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From a rustic post-Revolutionary War settlement hugging the swampy banks of the Potomac to today's politically charged metropolis, Washington, DC, has been the backdrop for some of the nation's most important history. But there's way more to the capital than just stone monuments and political hustle and bustle.

District Comics tours some of DC's lesser-known moments, with stops along the way for a duel, a drink in the Senate speakeasy, a shoeshine, and much more. These are the stories you otherwise might never hear, featuring some of the city's most captivating characters - from printers and police officers to pandas and punks. And, of course, a few politicians.

Comprehension and Collaboration - Tour the Monuments

For more information about the monuments throughout Washington, DC, you can watch this video or look at this webpage.

Now, choose your favorite monument, and using what you've learned in the fact sheet about each monument, design a 4- or 6-panel comic strip to detail the history associated with the monument. You might need to do a little more research to bring the characters to live, or to uncover even more exciting stories associated with the monument. Think "Action!" - that's the key to making your comic come alive.

Craft and Structure - Live Action Reporting

In "Burn, Washington, Burn!", Dolley Madison had to respond quickly to protect several important works of art, including an important painting of George Washington when the British army advanced on DC, intent on burning the city and the White House with it.

The comic form is one way of telling this story. In a recent blogpost, Maryland state archeologists tell the story in another way - like a live-action report, complete with illustrations and photos.

Compare and contrast the amount of information you read in each type of text - which do you think tells the story most effectively? How about most accurately? And which do you think you'll remember most clearly? Why?

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas - a Broader View

District Comics focuses on the history of one specific area over many years. For a look at what was happening elsewhere during those times, check out these videos from the Smithsonian Institution (the world's largest museum, which happens to be in Washington DC):

  • A video on one of the most famous relics from the War of 1812 (that just happened to inspire our national anthem)
  • A video about the nation's cemetery, where members of the armed services from the Revolutionary War through present day are buried
  • A video about secrets, spies, and mysteries
  • A video about World War II, as it looked in Europe

Take one story, or one point in time, found in District Comics and use it to launch a research project for a time or event that made an impact somewhere outside of Washington DC. Was it a war? Was it a Civil Rights movement? Was it the start of a new, exciting kind of music?

Now, find a way YOU want to tell the story. You can write a paper, film a short video, or write a song to commemorate the event. If you're interested in the history, tell it in a way that interests you!

Supplemental Videos