The Buffalo Hunt

The topic of this lesson is the Buffalo Hunt. The students will be investigating the importance of the buffalo in the Midwest to the Native American tribe. They will also be looking at the decline of buffalo due to buffalo hunting and how the white man pushed Native Americans westward due to the high value of the buffaloes. This lesson fits into our content because the students are currently learning about the Midwest region. We have previously learned about how the Native Americans were pushed westward from the Southeastern region because of the white man taking over the land because of its rich, fertile soil which they used for farming.

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Colonial Life Compare/Contrast

Students will view three prints, one from each of three colonial regions. They will then answer questions about each of the regions to help them differentiate between the three. As a culminating assessment, students will write a letter from a colonist in one region to a colonist in another region stating the similarities and differences between the two places.

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Bridging the Mississippi

In this lesson, students will investigate the need for development of railroad transportation across the Mississippi River to facilitate westward expansion. It will conclude with the construction of Eads Bridge at St. Louis Missouri. The students will analyze the importance of rivers (specifically the Mississippi) when it comes to transportation and trade. They will also describe the drawbacks rivers created for westward expansion.

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The Virginia Declaration of Rights

Students will analyze George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights and compare it to the United States Bill of Rights. Students will discover that many rights in George Mason’s documents are also included in the Bill of Rights.

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Road Building and the Growth of Cities

Students will analyze four different photographs to understand what road conditions were like in the early parts of the 20th century. They will discuss the difficulties of travel and why these difficulties might have prompted the building of better roads. I will guide the discussion to help the students figure out how improving road conditions affected the growth of cities.

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Immigrant Discrimination

The topic of this lesson is the discrimination faced by immigrants in a post Civil War America. The students will face this discrimination first hand as they read and listen to an Irish folk song about discrimination when looking for jobs, read the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and analyze a Thomas Nast cartoon. This lesson fits into the Industrialization unit by coming right after a lesson on reasons for increased immigration and Ellis Island.

The student will learn about immigrant discrimination by filling out a graphic organizer on each of the sources. The student will dissect three different types of sources: a song, federal law, and a cartoon to demonstrate that there are different types of primary sources.

This lesson directly relates to USII.4b: The student will demonstrate knowledge of how life changed after the Civil War by explaining the reasons for the increase in immigration, growth of cities, and challenges arising from this expansion.

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The Perfect Storm

The topic of the lesson is the Dust Bowl and what caused the devastation to the southern Great Plains. Students will use prior knowledge of the Middle West region, science, math (data analysis) and reading skills to try to figure out the causes of the Dust Bowl. This lesson is being used to bridge the gap between our study of the Middle West region and the Southwest region. Major themes include agriculture and the effects of drought and over farming.

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The Dust Bowl

The students will learn about the Dust Bowl, which took place in the 1930’s in parts of the Midwest and Southwest. As we are finishing the LCPS unit on the Midwest, this lesson fits into this unit. The students will consider the location, the natural fertile soil, over farming practices, economics, and the Dust Bowl itself. In a previous lesson, they learned how farming practices changed over the centuries. This will help them see that change is not always for the best. They will also learn that despite the Dust Bowl, this region is once again the Bread Basket of America.

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Effects of Segregation and “Jim Crow” laws on life in Virginia for African Americans

After a brief introduction and/or review of the Reconstruction time period, students will be given copies of photographs, drawings or political cartoons from the period of Jim Crow laws. The students will investigate how the photographs and drawings provide evidence that the Jim Crow laws had a negative effect on African Americans in the post-Civil War south. This lesson will be a part of our next unit on Reconstruction.

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Presidency of Andrew Jackson

Students will be looking at documents and cartoons that relate to the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Students will read excerpts from speeches he gave pertaining to the Bank of the US, The Nullification Crisis and the Indian Removal act as well as look at several cartoons that reflect upon the presidency of Jackson and portray him as either a hero or a corrupt political drunk with power.

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Native American: Regions, Natural, Human, and Capital Resources

This lesson will focus on the five Native American Tribes in North America (Kwakiutl, Inuit, Pueblo, Lakota, and Iroquois). The student will do research to find out the regions that the 5 tribes lived in, and the natural, human, and capital resources that each tribe used that were geographically dependent in order to survive. The Students will be broken down into expert groups to conduct research on the different Native American tribes. Students will then go back to their home groups teach the rest of the group about their particular tribe. Students will then view the primary sources and answer the close reading questions assigned to each of the pictures as a closure/formative assessment.

