Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Colonial House

Colonial House is a television show created by PBS to examine what life would be like in Plymouth Colony circa 1628. 17 people were chosen to be on the reality show, living the life of a settler in a re-created Plymouth Plantation.

Imagine you have been selected to participate in Colonial House. Write journal entries describing about your living conditions. Are you a freeman, indentured servant, or even the Governor? What kinds of things do you do day by day? Are you having trouble keeping the rules? 

You will create a postcard and then write about your 'experience' using a pen and ink. Watch the video below to get an idea about what it will be like.

You will also be asked to write a journal entry daily explaining what it would be like if you were part of the colony.

Essential Question: What would it be like to live in an early American colony?




  • Watch Colonial House episodes.Explain:
  • What is your role in the colony?
  • What events took place during the episode?
  • What are your daily chores?
  • Are you a rule breaker or a rule follower?


  • Write a journal entry for each episode watched. 
  • Use a dip pen to write a postcard to send home describing living in the colony.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Constitution Study


EQ: How does the Constitution reflect American ideals?





  • Preamble Discussion
  • What Does the Constitution Say Part 2 Acitivity 
  • Principles of the Constitution Comparison Chart (Printed) Pages 4-9


  • Principles of the Constitution Comparison Chart (Printed) 
  • Branches of Government worksheets


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Desperate Crossing: Exploring Why the Pilgrims Came to the Americas

Many of us know what it is like to have to move to a new place. In this activity we are going to find out what it was like for the Pilgrims to have to leave England for Holland and then ultimately for North America. Just as you had many difficult emotions with the changes you experienced, the Pilgrims had them as well. They also had even more difficulty and danger than most of us. 

As we watch this video we will try to place ourselves in the shoes of the Pilgrms and try to identify how we might have felt if we too had to make a desperate crossing. 

EQ: Why did the settlers on the Mayflower come to the Americas?

  • Solicit stories from students who remember moving to Noel. 
  • How did you feel about moving?
  • What were the first days like after you came to Noel?
  • How are things now?
  • The students will watch Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower.
  • Vocabulary: magistrate, manifest, seditious, theology, habeas corpus, tolerant
  • Vocabulary: define, draw and use in a sentence

  • Why the Separatists moved from England to Holland?
  • Why the Separatists moved from Holland to the Americas?
  • Why the other colonists moved from England to the Americas?
  • How did they feel about moving?
  • How were the first days after the move?

  • Examine the Mayflower Compact, what does it create for the colonists?

Government Vocabulary


  • What is the purpose of government?
  • What are the different kinds of government?
  • What are the characteristics of different kinds of government?


  • Draw a picture of what the word social studies means to you.
  • Observe pictures drawn by other students, see if you can see how that picture represents social studies. 
  1. Write the definitions of the vocabulary words (those in blue with links to explanation page) using your own words. Do not copy the definitions
  2. Draw a picture of the vocabulary word. 
  1. democracy
  2. unitary
  3. parliamentary
  4. federal
  5. authoritarian
  6. direct democracy
  7. executive
  8. confederate
  9. authority
  10. preamble
  11. sovereign
  12. oligarchy
  13. legislative
  14. state
  15. government
  16. dictatorship
  17. executive branch
  18. public policy
  19. representative democracy
  20. presidential
  21. monarchy
  22. totalitarian

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Conquistador Emoji Project

 Imagine your shock when arrive at your destination, the city you plan to conquer only to realize that is the cleanest, most beautiful city you or any of your fellow conquistadors have ever experienced. 

You arrived from one of the most powerful nations on earth, having sailed from one of the largest and most prosperous cities in Europe, only to find that it pales in comparison to the city you thought would be primitive, not unlike the people you plan to enslave. 

How would you feel?
After reading the article provided on the worksheet, put yourself in the place of a Spanish conquistador seeing Tenotichlan for the first time. You will write about your experience, but not using words.

The pictures above are Aztec script symbols. They use the symbols to share their information. We do something similar with emojis. If using symbols to tell a story was good enough for the Aztecs, it is certainly good enough for you. 

Your assignment is to write your story using emojis not words as a conquistador first entering Tenochtitlan. 

Essential Question:
  • How did Tenochtitlan compare to European cities?

  • What did the conquistadors see when they first entered Tenochtitlan?
  • What were the European cities like?
  • Emoji Project Handout
  • Explain what the conquistadors saw when they first visited Tenochtitlan using emojis.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Immigration Celebration

 The United States is a nation of immigrants. The country was founded mainly by Englishmen who were part of the European colonization effort of the 15-17th centuries. After the US was formed immigration continued to be an important part of its world identity as memorialized by the Statue of Liberty.

While you may argue otherwise, the Statue of Liberty mainly celebrates European immigration as we saw it happen at Ellis Island. Below is a video outlining what it was like to come through Ellis Island as an immigrant.

