This trace-based case is focused on the following question: How did railroads contribute to Florida’s economic and social development?
In a trace-based case, begin with a trace of history, like an artifact, photo, painting, or other visual text. In this case, begin with a postcard depicting a train. Ask students: What do you see in the image? Then ask: What do you think is happening? Then we begin to ask more descriptive questions about the trace.
Step 1: Descriptive Questions. We begin with some descriptive questions. These evidence-based questions provide background information to help students contextualize. However, rather than assigning these questions, work on them together with some group activities that involve a variety of sources, including: artifacts, photos, paintings, maps, charts, graphs, and written primary and secondary sources.
Introduce students to the following:
Using the resources ask:
- Who brought railroads to Florida?
- Who used the railroads?
- When did railroads come to Florida?
- Where did they build the railroads?
Fund the discussion by pointing students to the following historic photos:
Step 2: Analysis Questions . Analysis begins with why and how questions, which explore the relationship of the parts to the whole.
- Why did Flagler and Plant build railroads in Florida?
- How did the railroads impact the economic and social development of Florida?
You may also introduce additional resources:
Step 3: Evaluation Questions. Evaluation questions considers implications, solutions, conclusions, or recommendations:
- What if the railroads had never been built?
Then have students ask some questions:
- What if?
- So what?
- What now? and
- What next?