Drawing on Bloom’s Taxonomy of skills, a number of guided discovery activities will be presented in the form of questions for exploration. Although several are suggested, it is entirely acceptable to use student or teacher-generated questions as well.

Each activity will follow this design format:



RESEARCH using both primary and secondary sources


ORGANIZATION of findings into a presentation format and drawing of conclusions


GROUP ACTIVITY that organizes individual findings into a group project with consensus and conclusions

A note about assessment: Assessment in this unit should be designed to measure the student facility with skills (primarily). Specific examples are included, but you might incorporate things like differentiating between primary and secondary sources of information, identifying an author’s bias, locating a variety of research sources in the library or on the internet, and synthesizing information to form conclusions.


Students need first to be introduced to the idea of primary sources and the notion that the study of history is a construction of views, opinions, published accounts and inferences, all demonstrating personal bias. The first step in this process is to explore what the class already knows about the period between 1900 and 1940.

Collect observations on chart paper or record them from the board for later use. Have students brainstorm whatever that period brings to their minds.

Prompts you might use include:

1900 — 1940

  • Technology

  • Working

  • Men

  • Women

  • Cultures

  • Languages

  • Dress

  • Money

You are attempting to isolate the commonly held notions and stereotypes of this period. If you have been using a textbook, it would be helpful to have certain passages available relating to this period in the United States, or passages from popular textbooks in use. If conflicting accounts can be found, they would be especially useful for the exercise (look to older textbooks). Most teachers will find that many stereotypes exist, even after a prolonged study of this period (and sometimes because of it).

The next guided question centers on how we know this ‘stuff’. Again, start a new series of chart paper with prompts like:

Where do textbook writers get their information from?

How is history written?

Where do our impressions of this period come from?

This would be a great opportunity to invite a researcher or author (non-fiction) in to speak to the class about how they do their research! How about inviting a museum curator in?

You could also probe some of the identified stereotypes. For example, women did not participate in the workforce during the period (a commonly held notion). Ask your students if they know anyone, perhaps a grandmother or elderly female relative, who worked as a young woman before World War II.

Draw out a variety of responses, including written records, newspapers, letters, movies and personal account.

The teacher needs to establish a healthy skepticism among the students, and help them realize that texts tell only part of the story, and sometimes draw conclusions on only part of the evidence. At best, they present an ‘average’ view of the past. This is also a wonderful time introduce the notion of personal bias in written and oral accounts of history.

This is the time to introduce students to the Tirocchi website. A short introduction to where Providence is located might be helpful in some parts of the country, but delving into the history of Providence will become part of the activity and does not need to be explored here.

The Curriculum Guide
  Constructing History
  Educational Standards
  The Curriculum Activity
  Beginning the Unit
  Exercise One
  Exercise Two
  Exercise Three

  History Standards
Arts Standards












The Timeline can help students become familiar with national and international events during the Tirocchi period, as well as introducing them to major art and design trends of the time.





















Introduce students to the Tirocchis by having them read from the 514 BROADWAY pages, where they can learn about the Tirocchi family and the business in The STORY, and about the way scholars arrived at their conclusions in The EVIDENCE.