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Webquest About Grades 3-5

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In The Migration Series Jacob Lawrence created a visual and written narrative of people in states of transition--moving from one place to another. This panel shows the movement of migrants through the landscape of the South. In other images, Lawrence focused on spaces of transition such as the aisle between the seats of the train, the corner of an empty room, and a view of a train moving through the landscape.

A passage from one stage, state, subject, or place to another.

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In this webquest you will:
  • Examine how Jacob Lawrence depicts spaces of transition in The Migration Series.

  • Create a journal that shows your own daily transitions in images and writing.

  • Explore the web to discover the different contexts and difficulties of transitions for individuals and nations.
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In every town Negroes were leaving by the hundreds to go North and enter into Northern industry.

The Migration of the Negro, panel 3, 1940-41
Casein tempera on hardboard
18 x 12 in. (45.7 x 30.5 cm)
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
© Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, courtesy of the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation
  1. Look at  Jacob Lawrence's painting, panel #3 from The Migration Series. Move your mouse over the painting and find questions to discuss with your classmates.

  2. Look at the whole Migration Series. Go to http://www.jacoblawrence.org/art04.html, scroll down to the "series" box and choose The Migration Series from the pull down menu. Click on SUBMIT. Click on the small thumbnail picture to see a large image.

  3. Find other images that picture spaces of transition.

    How many spaces of transition can you find?
    What kinds of spaces are they?
    What devices has Jacob Lawrence used to communicate the idea of transition?

    Think about the television shows you watch regularly. How does one episode in a series transition to the next episode?

  4. The word "transition" encompasses many different meanings; it can imply passing from one room to another, one country to another, or one time to another. Although a transition can be unsettling, it can also present an opportunity to start something fresh and new.

    Discover how people have used the web to document transitions and to help people deal with challenging transitions in their own lives. Explore the web resources below to learn about different transitions and the difficulties of transition for individuals and nations.

    Look at the games shots for Riven and Myst for examples of fantasy spaces.

  5. What kinds of transitions have you experienced? For example, moving to a new home? School? City? Country? Transition from childhood to teen years?

    Think of one transition that you have been through.
    How did you feel about this transition?
    In what ways was it a new experience for you?

  6. Think about some of the transitional spaces that you inhabit every day. For example, going from home to school, from classroom to classroom, or indoors to outdoors.

  7. Sketch or photograph your own spaces of transition. Write a text to accompany your visual images. Make a journal that documents one or more of your daily transitions. Create your journal on paper, or on the computer. Include your own drawings or photographs of transitional spaces.

    If you are using a computer, make your journal in PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, HyperStudio, or other software that incorporates images and text. If you can, add sound. Use your own voice to narrate your text.

  8. Present and discuss your journals with the class.

    How did you describe your movement from one place to another?
    How did the visual images help to tell your story?
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Photo essay on the former Soviet Bloc in transition.

Diaries from Hong Kong's transition.

Women recovering from adverse situations.

Senior citizens moving.

Clothing for poor women entering the working world.

Families undergoing transitions.

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You will be evaluated on your written or digital journal entries about your ideas of space and transition. Your teacher may also choose to create rubrics for evaluation.
  • Journal and/or Multimedia Evaluation:
    Do your journal entries include reflective comments about how Jacob Lawrence depicts transition? How does he show the idea of people moving from one place to another. What evidence of "space" can you find?

  • Does your narrative or story clearly show thoughts and experiences about your own daily movements and transitions? Is your narrative well written and does it show evidence of creativity and originality? Does it include visual images that are relevant to your written ideas? If you created a digital journal, do the multimedia elements and techniques used enhance rather than distract from your narrative?

  •  Learning Standards Addressed
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Compare your findings of transitions on the web to those that you documented from your everyday life.

What similarities can you find? What differences?

Consider how the term "transition" has been used on the web. Conduct your own search on the term "transition" in general. Investigate and compare how this term is used in different contexts. Discuss your findings with your classmates.

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©2001 Whitney Museum of American Art