The Lewis & Clark Expedition
Students start by making observations about an animated map of the territorial expansion of the United States until 1800. Then they learn about the Louisiana Purchase and identify two cause-effect relationships related to it. Next they analyze the Lewis and Clark expedition and Sacagawea’s role in it. Finally they research three topics and prepare short presentations on the Lewis and Clark expedition: the places they visited, the flora and fauna they documented, or the tribes that they met along the route.
The War of 1812
Students first view a print of the burning of Washington, D.C. and predict what is happening. Then they examine a timeline to identify causes of the War of 1812. Next they analyze the outcomes of the war. Finally they examine the history of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Students brainstorm the meaning of the “American dream.” Then they examine transportation improvements, including the National Road, steamboats, and the Erie Canal, and they analyze the role these played in Westward migration. Next they explore changes in communication and write their own telegram.
Trail of Tears
Students make observations about an 1870 U.S. census map, which explicitly does not count American Indians. Then they learn about the Five Civilized Tribes and create a concept map. Next they explain the Trail of Tears. Finally they watch a video about the Cherokee alphabet and research an interesting fact about one of the tribes.
Students view an image of an early cotton gin and brainstorm what might be its purpose. Then they learn about the rise of cotton plantations in the southern colonies and how they contributed to the spread of slavery. Next they examine the Lowell Mills and the cause-and effect relationship between the cotton gin and slavery. Finally, they learn about the lives of the slaves on the plantations and react to an actual ad from 1800 offering a reward for the return of a runaway slave.
Students first brainstorm the importance of interchangeable parts. Then they explore how the Industrial Revolution led to a change in work conditions. Next they explain the rise of urbanization and contrast typical life in the northern states before and after the Industrial Revolution. Finally they evaluate the factories as free-enterprise systems and create a chart of positive and negative results of the Industrial Revolution.
Students review a timeline of the territorial history of the United States and generate questions. Then they explore why Americans went to settle in Texas and how the Republic of Texas became a state. Next they create a brief timeline of how California became a state and describe the Oregon Trail. Finally they analyze the painting American Progress as a reflection of Manifest Destiny.
The Arts and Nature
Students analyze a portrait of a Choctaw chief to predict how the artist felt about the chief. Then they view paintings from the Hudson River School and describe how they all celebrate the beauty of America’s landscape. Next they examine drawings from Audubon’s Birds of America project and draw a conclusion about how the art of the period reflected the national spirit. Finally, they listen to a vintage recording of “Home, Sweet Home” and compare the lyrics to the visual art of the period.