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Declaration of Independence

The students will investigate the tone of resentment the colonies had against Great Britain from two modes: 4 historic pictures and one contemporary video. The students should rely on their background knowledge of the time period to understand the events that led up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence and ultimately the Revolutionary War. The students will look at Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration and question the changes that were made. If indeed, the Declaration was meant to be read then the students will watch a video of a host of celebrities reading the Declaration. How does the tone of this video compare to the music video? Finally, the students will look at certain passages of the Declaration and note how these ideas are infused in our government today.

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The Articles of Confederation

The topic of this lesson is examining the Articles of Confederation and how they influenced the Constitution. The students will investigate several pre-determined articles to determine how they influenced the writing of the Constitution. The students will examine Articles II, III, and VIII. This is in accordance with the state standards of VA.

The learner will investigate the primary sources to understand the importance’s of the Articles of Confederation, why they failed, and how specific Articles helped shape our current form of government, the US Constitution.

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Slaves and Indentured Servants

Students will be given either a narrative by Olaudah Equiano describing his enslavement or a description of the practice of indentured servitude by Gottlieb Mittelberger. Students will be divided with half the class reading one source and half the class reading the other just prior to the lesson on Triangular Trade in the unit on Colonies. After reading the narrative, students will write a brief summary of the author’s message. Students will then answer sourcing and contextualizing questions about the narrative. Finally, after discussing the readings together as a class, students will learn the identity of both authors. Students will return to the paper on which they have been recording their answers and now create a Venn diagram of slaves and indentures servants.

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Patriots or Traitors – Point of View in the War for Independence

The students are looking at the differences in how the British/Loyalists and the Patriots saw the actions of Great Britain between the French and Indian War and the American Revolution and how each side portrayed the other to promote their own point of view. They are also examining the role of propaganda to support each side’s cause. This lesson is an extension of the causes and issues leading to the War for Independence. Additional opportunities to examine point of view have been provided.

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Comparing and Contrasting Soviet and American Space Craft

Students will identify similarities and differences between the Soviet and American spacecraft and discover why the designs impacted the success of the United States in landing a human on the moon. Students will analyze photos of Soviet and American spacecraft and complete a “What do you notice? What do you know? And What questions do you have” graphic organizer on both spacecraft photos. Students will work with a partner and share their observations with the whole class. The lesson’s discussion would hinge on a group activity using a Venn Diagram and index cards as the students make observations about what the spacecraft’s similarities and differences were. The final assessment piece would be that the students would design a newspaper article or cartoon and have the option to either 1) draw and label (cartoon) or 2) write a few sentences about (newspaper article) the Soviet and American spacecraft and include in the drawing or paragraph at least 3 differences.

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The Boston Massacre: You be the judge!

This lesson is focused on the Boston Massacre. It will be taught in a sixth grade classroom in the American Revolution unit. It will be an opportunity for students to look at a historical event from multiple perspectives using corroborating evidence. It will include group work, whole class guided reading, and an individual assessment piece where they decide who is the “blame” for the event. The lesson will use primary sources that include pictures, newspaper articles, and testimonies and have students apply the historical thinking skills of sourcing, close reading, contextualizing, and corroborating to help interpret them.

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Differences among colonial regions

Students will explore the differences among the three colonial regions of New England, Mid-Atlantic / Middle, and the Southern colonies. In small groups for each region, students will observe and note details of pictures, maps, and advertisements in order to describe each region. Students will use historical reading skills to conclude how the geography and natural environment influenced the economic specialization of each region with special attention to the early colonial era. This lesson will prepare the learner for the concept of interdependence of the colonies as a result of specialization.

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Immigration: Why Come to the United States?

In this activity, I will introduce our unit on Immigration. Our curriculum focuses mainly on the reasons for the increase of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but the concept is also brought up again later in the year as we talk about societal changes after World War II. With this introductory activity, students will use primary sources to guide them in discovering why immigrants came to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first source is the hook, in which students will use song lyrics to brainstorm reasons for immigration. The second source is an interview with an immigrant of the early 20th century. The third source is a cartoon which compares and contrasts “here” (European country) to “there” (U.S.). Using 3 different categories of primary sources allows students of varying abilities to feel comfortable participating, which is especially important for English Language Learners or Special Education students.

