Activity: The Great Pontchartrain Pursuit, Section I
Learning About Cultures
Around the Lake Pontchartrain Basin


  • Share oral history anecdotes about the lake;

  • Use artifacts and other forms of evidence to illustrate the cultural history of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin;

  • Distinguish between primary and secondary sources of information.


  • artifacts associated with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin culture, such as a crab trap.

Getting Ready:

  1. Contact local public and university libraries to determine the availability of materials on e history and culture of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin.

  2. Contact local organizations such as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to obtain materials, arrange field trips and/or locate a guest speaker for your class.


  1. Tell students the purpose of the activity; explain that they are to first gather stories about the Lake Pontchartrain Basin from older people in their families and communities. Tell them to come to class on a designated date ready to share stories they have been told. They may choose to record the stories on audio- or videotape.

  2. Ask students to share their anecdotes.

  3. Define oral history and point out that their stories are a form of oral history. Discuss the values of oral history.

  4. Discuss the difference between primary and secondary sources of information. Make lists of examples on the board under the two headings, "primary sources" and "secondary sources."

  5. Introduce the term "artifact" by passing around the artifact you have chosen to use to illustrate the point. Ask the students to pretend they are anthropologists or archaeologists. What clue would the artifact provide about the people who made and used it? ("What is it used for?" "Does it tell us anything about their diet?")

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