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Early Americans

A lesson on America before the 17th century

http://lessonplanspage.com/SS67.htm

By: Michelle Pleiss & Kristen Aeschliman

Introduction: Students will create be divided into groups of six. The students will be studying the first Americans, such as the Inuits, the Anasazi, the Northwest Indians, the Plains Indians, the Mound Builders, the Indians of the Eastern forest, the Incas, and the Mayans. They will research the lifestyles that each group had and present a skit to the class.

Content Area(s) and Grade Level: Social Studies, Grades 5-8

Standards: http://nde4.nde.state.ne.us/IPS/mainNDE.html

8.1.1 Students will describe life in America before the 17th century.

Integrated disciplines: Language Arts, Technology, Drama

Objectives: The students will be able to:

Materials/Technologies

Procedures:

  1. Break the students into four groups of six. Each group will be assigned two early American tribes. (With four groups of students, that covers all eight tribes. Adapt according to number of groups.)
  2. They will research these two tribes, finding information on their culture, such as clothing, beliefs, transportation, food, etc., and their economic systems. They will also explain how geography and climate influenced their lifestyles. Have each student be the "expert" in one area. Have them research one area, such as clothing, for the two tribes. Another student can cover the beliefs of the two tribes. They can tell the rest of their group about that one area, so each student is an expert in one area. The students will discuss how they want to present this information to the class, and briefly rehearse if necessary.
  3. The students will create a "web-wall" on the websites used. It is basically a graphic organizer bibliography. They create two graphic organizers including the main points of each of the tribes covered. They list the websites and other sources they used to find information on them. Under the website they write a sentence or two telling what the website is about.
  4. The students will present their skits to the rest of the class, teaching the other groups about the tribes that they covered. At the end of their skit, the students will present their web walls to the class.

Springboard: Most students like to use computers and most students like to act, right? I'd tell them that they get to present skits instead of reading from a textbook! (A lot of students get more excited about learning if they get to control it themselves.) We will discuss what we already know about the early Americans, and some generalizations that people have about the Native Americans. Then the teacher can break the students into groups.

What teacher is to do: The teacher is to review all of the tribes, and know the key information about each one. The teacher is to keep an eye on what is going on and who is doing what in their groups. The teacher can provide hints and ideas of how to present things.

What students are to do: Students are to research one or two particular areas of two tribes. They are to become the "expert" in that area. They go to their group, and tell their group about what they learned. They also bring the websites and other resources they used to find this information (for the web walls). Next the students figure out a way to present the information they learned in a skit. (Allow practice time and time to make small props). Students also must make a graphic organizer (web wall) for each tribe. Around the tribe's name will be the different areas of the tribes. Around the different areas will be the websites and other materials used to gather the information. The students are to present the skits and the web walls.

Closure: Students will present their skits, and the teacher and students will ask questions when they are finished. After all the groups have presented their skits, the teacher will write each tribe on the board, and the key points will be reviewed.

Assessment: No grade will be given for the final product. I will award participation points for doing their share in their groups.

Explanation: Students all learn differently. Some students learn best by kinesthetic activities. I think this activity gets students interested in learning the material. They become an "expert" in one or two areas within their group. This can help them become more motivated to learn the material well. Also, they have to participate, because they are the only one in their group who knows that part, so they have to teach it to the rest of the group. The students are creating the web walls to work on preparing a different kind of bibliography. This bibliography is just more in depth. It shows exactly what they got from each website, and what each website had on it. The Nebraska Teaching Standards also require this information for students grades 5-8 to be known.

 

The American Revolutionary War

By: Michelle Pleiss & Kristen Aeschliman

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/C167.htm

Introduction: The students will explore the American Revolutionary War by choosing main ideas from various sources, such as the Internet, magazines, books, class hand-outs, etc…and demonstrate their knowledge of the war through creating a PowerPoint slide show.

Content Area(s) and Grade Level: Social Studies, Grades 5-8

Standards: http://nde4.nde.state.ne.us/IPS/mainNDE.html

8.1.3 Students will describe colonial America (which includes the American Revolution).

8.1.4 Students will analyze the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

8.1.5 Students will describe challenges faced by the new United States government.

Integrated disciplines: Language Arts, Technology

Objectives:

Materials/Technologies

Procedures:

  1. Discuss project, including rubric requirements
  2. Students research information from the Revolutionary War on the Internet and with information from classroom lessons, and any other sources.
  3. Mini-lessons on how to choose important information and noting sources used are taught before work on the slide show is begun.
  4. After students have sketched out their plan for the slide show, begin constructing the show using PowerPoint.
  5. Students present their slide show to the class.

Springboard: Discuss prior knowledge of the Revolutionary War. Discuss prior knowledge of PowerPoint and its components, including choosing main ideas for slides, and notes for the noting section of PowerPoint. As we go through the chapters in our text on the American Colonies and Revolutionary War, the students will get a week to combine the information that they have learned in class, and the material that they have found through other sources. We will take one class period to create a group PowerPoint presentation as an example for the presentations that they will be completing in groups of five.

