2 class periods of 45 minutes each
In 1860 life expectancy was much lower than it is today. By studying death schedules from the 1800s it is quite obvious that people often died from causes that rarely cause death today.
If possible, have students obtain copies of death schedules from various decades from local government offices. Check with your county clerk for local death records. The state archines is another possble source for death records. The Federal Census Records for the years 1950-1970 each contains death records as part of the census.
Death records are records of those who died with a given year. They are government records and may be found in different locations. The United States Cenus records for the years 1850-1870 include death records. By studying death records you can analyze the impact of death upon a family.
The students will be able to:
a. Find and research death schedules.
b. Contrast causes of death in the past with those of today.
c. Identify diseases that no longer exist.
d. Compare the average age of death of men and women in the 1800s.
Have students list their ideas of diseases or illnesses that caused death in pioneer times that are not fatal today. The United States Census for the years 1850-1870 contain the mortality schedule for each town in the United States. This activity is an analysis based upon actual census records. To obtain copies of death schedules, check with your local county clerk. Request death records for years from 1850-1870. College libraries will have copies of the US Census for the years 1850-1870. The names you see here are fictitious but the other statistics are taken from actual death schedules. Explanation of Terms:
Steps 3 through 7 make up a list of 35 names from a death record census in the year 1860. Each step is a list of individuals within a particular category who died in 1860. Each step is one part of the total census death record. Of 35 names listed for the year four females age 21 or older died. First names and causes of death are listed:
Compare this with other census records/with the death of men in step 3. Of the 35 names listed seven were males ages 20 and older. The first names, ages, and causes of death are as follows:
Of the 35 names listed two were teenagers. Their names, ages, and causes of death are listed below:
Of the 35 names listed on the death schedule four were ages 5-12 years of age. Their names, ages, and cause of death are listed here.
Of the 35 names listed on the death records eighteen were under the age of 5. Their names, ages, and causes of death are listed here.
Place names of those on death list in a container and have students draw for their character. Write obituaries, family letters, poems, or doctor reports.
Visit a graveyard with your class and do similar activities. Some may find ancestors. A family history activity might be a good follow up.
Create a blank journal with each of these statements placed on the top portion of a blank sheet of paper. You might add your own talent kick off statement:
Assessment will likely be based upon projects that come out of the information provided here.