Trail of Tears


Social Studies American History Westward Expansion to 1850 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.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
Teacher Pack

The Pack contains associated resources for the learning experience, typically in the form of articles and videos. There is a teacher Pack (with only teacher information) and a student Pack (which contains only student information). As a teacher, you can toggle between both to see everything.

Here are the teacher pack items for Trail of Tears:

Preview - Scene 1
Exploros Learnign Experience Scene Navigation


Overview

In this experience, 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.

If you have access to leveled readers that describe the Southeastern tribes or Indian Territory, assign them to the students in parallel to this experience.

Estimated duration: 35-45 minutes

Vocabulary words:

  • generation
  • maize
  • civilized
  • convert
  • assimilate
  • voluntarily
  • perilous

Objectives

  • Describe the culture of the Southeastern tribes.
  • Explain the conflict leading to the Trail of Tears.
  • Describe the impact of the Trail of Tears on Native Americans.


Engage


In this unit you are learning about the westward movement of American settlers and immigrants. The western frontier was not empty land, just waiting for their arrival. American Indian tribes had lived on the land for many generations. In this lesson you will learn more about how the arrival of the new settlers changed the Indians’ way of life.

Objectives

  • Describe the culture of the Southeastern tribes.
  • Explain the conflict leading to the Trail of Tears.
  • Describe the impact of the Trail of Tears on Native Americans.


a map showing where people lived in the US in 1870, Indian Territory is also marked

U.S. Population Distribution, based on the 1870 Census


Study the map shown above. Turn and discuss it with a classmate. Record an observation about the map. If someone has already posted your observation, try to think of something else to post.






Students do not need to post an observation in order to move on to the next scene.

Students may make the following observations:

  • Most people lived in the east, especially the northeast.
  • There appears to be an invisible line drawn down the center of the country, and most people lived to the right of that line.
  • There were pockets of settlement throughout the West, mainly in California.
  • All the Indian Territory is in the western United States, mostly away from the main population.
  • There were still open hunting grounds for American Indians.
  • The map notes that it is showing “Constitutional population,” not counting the Indians who are not taxed.

 

If no one has noticed the small text about the Constitutional Population, point it out. Ask students to use the map to draw a conclusion about the government’s view of the American Indian population.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Westward Expansion to 1850 Unit.
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