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History Center of Niagara receives grant to create virtual lessons on Erie Canal


Mon, Feb 8th 2021 04:10 pm

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor has named the History Center of Niagara in Lockport as one of 13 New York state nonprofit organizations or municipalities to receive funding through its IMPACT! Grant program.

The History Center was awarded $4,180 to develop and implement six virtual lessons plans highlighting the history, geography and engineering of the Flight of Five locks at Lockport; the impact the Erie Canal had on the local, state and national economy; as well as innovations in transportation and communication. The grants provide organizations the opportunity to create programming that can be utilized until in-person field trips can resume and, later, as lessons in preparation for a visit to the Erie Canal. Schools in other parts of the U.S. will also be able to use the lessons to teach about the Erie Canal.

The lessons are targeted at fourth grade students who study the Erie Canal and local history at that grade level. Teachers will be able to access the lessons for use in the classroom or through virtual learning platforms, which students can interact with at home. The lessons are based on the inquiry design model (IDM) using New York state learning standards for fourth grade local history and government. These will include questions and performance tasks for the students to answer and complete based on information and documents provided in the lessons.

Photos, maps, charts and other documents can be enlarged, downloaded or printed for careful examination by the students.

A committee of three educators worked on writing the lessons and selecting images and other documents for students to examine and analyze. Heidi Ziemer, outreach and digital services coordinator for the Western New York Library Resources Council; Rich Pyszczek, coordinator for social studies for the Buffalo Public Schools; and Ann Marie Linnabery, education coordinator for the History Center, met over the past few months to complete the lessons. Short, supplemental videos will be included with the lessons to expand on certain themes and introduce students to the Erie Canal, the Flight of Five Locks, the Discovery Center, the History Center and other local historic sites.

The lessons will be available on the History Center’s website, niagarahistory.org, by the end of February. For more information, or for other sites hosting the lessons, contact Linnabery at 716-434-7433 or at [email protected].

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