Teardrop camping trailers are the beginning of the RV movement in the United States. With their roots in the chuck wagons of the cowboy days, they have grown have a modern following that includes the very small campers to still small but more elaborate off road trailers pulled behind Jeeps and other off road vehicles. Teardrop trailers can be purchased but many still custom build their own trailers for their own unique design.

Mark Janke (pronounced Y AH N k ee), and Adventist educator in Spokane, Washington built his own teardrop, that he named the jPod, for off road use. As he was completing the project he began thinking about how he could use his trailer in his teaching of US History in junior high and high school classes. He received the Don Keele for Excellence in Education and used the funding to begin a documentary film project with lesson plans in social studies, math, economics, and industrial arts. The unit will include primary sources, teacher materials, and assessments.

Mark has created a web site that has documented in detail his building process and his film project. As he was working on his film project he came across Larry Shank. Larry has a teardrop trailer and custom Jeep that his father built and his family used just after World War II. In addition to the one of a kind teardrop/tow vehicle combination, Larry had a lot of film footage of his family using the teardrop when he was a child. Mark has now started a second film project to tell the story of this unique snapshot of history.

Follow the film progress here. We’ll be sure to tell you when the teaching unit is complete.