Lesson Plan

Teaching with Oral History: Lower Elementary

Oral history is a tool for learning about people, places, and events.

Grade Levels

Lower Elementary School; Grades 1‐3


1‐3 class periods. This activity has been designed to be customized to your learning goals and your students’ individual needs. Choose to do the complete lesson plan or select parts with your students based on your schedule and objectives.


Students utilize oral histories as a tool for learning about people, places, and events. As students explore the interview process by developing interview questions, conducting interviews with their classmates, and retelling the stories they collect, they gain an understanding of the way oral histories help us to learn about the past and each other.

Related Museum Programs: All; Uses content from the Hard Times program


Students will:

  • Understand that oral history is a way of gathering detailed information that helps us understand a specific time, place, person, or event.
  • Understand what an interview is.
  • Experience what it is like to participate in the interview process.
  • Understand that all of us have important stories to share.



Essential Questions

  • How do historians learn about the past?
  • How can oral histories help us to understand the past?


  • Object Photos (located in appendix)
  • Interview Worksheet (located in appendix)
  • Story Worksheet (located in appendix)
  • Pencils
  • Chart paper
  • Recording of Josephine Baldizzi’s oral history
  • Picture of Josephine Baldizzi (located in the appendix of this lesson)


  • Historian
  • Oral History
  • Interview

Questions on lessons and activities?

The materials on this page can enrich a visit to the Museum or help you teach about immigration. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail us.

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