The students will learn about ancient civilizations while making connections to their own life. We will use graphic organizers to construct meaning while also analyzing relevant vocabulary words to expand the students’ lexicon.
All lessons in this thematic unit will include: Warm-up Question, Guided Reading, Vocabulary, Activity, and Assessment. Google Earth, Youtube, Kahoot, and other platforms will be utilized to bring the students an interactive experience that assists them with the process of building English language skills while learning about the history that shaped the United States.
Native Tribes and European Exploration
Lesson 1: Natives of the Arctic- Students will read about the first people to settle in North America and the adaptations they made to the environments they found there. They will learn about their motivations, as well as the challenges they faced while making their home in the frigid, icy terrain of Northern Canada.
Lesson 2: Northwest and Plateau Natives- Topics will include learning about how the Native Americans lived in Canada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and more. Students will learn about the food these people ate, along with the clothes they wore and the houses in which they lived.
Lesson 3: Native Americans of California and Great Basin- Topics will cover how this region provided such different opportunities for the people who inhabited the coastal terrain than the ones who lived inland, in what is now Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and more. The diet, shelters, and other elements of life will be discussed.
Lesson 4: Native Americans of the Southwest and Great Plains- Topics will include the ways in which people lived in the dry, flat lands of states like New Mexico, Nebraska, and North and South Dakotas. Students will analyze the resources these people utilized to farm and hunt, along with what they did with the animals they killed.
Lesson 5: Natives of the Eastern Region- Topics will cover the ways of life for the people who inhabited states within the area of Louisiana to Minnesota, all the way over to Maine, down to Florida. This vast area includes many terrains, climates and resources which will be analyzed and discussed. Students will discover the varying methods of hunting, building houses, and general living standards for these people in areas with many trees.
Lesson 6: Digging Up the Past- The class will unlock the mysterious Cahokia mounds and discover other unearthed mysteries that give clues as to how people lived through time. The idea that history can be built over and written over will be discussed so the students understand that agendas, usually political, design history.
Lesson 7: Project-Based Learning- This class will be devoted to developing a presentation for their project, which they were informed of during lesson 2. The project is surrounding the ways of life for a chosen region. Within that region, the students will choose one native tribe and write a paper about the people’s lives.
Lesson 8: Spain’s Empire- This lesson will break down the process by which Spain sent conquistadors, like Christopher Columbus, to America and the enslavement that followed. Students will discuss the value of expeditions for Spain while describing the consequences for the native people.
Lesson 9: French/English Colonies- The class will cover topics like fur trade while analyzing the process by which France and England settled in North America. Students will learn about the ways in which settlers took advantage of the native people’s land, while also discussing the hardships for the first white settlers of these lands.
Lesson 10: Project-Based Learning- This session will be devoted to presenting the projects that the students learned about during lesson 7. It will be based on a chosen conquistador and will cover their motivations, and other facts about their life. One component of this project is a writing sample that puts the students in the shoes of a character from the past.
About the Teacher
Joshua Bowman’s purpose in life is to provide children with opportunities and resources to enable them to grow academically and personally. A California native, Mr. Bowman began his career upon graduating Cum Laude from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) with a BA in Liberal Studies and an MA in Education. He has taught all primary grade levels and is currently teaching 8th grade in Monterey County. His dedication to the principles of service, and individual maturity is reflected in his long-term association with a national leadership and mentoring organization. Mr. Bowman enjoys a fun and lively classroom setting in which he typically focuses on critical thinking analysis, discussion, and the expansion of vocabulary understanding and usage.