Print and attach this sheet to the top of your assignment. I will not collect assignments without a cover sheet.
Use Times New Roman font, size 12 for all assignments.
Single space your heading and double space the content of your work.
Paper should be 2-4 pages in length.
See sample paper below.
Pick a topic about which you have a question (ex. What was it like to live in the United States of America during the Second World War?). Utilizing the Internet, libraries, people, textbooks, literature, etc., spend at least an hour investigating the answer to your question. Write a two to four page reflection on this process, about what you learned, how you would approach historical inquiry in your classroom, etc.
Content of paper focused, clear, specific. It keeps the reader’s attention. Paper shows a thoughtful, in-depth analysis of a significant topic. Reader gains important insights. The writing is compelling. It hooks the read and sustains interest throughout. Sentences are well-phrased and varied in length and structure. They flow smoothly from one to another. The writing is free of errors. Assignment guidelines followed.
Paper displays evidence of a basic analysis of a significant topic. Reader gains some insights. The writing is generally engaging, but has some dry spots. In general, it is focused and keeps the reader’s attention. Sentences are well-phrased and there is some variety in length and structure. The flow from sentence to sentence is generally smooth. The writing is free or almost free of errors. Assignment guidelines followed.
Some good points but some not there yet. Not striking
Analysis is basic or general. Reader gains few insights. The writing is dull and unengaging. Though the paper has some interesting parts, the reader finds it difficult to maintain interest. Some sentences are awkwardly constructed so that the reader is occasionally distracted. There are occasional errors, but they don’t represent a major distraction or obscure meaning. Assignment guidelines followed.
Analysis is vague or not evident. Reader is confused or may be misinformed.
The writing has little personality. The reader quickly loses interest and stops reading. Errors in sentence structure are frequent enough to be a major distraction to the reader. The writing has many errors, and the reader is distracted by them. Assignment guidelines not followed.
Inquiry Investigation Paper
I have lived on Merritt Island for the past four years and I am ashamed that I really don’t know much about the place I call home. Merritt Island residents are proud folks and enjoy a unique comradeship. I want to learn more about its history, so my question is: What was it like to live on Merritt Island before the construction of Kennedy Space Center?
I began my research into Merritt Island’s history with the internet. I explored many websites but was disappointed with the lack of information. Surprisingly, Wikipedia offered the most detailed information. I was soon frustrated using the web to do my research because most websites repeated the same information word-for-word. I was happy to discover a group called “The Mosquito Beaters” that maintains an interesting web page where old-time residents of Brevard County can post blogs about what it was like to live here prior to the 1950’s. I enjoyed reading the personal memoirs and was able to learn bits and pieces of information, whetting my appetite to learn more. For example, one woman wrote about the common practice of swimming from Cocoa to Merritt Island and another wrote about the first dairy that operated on Merritt Island, located on what is now Pioneer Road. I liked reading these stories and wondered what it would be like to live without air-conditioning, mosquito repellent, or telephone service. Just imagine having to take a boat every day to get to school! One man wrote about using conch shells to send signals to the freight station in Rockledge, just across the Indian River. Different length blows on the shell would signal if there was anything to pick up and if so, who would come fetch it. Another person wrote about the completion of the bridge to Cocoa Beach where a gambling casino opened, attracting tourists and locals alike!
As I was searching the internet for information on Merritt Island, I came across a very peculiar website that appeared legitimate. It detailed the construction of the Merritt Island Subway System. Complete with authentic photographs and a real-looking schedule, this website had me scratching my head because I know there is not a subway system in Merritt Island, and considering the fact that Merritt Island is only 3 feet above sea-level, I was especially perplexed. This website would be very confusing for a student who might believe it to be real. I still cannot figure out who would want to maintain such a website unless it is a crafty teacher who created it as a spoof. Nevertheless, this is a perfect website to visit in order to teach students not to take everything they see on the web at face value.
After spending a couple of hours digging through websites and not finding as much information as I hoped to find, I investigated a couple of books. One, titled Memories of Merritt Island, was available at the library. The book focused mostly on a few pioneering families and contained a nice assortment of photographs.
This book led me to want to visit the historical museum located in Titusville. Unfortunately, there is not a museum on the island dedicated to its history. With not enough time available to trek to Titusville, I stopped at a building located just a mile from my neighborhood where I often see vintage fire engines sitting on display. I was disappointed that the place was locked up, so I still don’t know why it is there or what organization runs it.
Finally, I decided to call a friend of the family, Skippy Lober, who lives in a very old house on Merritt Island. I have been to her home, which is registered as a historic landmark, many times, but I could not remember the details of its history. Skippy told me that her home was built in the mid 1800’s. The home faces the Indian River because when it was built, the river was the only access to the island. The main part of the house was built separate from the kitchen to prevent fires, but about 30 years ago, Skippy and her husband connected the two buildings with a causeway and added a modern laundry room. Skippy’s house is surrounded by acres of various fruit trees, also a reminder of Merritt Island’s history. I liked talking with Skippy about her house and think that students would like to visit it and learn about Merritt Island’s history. I told Skippy, who is a retired teacher that she really ought to consider allowing student groups to visit her property. She told me that her house is already on a yearly tour through the Historical Society of Brevard County.
Inquiry learning is a wonderful way to find answers to questions and should be utilized more by teachers. I used a bit of this strategy when I taught elementary school but limited access to computers, limited budget for field trips, and time constraints prevented me from using it as much as I should have. I am proud to say that when I worked as the gifted-student teacher, I used inquiry learning more often as I had more freedom and resources than I did in the regular classroom.
In conclusion, I am glad that I finally took the time to learn more about where I live. I used the internet, read a book at the library, tried to visit an old fire station, and spoke to an owner of a historical home to learn as much as I could about Merritt Island prior to the 1950’s. As I drive around Merritt Island, I now have a better appreciation for where I live. I love knowing that there used to be a dairy farm where the Circle K now sits on Pioneer Road, and that Courtenay Road used to be called Pot Hole Highway before it was paved. Gaining this new-found knowledge makes me want to learn more. For example, I would like to know about the Native Floridians who were here first. Somewhere along my research today, I learned that the Ais Indians lived on Merritt Island before the Spanish colonists decimated the tribe. Inquiry learning, I think, is a natural way to find answers to questions if one is willing to make the effort. I am, like most kids, curious and full of questions. I wish I had taken the time to learn about Merritt Island’s history years ago.