In an activity based on the Life Road Maps strategy, students draw a map of someone’s life that highlights the important events and decisions that shaped that person’s identity. This activity helps students better understand historical or literary figures by focusing their attention on the many factors that contributed to a figure’s decision making. You can use this strategy as part of a research project, as a way to review previously studied material, or as an assessment tool. You can also have students create personal “life road maps” to help them reflect on key choices that have shaped their own identities.
This also makes for a useful community-building activity at the beginning of a Facing History class or unit. Use it at the beginning of an identity unit or at the beginning of a course to help create a safe environment in which students feel comfortable sharing and listening to one another.
Personal Life Road Map: Students can follow these same steps to construct a life road map for themselves. This can be something they share with their classmates as a way to help students get to know each other, or it can be a final assignment for an identity unit.
Multiple Perspectives on Someone’s Life: You can assign several students the same person as the focus of a life road map. Students might collaborate on research but still produce their own road maps. The benefit of this variation is that it gives students the opportunity to see how the same information can be interpreted to construct different life stories.
Students broaden their understanding of the relationship between Scout and Calpurnia by pairing scenes from Harper Lee’s two novels with a historical account from a Southern domestic worker.