American Settlement of the Great Plains
Lesson 1: What Are the Great Plains and Where Are They?
Time Estimated: 1 day
- Locate the Great Plains on a map of the United States.
- Discuss the geographic features of the Great Plains.
- Investigate the struggle between the settlers and the Native Americans.
- Anticipate what tools and equipment the settlers would need to settle the land.
- Blank map of United States (Handout 1)
- Photos of elements of the Great Plains with 5 photos
- Notebook for interactive notebook page
- Overhead projector and transparencies
- Colored pencils
- Textbook pages 160 - 165
- Hook: The starter (top, left) in the interactive notebook page will be -- "If you were traveling to a far off place to settle what geographic features would you like it to have?” (Example: trees).
- After the students answer the question in their notebooks we will discuss a list of some answers written on the board.
- We will use this list to explain that the Great Plains were not the ideal place to settle and the settlers were aided in their success with many technological advances. This unit will focus on the settlement of this land and what the technological advances were that aided the settlers.
- The students will receive a blank map of the United States (Handout 1) with space at the bottom for notes. This map will be the Info side (right side) of their notes.
- Using an overhead copy of the same map the students will come to the overhead and point to the area of the US on the map where they think the land is flat. After the students finish guessing at the overhead I will point out the area on the map of the Great Plains and color it in and the students will do the same on their map. The students will then name the states that are contained in the Great Plains.
- Next, I will give a list of notes at the bottom of the page: Features of the Great Plains
- The notes will include:
- Flatlands that rise gradually from east to west
- Land eroded by wind and water
- Low rainfall
- Frequent dust storms
- These notes will also be placed on the overhead.
- The students will use the map of Native American settlement on page 161 of their text, America: A History of the United States, to determine what Native American tribes had already settled on the Great Plains. The answers will be listed on the board. Next we will discuss, briefly, the history of the Native Americans prior to the settlers and how the settlement affected them. We will then discuss the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and the students will read “The Dawes Act Fails” on page 165 of their text. On the back of Handout 1 the students will answer two questions:
- What was the Dawes Act?
- If you were the President, how would you have handled the situation?
- The process or conclusion of the lesson (bottom, left) will be for the students to answer the question:
- If you were going to settle on the Great Plains, what tools and equipment do you think you would need?
The students will then give some of their answers and there will be a preview of the next three days when they will investigate the technology that allowed the settlers to inhabit the Great Plains.
This lesson will accommodate many learning styles with its mixture of writing and maps. Visual learners will be aided with the use of the overhead map that will correspond to their note book page.