Horse-draw carts have existed for a long time, they were an important form of transportation throughout the world, including in the US Virgin Islands. Among their popular uses, they were a primary means that merchants used to bring their wares to towns and markets. In terms of technology, the concept would evolve and closed horse-drawn carriages were invented. The technology continued to evolve with better engineering to make horse drawn vehicles safer, quicker and designed for a smoother ride. Later inventions such as the railroad, and then automobiles would result in the decline of horse drawn carts and carriages.
In this activity, students will answer questions to help them analyze a photograph of a person going to town in a horse-drawn cart on the island of St. Croix. They will compare the vehicle shown in the photograph to the vehicles they are familiar with today and discuss changes in transportation and technology.
Primary Sources in this Activity
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Before beginning this activity, help students to understand what a primary source is.
Load the photograph onto an interactive smart board and have students make observations together. If there is not a smart board, students can work in small groups at computers.
Also load the Analyze a Photograph worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions on the worksheet.
Analyze the Primary Source
Using the questions from the Analyze a Photograph worksheet, lead students through a photograph analysis and discussion about the details they observe in the 1940s photo of a person going to town in a horse-drawn cart on the island of St. Croix. You may load the Analyze a Photograph worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions, print the worksheet and distribute to your students, or adapt the questions from the worksheet to create your own. Primary Source Analysis Worksheets
This is a primary source analysis, so have students to go through the following progression, as outlined in the worksheet:
Meet the photograph.
Observe its parts.
Try to make sense of it.
Use it as historical evidence.
The teacher may wish to draw students’ attention to the details of the person’s clothing, their expression, the wagon, the road, and other details. Ask students to list similarities and the differences between the vehicle in the photo and the vehicles they ride in today. The class can discuss the topic of change, and more specifically how discoveries and inventions have affected transportation.
In the book “Bull of Annaly” author Fritz E. Lawaetz talks about his mule and carts with which he took his younger brothers and sisters from Little La Grange to Frederiksted, St. Croix to attend school. The teacher may want to read the related passages from the book to students.