Social Studies Week 22: Feb. 10-14


We moved on this week to new topics within the same unit on Westward Expansion: Changes in Agriculture, The U.S.-Mexico War, and The Trail of Tears. I started off class by explaining it all connects to the unit, along with the Louisiana Purchase material we’ve been exploring for the past 2 weeks, in order to provide context.

Students took a short multiple-choice quiz on The Louisiana Purchase and Lewis & Clark.

Students wrote about and brain-stormed and discussed how agriculture today is different from that of the past.

We then did an activity in which students used a web-based timeline/chart with hyper-links and illustrations to explore 13-15 major developments in agriculture between the years 1790 and 1850. Students then, working with partners, discussed, reasoned, and researched these developments and had to choose winners for the most important developments. They awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals, as well as two runners-up. They had to describe how each thing worked, why it was an award winner, and included a brief sketch of each.

Here is the address of the timeline : http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blfarm1.htm

Students answered some oral questions at the end of class as a comprehension check.

Homework: Choose one of the following online readings. Take Cornell Notes. Minimum 4 thoughtful questions and/or connections in the left column. This is due Friday.

middle school level text : http://www.history.com/topics/trail-of-tears

for struggling readers or students looking to do less (but also learn less) : http://nativeamericans.mrdonn.org/trailoftears.html


Also – The Lewis & Clark Posters must be handed in on or before this Friday


After an warm-up recapping our last lesson on agriculture and an ungraded, informal notebook quiz on agriculture, we briefly aggregated our votes for Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winners for agricultural innovation and discussed the reasoning behind the choices.

U.S.-Mexico War & Manifest Destiny

We then discussed the Manifest Destiny Image (see last weeks post -that we never actually got to -about this). We then watched and discussed the

We then watched the John Green Crash Course U.S. History #17 together (about 12 min) to give students an overview of the two topics.

We then began a stations activity in which students visit 4 stations which explore different aspects of Manifest destiny and the U.S. Mexico War. Two stations have primary source materials, including propaganda and essays. One station has a secondary source interview with a historian but designed for middle school readers. The fourth station is audio-visual and students watch two short clips about the war and manifest destiny from a PBS documentary. They also explore an interactive online timeline.

This will continue on Friday. Students will eventually use what they learn to participate in a debate on the War and the notion of manifest destiny, which will take place after the break (but not on the first day back!).

Friday’s homework: Compose 3 excellent, clear, supported position statements on manifest destiny and whether or not the U.S. was justified in going to war with Mexico.

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