Friday, December 28, 2007

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History is fun site and a nice example of presenting history teaching resources online in an appealing fashion. The website consists of nine (so far) unsolved mysteries in Canadian history, which students are invited to solve by examining the documents, maps, photographs, and other historic evidence on the site. Each mystery includes hundreds of items for students to explore. "Please check your preconceptions about "History" at the door," students are told on the very first page of Great Unsolved Mysteries:

"Doing History" is not memorizing dates, politicians and wars. That is all just context. "Doing History" is the work of the detective, the gumshoe, the private eye -- and we need you to take on this job. All we are left with are traces, artifacts, clues, hints and allegations. Putting those together, weighing the evidence, assessing the credibility of witness accounts,
sorting out contradictions, and showing how your solution to the mysteries is the best of all the alternatives -- that is "Doing History".

Where Is Vinland? for example challenges students to trace the route of Leif Eriksson to try and discover where exactly he landed when he described the legendary Vinland. Among the assembled evidence are archaeological reports, Viking sagas, maps, hundreds of images, material objects and more. The other mysteries at the site are Torture and the Truth: Angélique and the Burning of Montreal; Jerome: The Mystery Man of Baie Sainte-Marie; Who Killed William Robinson? Race, Justice and Settling the Land; We Do Not Know His Name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War; Heaven and Hell on Earth: The Massacre of the "Black" Donnellys; Who Discovered Klondike Gold?; Aurore! The Mystery of the Martyred Child; and Explosion on the Kettle Valley Line: The Death of Peter Verigin.

These mysteries are suitable for the high school or college classroom. I have used the William Robinson site several times in my American Indians classes with great success.

(via Metafilter).

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