What teacher is to do: Assign the students into groups of five. Explain PowerPoint. Explain what is required in the finished project and presentation, as well as the way they will be assessed.

What students are to do: Complete the PowerPoint presentation. Divide the project into sections and assign different areas to each group member, working cooperatively. Be creative in their presentation of information on PowerPoint. Present accurate information on Colonial America and the Revolutionary War.

Closure: Students will fill out a comment sheet evaluating each group's presentation. These comment sheets will then be discussed as a class, led by the teacher. Information gained from the project will be tied together in board race competition between the groups of five.

Assessment:

Your project will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Students will be assessed on the chosen material for their slide show (accuracy/creativity, etc…), and their appropriate use of PowerPoint. They will also be given evaluation forms to self-assess their group work.

Explanation: We chose this lesson because we feel group work is important for this age group. Colonial America and the American Revolutionary War can be a confusing topic, but with the aid of other group members, students may gain better insight. The use of PowerPoint allows them practice on use of an important media tool, one in which they can use a great deal in future grades. The Nebraska Teaching Standards also require this information for students grades 5-8 to be known.

The American Civil War

By Michelle Pleiss and Kristen Aeschliman

http://kaeschliman.tripod.com/civilwar.htm

Introduction: The students will pretend as if they have been put through a time warp, and are now in the middle of the Civil War. They are reporters experiencing the Civil War firsthand. They will create a newspaper depicting what is going on around them.

Content Area(s) and Grade Level: Social Studies , Grades 5-8

Standards: http://nde4.nde.state.ne.us/IPS/mainNDE.html

8.1.7 Students will identify causes, key events, and the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

8.1.8 Students will interpret patriotic slogans and excerpts from notable speeches and documents in United States history up to 1877, such as "Give me liberty or give me death," "E Pluribus Unum," the Gettysburg Address, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence.

8.1.9 Students will develop skills for historical analysis.

Integrated disciplines: Language Arts, Technology

Objectives: The students will be able to:

Materials/Technologies

Procedures: Go to the WebQuest for the complete process. Follow the procedures.

Springboard: Discuss prior knowledge of the Civil War. Discuss prior knowledge of newspaper components. Minilessons will be given in regard to the information, persuasion, and appeal of newspaper articles, etc. Examples of clear, concise, and well-written articles will be analyzed. State that this is an ongoing project. As we go through the Civil War chapters in our text, the students will get a three-week period to combine the information that they have learned in class, and the material that they have found on the WebQuest. We will take one or two class periods to go through a WebQuest as a group, and then we will look at the Civil War WebQuest as a group that the students will be completing in their small groups of four.

What teacher is to do: Assign the students into groups of four. Explain WebQuest and the roles each student will play. Explain what is required in the finished newspaper project, as well as the way they will be assessed.

What students are to do: Complete the WebQuest. Work cooperatively in groups to make a quality finished project. Present the finished newspaper to the class.

Closure: A class discussion will be held allowing students to express their viewpoints on the information they learned through class and through the WebQuest. Information will be compared and contrasted. Predictions will be made as to what events will follow the Civil War.

Assessment

Your project will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Are all required parts of the newspaper present?

Are the articles clear, concise, and well written?

Are the articles supported by accurate research?

Is the newspaper informative, persuasive, and appealing?

Were all deadlines met?

Was the group able to accomplish all tasks cooperatively?

Explanation: We chose this lesson because we wanted to give students practice in group work while incorporating self-found information. We also wanted them to be able to tie information they gained from class with information from a planned out WebQuest. We thought it was a good idea for students to be exposed to a WebQuest. The Civil War is an interesting and very important time period in American History. We thought that the newspaper activity would allow for collaboration of many different viewpoints and materials. The Nebraska Teaching Standards also require this information for students grades 5-8 to be known.

Let's Get Inspired!

By: Michelle Pleiss & Kristen Aeschliman

http://MichellePleiss.tripod.com/goproject.htm

Introduction: Students will create a graphic organizer from Inspiration software in order to use as a study tool for their unit test on the Civil War. An example of a Civil War graphic organizer is used at the above site.

Content Area(s) and Grade Level: Social Studies, Grades 5-8

Standards: http://nde4.nde.state.ne.us/IPS/mainNDE.html

8.1.7 Students will identify causes, key events, and the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

8.1.8 Students will interpret patriotic slogans and excerpts from notable speeches and documents in United States history up to 1877, such as "Give me liberty or give me death," "E Pluribus Unum," the Gettysburg Address, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence.

Integrated disciplines: Language Arts, Technology

Objectives: The students will be able to:

Materials/Technologies

Procedures:

  1. Give mini-lesson on the use of Inspiration Software (including the clip-art, color, background, and text additions).
  2. Review topics and information on the Civil War learned throughout the unit.
  3. Students get one instructional period on Inspiration, where they are able to explore the software and its multi-faceted components.
  4. Students will then get only one class period to create their own graphic organizers depicting the important information found in our unit.

