Saturday, September 15, 2012

America in the 1880s - A DVD Review

$24.95 (Sale - $19.95)

This DVD is suggested for 4th grade - Adult.  Marshall Publishing also offers many other great items, including historical DVDs about other great Americans, such Abraham Lincoln and George Washington Carver. I recently reviewed the George Washington Carver DVD.

Running time is 60 minutes, including a very informative bonus track about Alexander Graham Bell.

Marshall Publishing offers a study guide, with interesting facts and discussion questions.  This will help you get even more out of the lesson and help you gauge your child's comprehension of the topic.

About the DVD (from the website):
"What was life like in America in the 1880s? Certainly nothing like today, yet many of the things we so cherish now had their roots during this significant and often time neglected decade in history.
Just like a time machine, we transport you back to discover the people and events that shaped this exciting decade: the Brooklyn Bridge ...Washington Monument ...Statue of Liberty ...Gunfight at the O.K. Corral ...Oklahoma Land Rush ...Johnstown Flood ...Thomas Edison ...Mark Twain ...Baby Doe ...Sitting Bull ...Sarah Bernhardt ...John Philip Sousa ...Buffalo Bill ...Gilbert and Sullivan ...Wyatt Earp...Jesse James and Billy the Kid ....Alexander Graham Bell ....John D. Rockefeller ....Andrew Carnegie ....Samuel Gompers ....Susan B. Anthony ....Lillian Russell ....and many more!
You will learn about fashion, politics, sports heroes, famous inventors, Wall Street financiers, railroad expansion, buffalo extinction, Indian resettlement, Civil Rights, union organization, urbanization, the music of the times, and much, much more!
Through the use of live re-enactments, rare historical photographs and drawings, and award-winning photography you will be amazed, amused, entertained and educated about many little known facts and some life changing events that have become part of the foundation of our society today.
As a special bonus feature, we also present an archival documentary film about the life of Alexander Graham Bell, his work with the deaf and the invention of the telephone!"

Code for FREE Shipping: TOS27

Our Thoughts:

I am fascinated with history, love to read about to watch to discuss it.  I also love teaching history outside of textbooks...biographies, documentaries, etc.  So I was quick to volunteer to review this DVD. 

The first 30 minutes is a documentary about the 1880s.  A cheerful narrator and soothing background music are our guides on the journey.  The journey is a walk through time to the 1880s.  We have a front-row seat to a decade full of adventures.  The DVD utilizes actual photographs, as well colorful video footage of landmarks and charming re-enactments of some of the decades highlights.

We explored famous people and landmarks, people's favorite past-times, politics, sports, inventors, and more.  Alexander Graham Bell, Baseball, Trains, the Erie Canal, Fashion, and many more topics of interest.  I learned how time zones were related to train travel and how soup cans were used to catch golf balls.  We learned about the very conservative dress of the decade, as well as the fact that Niagara Falls was the honeymoon vacation of choice.  So much great information was crammed into the 30 minutes of video, yet it didn't seem rushed or confusing. 

The 30 minute bonus track about Alexander Graham Bell is an actual black-and-white documentary called "Mr. Bell", filmed for the 100th anniversary of his birth.  It takes us on a journey showing how Mr. Bell invented the telephone.  This is amazing enough on its own.  But I also enjoyed hearing actual quotes of Mr. Bell.  He was quite the visionary, and so many (if not all) of his hopes for the phone have come to be. 

In addition to his genius, I am impressed with his character.  Towards the end of his life, he shared his knowledge and his hopes and passed the torch on to the next generation of inventors.

I learned a lot about not only what he did, but about who he was. 

Side Note:  I did find the two images of public hangings a bit disturbing, as did my daughters.  So if you have squeamish ones, you might want to have them look away.  It is during the discussion of outlaws and only lasts a few seconds.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.


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