Teaching Critical Thinking Creatively
Westward Expansion Analyzing Point of View and the Manifest Destiny × 1Andrew Jackson's Life, Presidency, and Impact - Inquiry Based Lesson × 1Westward Expansion Territorial Expansion Stations Activity × 1Oregon Trail, Gold Rush 49ers, Mormon Trail Primary Source Stations Analysis × 1Movement Westward Full Class Game Oregon Trail, Gold Rush 49ers, Mormon Trail × 1Texas Independence Primary Source Analysis Compare Point of View × 1The Mexican War Analyzing Perspectives for and against the War Critical Thinking × 1Word Wall Westward Expansion Vocabulary Practices × 1
This is a one day lesson that helps students to understand the point of view of those who supported the Manifest Destiny. Students will analyze a painting from John Gast (America's Progress) and two quotes from John O'Sullivan. For formative assessment, students create a new version of the America's Progress painting from a different point of view.
With this lesson, students will be examining the major topics of Andrew Jackson's presidency, specifically, the way in which his policies prioritizes some groups of Americans while harming others. Students will examine the following topics - Andrew Jackson's Rise, the Spoils System, the Kitchen Cabinet, the Bank War, the Nullification Crisis, Jackson and Slavery and Native American Removal.
Then, students will analyze their findings and answer the following - Which groups of people was Jackson most concerned with during his life and presidency?
This lesson includes three stations to help students analyze pri mary sources and learn about the Oregon Trail pioneers, the Mormon Trail pioneers, and the gold rush 49ers. Each station provides photographs, written sources, drawings and QR code links to videos. I've even included a link an animated video I created about the Oregon Trail! The graphic organizer prompts students to explain why each group went westward, what they experienced while traveling, and the impact of their journey.
With this lesson, student s investigate the true cause of Texas Independence. It included a background reading regarding the Texas Battle for Independence (with comprehension questions). They students are then provided with 5 primary sources that have been edited for clarity and comprehension. By having students discuss competing reasons why Texans declared independence, it makes the topic much more compelling!
This lesson has students work in pa irs to analyze perspectives relating to the outbreak of the Mexican War. Students categorize the documents, and by doing so, they end up closely reading the words. At end of the lesson, the students discuss who they found the most convincing, and are able to analyze the emotions and evidence included in the perspectives. This worked really well with my students, they loved seeing if they were correct with their analysis!
This lesson provides a fun and interactive way for students to practice analyzing geographic context and gain content knowledge about each of the territorial additions in the mid-1800s. There are five stations that can be set up around the room for students to visit. Each of the five stations has a visually appealing map and timeline that discuss the major events relating to the addition of that territory to the United States.
This activity is part of my full Unit bundle for westward movement and expansion!
An authentic inquiry for the real world classroom
Students investigate the events relating to Westward Movement in the United States and discuss the impact of westward movement – through an essay. The students will investigate many voices of this time period through primary sources. This inquiry combines hands on interactive investigations with critical thinking and assessment. My students love this unit! You can see each lesson included in the inquiry through the previews above.
The following topics are covered within this inquiry:
The Manifest Destiny | The Texas Independence | The Oregon Trail | Mormon Trail Pioneers | The Mexican War | The Oregon Country | The Mexican Cession | The Gold Rush 49ers | The Louisiana Purchase | The Adams-Onis Treaty
If you teach in New York state, this assessment is geared towards preparing students for the new Regents exam by teaching them about assessing the reliability of primary sources and comparing points of view. Students also have to utilize evidence from primary and secondary sources to argue a claim in their essays.
The lesson is linked to NYS Social Studies Standards, but you could easily cut and paste in your own standards for your state.
7.6 WESTWARD EXPANSION: Driven by political and economic motives, the United States expanded its physical boundaries to the Pacific Ocean between 1800 and 1860. This settlement displaced Native Americans as the frontier was pushed westward.
7.6b.1 – Students will compare and evaluate the ways in which Florida, Texas, and territories from the Mexican Cession were acquired by the United States.
7.6c.5 – Students will examine the ways westward movement affected the lives of women.
This zip file includes a PowerPoint version (fully editable), a link to a Google Slides version, and a PDF version.
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