Putting It All Together
The following activities will help students understand the importance of Rancho Los Alamitos as a historic resource and learn how to evaluate historic resources in their own community.
Activity 1: The Ranch House
Consulting the drawings and photos in the lesson, have the students construct a model of the Rancho Los Alamitos, using cardboard or any other practical material. The students should be sure to make the walls of the original house thicker that those of the additions. Some may choose to draw their conception of what the house looked like during the various stages of its construction. Either of these activities will help students visualize more clearly the changes that occurred in Rancho Los Alamitos from 1850 to the early 1900s.
Activity 2: Imagining Life at Rancho Los Alamitos
Have the students write journal or diary entries or short papers in which they imagine they are living in the ranch house during each of the first four stages of its construction. They should try to describe what daily life was like and how it changed. Encourage them to think about the problems of daily life each phase of construction attempted to solve. What were the advantages of the changes? What were the disadvantages? Another variation of this activity would be for students to role-play the same situations.
Activity 3: Determining National Register Eligibility
The nomination form documenting Rancho Los Alamitos for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) provides a brief history of the site, describes its significance, and presents an argument for designating it as a place of historical importance. Ask the students to discuss whether they agree that this rancho has enough historical importance to be included in the Register. They should select at least two of the areas of significance listed below that typically are applied by the NRHP in deciding whether or not inclusion in the Register is justified. The students should cite specific facts to support their conclusions and defend their selections. Note that some of the following areas may not be applicable or the evidence presented may be insufficient.
*Archeology HistoricNon-Aboriginal: archeological study of non-aboriginal cultures after the advent of written records.
*Architecture: the practical art of designing and constructing buildings to serve human needs.
*Economics: the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth; the management of monetary and other assets.
*Ethnic HeritageEuropean: the history of persons having origins in Europe.
*Ethnic HeritageHispanic: the history of persons having origins in the Spanish-speaking areas of the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America.
*Exploration/Settlement: the investigations of unknown or little-known regions; the establishment and earliest development of new settlements or communities.
*Industry: the technology and process of managing materials, labor, and equipment to produce goods and services.
Activity 4: Locating Significant Local Properties
Using the criteria found in Activity 3, have the students examine a property in their own community that is listed in the National Register or that students believe should be listed. Have them discuss which areas of significance they would use if they were preparing a nomination for that property, and how they would justify their decisions. Students and teachers who are interested in finding out what properties in their area are listed in the National Register should consult the National Register's NRIS, a searchable on-line database. The on-line versions of Bulletin 15, How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation and Bulletin 16a,
Guidelines for Completing National Register of Historic Places Forms may also be of interest. If a property is not listed, consider contacting the local preservation or historical organization, or the state historic preservation office, for information about preparing a nomination. Students could research information for and prepare a nomination for the property.