachers can walk away with the power the simple practice of quiet and mindful natural observation has had on history, then I will be really happy!

Thanks for sharing this insightful perspective, Chris!

Monday, July 20, 2015

TRT Project in Full Swing

Morristown NHP would like to welcome our 2015 Teacher-Ranger-Teacher (TRT), Chris Bickel.

The TRT program is a Park Service professional development project, coordinated through the University of Colorado, Denver. Each year, eligible parks may apply to participate in this national initiative. We are very excited to be working with Livingston's own, Chris Bickel.

Focusing on K-12 education, Bickel works as Livingston Public Schools Social Studies Supervisor. We have had the pleasure of collaborating with Chris in years past and are eager to learn a lot from this partnership.

The 2015 TRT project is outward looking. We hope to reach Park Centennial and community collaboration goals by partnering with the Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum. For Bickel's part, he will to lead several teacher prototyping workshops and develop toolkit materials for both sites. Chris is also completing an extensive online course at UCD and samples of his work will be made available via the NPS TRT portal. He is working hard to help Livingston teachers #findTHEIRpark!

Thanks, Chris!

Stay tuned for more TRT updates this summer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Morristown NHP to Begin Off-Season Hours


Morristown, NJ – Beginning on November 1, 2014, Morristown NHP will begin its off-season hours of operation for visitor services as follows:

Washington's Headquarters Museum
Monday and Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday through Sunday – 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day

Ford Mansion
Monday and Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday through Sunday – tour times at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm
Tours are limited to 20 visitors per tour. You can purchase tickets at Washington's Headquarters Museum. All tickets are first come first served, no reservations.
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day

Jockey Hollow Visitor Center
Monday and Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday through Sunday – 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day

Wick House
Monday and Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday through Sunday – 9:30 am to 12 Noon and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day

Please note that the grounds of the park will remain open 7 days per week along with the restroom facilities at the Jockey Hollow area (Visitor Center and New York Brigade Comfort Station) per park hours listed at www.nps.gov/morr.

For more information about the park, please call 973-539-2016 ext. 210 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/morr.

PHOTO Sarah Minegar/NPS

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Reserve Your Classroom Materials Today!

Dear Teachers,

We know you are busy enjoying your summer activities, but it is never too early to beginning thinking ahead to the fall!  Our
Traveling Museum Artifact boxes are available for two week loan intervals and include adaptable activities appropriate for primary, middle, and secondary grade levels. We currently offer four museum boxes available for classroom use.

Morristown’s Traveling Museum Artifact Boxes contain groupings of reproduction artifacts similar to those that would have been typically found in the possession of various persons during the late eighteenth century. The purpose of these boxes extends beyond a mere show-and-tell experience for students. Morristown National Historical Park has constructed these traveling educational units to enable students to simulate what the Park and other museums do when archiving, storing, and interpreting objects from the past. We hope that by examining these objects in “museum condition,” students will gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the work involved in preserving a record of the past, as well as expand their historical reasoning and historical empathy skills. And ultimately, we hope that these boxes will serve as useful preparation for teachers planning a field trip to the Morristown National Historical Park Museum.

Unit 1
Contents of a Slave's Bag

Unit 2
Contents of Native American Bandolier Bag

Unit 3
Contents of a Colonial Lady's Pocket

Unit 4
Contents of a Soldier's Haversack

The artifacts in our Traveling Museum boxes are stored, labeled,
and catalogged just like the real objects in our special collections.

Our replica objects come with corresponding accession records and catalog
cards, so students can get the full museum experience!

Schools within the state can request the loan of the Traveling Museum Artifact Boxes by contacting 973-539-2016 (Sarah Minegar @ x 215) or (Jude Pfister @ x 204)

Our Traveling Museum Artifact boxes are available for two week loan intervals
(teacher pick up only).

Our Traveling Museum Artifact boxes utilize replica artifacts and lesson units originally developed and distributed by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. These original Hands-On History Kits can be found here. Morristown National Historical Park has utilized these fantastic materials to create its own derivation demonstrating the museum end of artifact preservation. These derivations include artifact "housing," museum object records, and original lesson materials and activities. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is in no way affiliated with the derivation of materials found here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Frelinghuysen's Youth Advisory Council Visits Special Collections

We'd like to extend a special thanks to Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, his staff, and the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for attending a special program this past Monday.