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Analyzing Political Campaign Commercials

In this activity, the students will analyze four political campaign commercials to understand some of the roles of political parties as well as how citizens make informed choices during elections. Two of the commercials are from the 2004 presidential election and concern the war on terror. The other two commercials are from the 1964 presidential election and concern the Cold War. The students will examine these commercials from two perspectives. One perspective is that of a presidential election campaign staff member, which will help the students to learn how campaign commercials are used as a tool to educate voters and to help candidates win elections. The students also will analyze the commercials from the perspective of a voter to further understand four ways that citizens make informed choices in elections: by separating facts from opinions, detecting bias, evaluating the source of their information and identifying propaganda.

For the assessment piece, the students will create their own campaign commercials for the 2012 presidential election. The commercials will reflect their understanding of the roles of political parties during elections and the ways in which voters make informed choices during elections.

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Early English Settlements History Detectives

The lesson will be a “History Detective” activity. The student will investigate the Early English settlements through a variety of sources such as pictures, journals and documents. They will be asked a series of Historical Reading questions. The lesson will encompass the social studies content aligned with the state standards of Virginia.

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Yankee Doodle: How has it changed over time?

The topic of the lesson is Yankee Doodle Dandy. Students are investigating different versions of Yankee Doodle Dandy sheet music and lyrics in order to introduce themselves to different events in U.S. history and to discover how political songs can change to reflect new situations.This lesson will be used in language arts classes as well as a beginning ELL History Concepts class. It integrates historical concepts with language use. In particular, students will consider the word yankee and how it is and has been used, not only in the U.S., but also in their countries.

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Continental Differences

On the first class students usually hear a list or rules and policies. In this lesson, from day one, students will begin to understand the concept of a primary source. Students will (1) gain insight into identifying a primary source; (2) analyze primary sources and predict which continent the source portrays; (3) gain preview knowledge of topics that will be discussed within the first semester; (4) gain experience in procedures that will be used during the year by actually participating in them; and (5) most importantly be able to know and recognize the 7 continents.

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Founding Documents

The students will compare and contrast George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and recognize the purpose of each document, the author of each document, the date of each document, and how the two documents are related.

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Reward: Valuable Slaves

In this lesson students will examine run-away slave advertisements and slave auction broadsides to get an understanding of how enslaved African Americans were viewed during the time of slavery. Students will be put in small groups and using the documents will answer primary source activities. Each group will present and discuss their documents with the whole class. Then students will write “I Am” poems from the perspective of the slaves in their document.

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What Brought Settlers to the Midwest?

Students will examine a Nebraska land advertisement from 1869 to discuss the reasons that settlers moved to the midwest.

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War and Poetry

Students will analyze the points of view and opinions of war by examining poetry from the corresponding time period.

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The Homestead Act

In this lesson the students will learn about westward movement after the Civil War and the economic opportunities offered to people who moved. The focus of the primary source activity is the Homestead Act and how it changed our nation and the lives of the people during that time.

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Labor Unions in an Industrializing U.S.

Students will learn how labor unions were formed as a response to the negative effects of industrialization.

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The topic of this lesson is Reconstruction and the subsequent attempts to help newly freed African Americans adjust to, and sustain their freedom. The students will investigate various ways the government tried to help these citizens and assess the effectiveness of these efforts. At the same time students will look at other sources leading up to the Jim Crow laws. The central point of investigation in this lesson is to interpret the change in the tone of Reconstruction from one that was more positive in nature- to help the former slaves, to one that was more negative- that reverted African Americans back into a condition that was all too similar to their situation prior to the Civil War.

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American Indians and their Environment

In this lesson, students will analyze primary source images of Native Americans interacting with the environment. The images show different aspects of how Native Americans dressed, hunted, and lived.

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European Explorers

The topic of the lesson is Early European Exploration of North America by the Spanish, French, and English. The student will investigate the four European explorers that are required knowledge in accordance to the state standards of VA. The four explorers, Francisco Coronado, Robert LaSalle, Samuel de Champlain, and John Cabot, represent the three major European nations that decidedly settled in what is now the United States. The lesson will link the American Native unit with the Colonial America unit by describing how the Natives and Europeans interacted with one another in terms of conflict and compromise.

The learner will discover how both the Natives and Europeans use the environment to survive in North America by comparing and contrasting several primary sources that depict cultural differences and various climates explored. The learner will dissect the primary sources learning how to detect differences and similarities between the four cultures investigated and come to various conclusion of why history developed as we currently understand it.

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