 

Springboard: The Civil War unit has just been covered. The newspaper project has been successfully completed and the students are ready to be assessed in the form of a unit test. Because of all of the information covered, a graphic organizer will be allowed for use during the testing period. The graphic organizer used as an example covers five main points of the Civil War (Human rights, Political events, Exploration, Invention, Literature/Music/Art). Students may choose the areas that best help them organize the information.

What teacher is to do: Review Civil War Unit. Create a unit test that covers all of the objectives. Provide instruction and suggestions for the Inspiration graphic organizers.

What students are to do: Create their own graphic organizers for use on their unit test. Review and study for the unit test.

Closure: A final review period will be given before the test. In this session the students will break into groups to share their graphic organizers as a means of review for the test. Graphic organizers will be collected after the testing period to make sure information used was appropriate.

Assessment: Students will be assessed on the accuracy and appropriateness of information on their graphic organizers. This assessment will be added to or subtracted from their unit test scores.

Explanation: There was a lot of information learned in this unit, and we thought a visual aid might help the students to collaborate their information better. This also helps our visual learners. This allows them to choose the material that they want to study in order to help them test well. The Nebraska Teaching Standards also require this information for students grades 5-8 to be known.

 

Historical Perspectives and Circle Learning

By Michelle Pleiss and Kristen Aeschliman

http://www.att.com/education/lcguide/index.html

Introduction: Students will learn about the 1920's and 30's culture, including the Great Depression, with the use of the Learning Circles Program. They will also learn and be able to demonstrate correct interviewing skills between themselves, the other Learning Circle participants, and between members of society.

Content Area(s) and Grade Level: Social Studies, Grades 5-8

Standards: http://nde4.nde.state.ne.us/IPS/mainNDE.html

8.1.9 Students will develop skills for historical analysis.

8.2.3 Students will describe the ideas and events of the 1920's and 1930's.

8.2.4 Students will explain the Great Depression and its effects.

Integrated disciplines: Language Arts, Technology

Objectives: The students will be able to:

 

Materials/Technologies

 

Procedures:

Springboard: At the start of our unit, the class will look at a time-line of some of the historical events that have already been covered in the class. They will then look at the time period we will currently be studying (1920's-1930's). They will be made to realize that the 1920's and 1930's were not as long ago as they thought. They have met many people in their lives that either lived during this time-period, or have heard second-hand knowledge about the period. They will realize that personal accounts of information, in the form of interviews and the showing of "artifacts" from this period, are just as important as the knowledge they can accumulate from textbooks. Also, with the use of the Learning Circle, they will be able to gather information from other students around the U.S., in order to compare and contrast the time-period with other personal accounts. This will enable them to see the different perspectives that history encompasses.

 

What teacher is to do: Get involved in the Learning Circle Program (having found the most desirable classroom group to join for a trial period).

The teacher will establish the questions to be researched by the students, in the form of interviews between members of the community (grandparents,etc…). Correct interviewing skills will be demonstrated in mini-classroom lessons. The ideas of factual and opinionated data will be discussed in regard to the seeking of historical information. The teacher will also establish the format of the e-mails to be sent by students to the other Learning Circle Classrooms. The format of the written paper and its assessment needs to be set by the teacher.

 

What students are to do: Become familiar with the Learning Circle Program and with how to e-mail the information they gather from their personal interviews. They must also learn the correct way to interview members of the community. They must gather the information from their personal sources. They then must e-mail some of the information they gathered to the other members of our Learning Circle (because this is a trial period, all of the e-mailing of information will be done in class and with the help of the teacher). They must then write their own papers, incorporating the information gathered from their personal sources and some of the information gathered by the students in the Learning Circle.

 

 

Closure: Each students paper will be turned in. Before they are handed in, though, each student will be given a 2-5 minute, informal presentation period, where they may point-out their favorite part of the paper. They also may bring in an "artifact" from the time period that they were able to learn about, by way of their personal resource, etc… We will then have a class discussion on whatever artifacts are brought in. The teacher will also share information gathered from his/her personal source (giving yet another different perspective on the 1920's and 30's). The teacher will talk about the artifacts he/she found.

Assessment: The paper will be assessed on whether or not it includes thorough information from a personal source. It must be creative and incorporate stories, or other interesting found facts. It must reveal the correct use of interviewing skills. It also must include interesting and enlightening material from the other Learning Circle students. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling will also be assessed.

Explanation: We chose this lesson because we wanted our students to get many different perspectives on the issue of the 1920's and 30's. We wanted them to realize that history is not as far from their reach as they think. They were able to interview people with actual knowledge of the events and activities we covered in class. This is compared to the units done on the American Revolution and Civil War, where interviews cannot be done. We also wanted them to experience a trial of the Learning Circle Program, where they learn that they are not the only ones being taught about history. They are able to see how history effects different people around the U.S. (and how future projects could broaden the Learning Circle to incorporate world-wide groups). The Nebraska Teaching Standards also require this information for students grades 5-8 to be known.