Our exciting, curriculum-based history labs offer students of all grade levels a special in-depth experience highlighting specific themes from Dallas County history. Students can test their persuasive skills in our And Be It Resolved mock trial program, understand leadership and the legacy of Dallas mayor, Erik Jonsson, or experience how inventions from Dallas County changed our lives in Computer Chips to Corny Dogs.
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Deep Ellum Blues
This hands-on music program is sure to be a hit with your student! Students will learn about the history of the blues in Dallas. They participate in creating their own one-of-a-kind blues song with auto harps, sleigh bells, Lummi sticks, sand blocks, and other musical instruments while learning about the 3-chord song structure and A-A-B lyric style. Students will learn how the blues influenced modern music with a special video by Grammy Award-winning blues musician, Zac Harmon.
History Labs K-3
Castle in the City
Young faces glow with excitement as they step into the “Castle in the City” to learn about what makes this 1892 former courthouse the most unique building in Dallas. Students will explore history and architecture by analyzing the shape-based details of Old Red. Students go on an indoor scavenger hunt to identify interesting designs unique to Old Red’s architecture. Students are prompted to design a building of their own by combining shapes that they can take home.
How did people travel 100 years ago? How do we travel today? How will people and goods be transported in the future? Take a trip through history while learning about the many types of transportation that were important to the growth of Dallas County. Students will use the information learned and their imaginations to create a futuristic vehicle to take home.
Hats in the Courtroom
Judge, bailiff, lawyer, witnesses, and jury members all “wear different hats” as they carry out their responsibilities in a courtroom. Imagine the excitement of sitting in the witness chair, keeping order in the court, presenting a case, or voting as a jury member to reach a verdict. Students learn about various roles in a fun way as they wear hats and participate in a simple trial. Students will step up to the judge’s bench, sit in the lawyer’s chair, and take the witness stand in the beautifully restored 1892 courtroom. After the verdict is read, students have the opportunity to make a hat of their own to take home. Most students in the group must be able to read a basic trial script.
Learn about the culture in the early days of Dallas’ history and compare it with modern day society. Students will learn how settlers adapted to the physical area; what their basic needs were and how those needs were met; community leaders who helped shape Dallas and what life was like in the early days. Students will make a fun art project to take home.
History Labs: Grades 4-6
You be the Architect
This program illustrates practical applications of symmetry; how technological advances change the city landscape; and using critical thinking to problem solve. Students will participate in a range of hands-on activities to discover the first steps in building, how skyscrapers work, why details matter, how to infer what a building by its design, and create a building for the future.
Computer Chips to Corny Dogs
Dallas County evolved through the innovative spirit of people with hopeful dreams of a better life. Students will learn about the exciting businesses and inventions that began in the Dallas area ranging from Texas Instruments and the integrated circuit to Fletcher’s Corny Dogs. Through a variety of hands-on stations, students investigate important firsts and learn about Dallas inventors who impacted history. Students will build their own circuits, invent their own products, learn about advertising and strategic planning in this newly updated perennial favorite.
Trains, Planes, and Automobiles
Transporting people, goods, and ideas has kept Dallas moving forward for more than 150 years. From crossing the Trinity River in wagons in 1841 to crossing oceans in airplanes today, transportation has always been important to the growth of Dallas County. Students will journey through history with hands-on stations and create transportation time lines, learn about safety, use maps to plan routes through Dallas, learn how technology has changed transportation, investigate transportation jobs and discover the many ways goods are transported.
And the Verdict Is…
The dynamics of law and society take shape as students become active participants in a mock trial. From judge and bailiff to lawyers and jury, every student plays an active role in completing and analyzing a civil court case, and understanding the important components of a trial. Students exercise their public speaking abilities and have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enhance their critical thinking skills as they write opening statements, witness testimonies, and closing arguments. Their hard work is put to the test as a jury of their peers deliberates the information presented and returns with a verdict.
Leadership and Legacy
This program focuses on Erik Jonsson’s contributions as a leader in the Dallas community and his private business by highlighting his achievements and accomplishments, and by explaining how he created a lasting legacy through the improvement of Dallas with public-use buildings. The program includes hands-on stations where students will be challenged to look at their own personal strengths and interests, analyze their community, plan for success, and discuss goals to help them think about making positive contributions to their own community.
History Labs: Grades 7-9
And Be It Resolved
Judge, jury, bailiff, lawyers, and witnesses all come to life as students create a mock trial in Old Red’s 1892 restored courtroom. This year, we present a brand new civil court case based on Japanese Internment Camps during World War II. Students learn the roles and responsibilities of each player, the details of court proceedings, and how to create and analyze arguments. They sharpen their critical thinking skills and have a unique opportunity to practice public speaking in the mock trial format. This allows students to write opening statements, question witnesses, and create closing arguments while learning about our justice system in a fun and interactive way.
Marketing in Big Business
Students will experience first-hand what goes into marketing products with a focus on Dallas inventions by learning about the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Students will work in teams to develop a marketing plan and then make a pitch to their class. This program is a great opportunity for students to show off their strengths, from analyzing and articulating, to being creative and showcasing work.
History Labs: Grades 10-12
A Date Which Will Live in Infamy
World War II might not have been fought on American soil, but it definitely impacted the daily lives of American citizens. Students will analyze wartime propaganda produced by the U.S. Office of War Information, political cartoons, the effects of Executive Order 9066 on Dallas County, the changing workforce for wartime manufacturing, as well as other ways the American people were drawn into World War II.
Zombies & Politics
The world has been overrun by zombies and Dallas County is one of the last human strongholds. Each student will work in a group representing one of the suburbs and a foreign relation theory based on how they feel we can survive the zombies. The program will conclude with a Human Council meeting to have a structured debate and discussion on Dallas’ survival plan for outlasting the zombies. This program will allow students a new way to critically think about how the governments of the world work together for the benefit of all.
Called to Order
Brown v. Board of Education is seen as the essential case dealing with segregation in the public school system. During this program, students will have the opportunity to look at other cases dealing with segregation and perform the landmark case, Cisneros v. Corpus Christi ISD. Students will act out this historical case, allowing them to understand the struggles for better schooling for all in Texas in the 1970s as well as the ins and outs of our court system. A discussion will follow looking at the verdict of the case and comparing the school system today, to the school system back then. This program allows students to engage with a federal case that has had an impact on their own education today.