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What Do You Know About Mummers?


As part of your unit on traditions you are going to explore the wonderful world of mummery. A tradition that dates back to the 1700s in America and is still celebrated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania every January 1.

Currently there are four divisions that make up the mummers: comics, fancies, fancy brigades and string bands.

You are going to research the history of mummery along with the four divisions of the current mummers.

The academic standard that will be assessed in this webquest is a history standard: 8.1.6. D., which is to describe and explain historical research.


You and three friends are news reporters from Holyoke, Massachusetts and will be covering the New Year's Day Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Your first job is to collaboratively research the history of mummery by answering the questions to follow, so you have an idea of what is going on before you go to the parade. Second, you will each choose a division to research and answer the questions that follow, this will also be the division you will follow through the parade. Third you are to create a list of questions you will ask the mummers at the parade. You must come up with at least 5 questions.

Questions on History

1. What is the definition of a mummer?
2. Of what origin are the original American mummers?
3. Where did these settlers settle?
4. What was the point of parading around on December 26?
5. Back in the 1800s, how would the mummers make noise?
6. When was the first sponsored parade in the city of Philadelphia?
7. What is the traditional rhyme that goes along with mummery?
8. For the most part, mummers are all men. When were females officially allowed to be a mummer?
9. What song and dance are contributed to the mummers?
10. True or False: The four divisions are putting on a show for the people, but not competing with each other in their divisions.

Questions on Comics

1. What do the comics represent?
2. What place do the comics come up in the order of the parade?
3. What is the most common prop associated with comics?

Questions on Fancies

1. How many fancies clubs are there?
2. What place do the fancies come up in the order of the parade?
3. How is the music provided that the fancies perform to?

Questions on the Fancy Brigades

1. Where do the fancy brigades perform?
2. Why do they perform there?
3. What is MummersFest?

Questions on String Bands

1. What is the main difference between string bands and the other divisions of mummers?
2. When did string bands first join the parade?
3. What is an interesting fact about the musicians in the string bands?


As a team you need to work together for part one of this project, use the websites below to help in your exploration and answering of the 10 questions.
For part two you will work independently; the websites below will be of use for answering the questions about each division.
For part three you are to independently create your own interview questions that you wish to ask the mummers on New Year's Day when you are covering the parade.
Once you have completed all three parts, you must prepare a presentation for class as a team. You may do this however you wish. Some examples for presentations include using: poster boards, tri-fold boards, power point, etc.

Websites to be used:
Special History on Mummers
Mummer History
Mummers Parade
PhiladelphiaMummers Parade
Fancy Brigades
String Bands
Philly Mummers


Your grade will be based on the following rubric.

All parts are complete and exceed expectations.
All parts are complete.
One part is incomplete
More than one part is incomplete.
Covers topic in-depth. Includes details and gives examples.
Covers the topic.
Includes relevant information, but has 1 or 2 factual errors.
Includes little information and has many factual errors.
Properly uses the sources given, as well as, uses other sources.
Properly uses the sources given.
Needs little assistance accessing the websites given.
Needs much assistance accessing the websites given.
Content is well organized: uses headings and bullets and/or numberings.
Uses headings and bullets and/or numberings,but the organization is flawed.
Content is organized for the most part.
There was minimal organization, just a lot of facts.
The workload was divided and shared equally with all team members.
The workload is divided with team members; however the workload varies amongst each team member.
The workload is divided amongst team members; however one member is not completing his/her workload.
The workload was not divided equally or many team members did not complete their fair share of work.
Oral Presentation
Interesting, smooth delivery that held the teacher and peers attention.
Pretty interesting, with a fairly smooth delivery that held the teacher and peers attention.
Delivery was not smooth, but did hold the teacher and peers attention.
Delivery was not smooth, nor did it hold the teacher and peers attention.

You will be given one point for having the project in by its due date (March 22, 2010).

The project will be graded as a group grade, so if you have difficulties with a teammate please make an appointment to meet with me about the situation.


So you have researched a tradition in a different part of this country, my questions to you are:

Did you know about this tradition before the project?
What do you think about this tradition?
Do you think that you would like to travel to Philadelphia, PA to see the New Year's Day parade?
Which division do you think would be your favorite division and why?

Maybe this has sparked an interest for you and you want to continue to research the topic, I say, "Put on 'dem Golden Slippers,' and strut on!"

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