Unfortunately for many of you, the Statue of Liberty may not capture the spirit of immigration from your ancestors, especially if your ancestors didn't come from Europe. I have done some research to see if I can find other memorials or monuments in the United States that celebrate the immigration of those who were not from Europe and they are indeed difficult to find. 

This is your opportunity to remedy that!

You are tasked with the responsibility to create a monument that celebrates the immigration of your ancestors. You should research where they came from, why they came, and what symbols would be culturally appropriate to use as part of the monument. 

If your ancestors, like mine, did come through Ellis Island and are represented very well by the Statue of Liberty you can still participate. Create a new monument celebrating your ancestors too. This is an opportunity for you to make it more specific to your original culture. For example I could choose my Scots Irish ancestry to celebrate or my German/Jewish ancestry. 

Make your monument with the following guidelines:
  • Identify where your ancestors immigrated from 
  • Incorporate symbols appropriate for their original country
  • Create a plaque that celebrates immigration. It doesn't need to be a poem like on the Statue of Liberty, but it does need to reflect your intent for the monument. 
  • Create a drawing of your monument or create a model of your monument. If you make a drawing, make it very detailed and include the words on the plaque. 
  • Show the pride you have in your family and the gratefulness you have for the sacrifices they made to immigrate. 
Essential Question:
  •  How would you memorialize your immigrant ancestors?
  • Where did your ancestors emigrate from?
  • Why did they come to the United States?
  • What symbols should be used to celebrate their coming to the US?
  • Do you feel represented by the monuments you researched?
  • Create a monument that honors your ancestors journey to the US 

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Maltese Falcon: What is Film Noir?


The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 American film noir directed and scripted by John Huston[3] in his directorial debut, based on the 1930 novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett.[4][5][6] It stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade and Mary Astor as his femme fatale client. Gladys GeorgePeter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet co-star, with the last appearing in his film debut. The story follows a San Francisco private detective and his dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers, all of whom are competing to obtain a jewel-encrusted falcon statuette.[3]

Conquest of the Americas: The Southeast

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the continental borders of the US.  Why did the Spanish set up colonies in what is now Florida? What were they looking for and did they find it? Why did France later set up a colony and what happened to it? These are the questions we will be answering with this lesson.

Essential Question: What countries colonized the land that is now Florida?

  • Can you name which countries colonized the Americas?
  • Anecdotes from my trip to St. Augustine over the summer.
  • Conquest of America: Southeast video 
  • Vocabulary: colony, heretic, mutiny, Divine Right, sovereignty Think/Pair/Share Activity
  • Why did France colonize Florida?
  • What are some good vocabulary learning practices?

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Conquest of the Americas: The Southwest

Francisco Coronado heard a story about the Cities of Cibola, the Seven Cities of Gold, from a friar named Estevan. He decided he would mount an expedition to find these cities. What did Coronado plan to do when he found these cities? Did he eventually find them? What controversy surrounds the expedition?

Essential Question:   Why did Coronado explore the southwest part of North America?


  • Vocabulary 
  • Students will define the vocabulary word using their own words on worksheet



  • Was Coronado suitably punished for his role in the death of the 'Turk'?
  • Do you think Coronado was a hero or villain? 




Wednesday, September 09, 2020

US Physical Geography Map

: What are the major physical features of the United States?



  • Students will be given them 60 seconds to identify as many physical geography features found in the US.



  • Where are the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains, Sierra Nevada, and Cascade Range?
  • Where is the Ozark Plateau, Colorado Plateau, Sonoran Desert, the Great Plains and the Coastal Plain?
  • Where is the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean?
  • Where is the Gulf of Mexico?
  • Where is the Mississippi River and the Rio Grande?
  • Where are the Great Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Superior, Erie, Ontario?


Tuesday, September 08, 2020

The Silk Road and World Trade: What Led to the Rediscovery of the Americas?

 Assessment Time

Map of the Silk Trade Route

Marco Polo's Route

Voyages of Zheng He

The trade routes that we collectively refer to as the Silk Road started as far back as 2,200 years ago. Although the types of trade goods were varied, it is called the Silk Road because of the demand created for silk from China. 

While we may tend to emphasize the economic implications of these trade routes including cities created as stopping points that became wealthy, a much more important trade was taking place throughout this period, the trade of culture. Languages, mathematics, literacy and religion were all shared throughout large areas of the world because of these trade routes. 

Essential Question: What led to the rediscovery of the Americas and its colonization?


  • We know that Columbus 'rediscovered' the Americas, but what events led to the need for this exploration?



  • Why did I include the time stamp for the questions on the video questions?
  • What can you tell from the time stamps?
  • How can you use this information to inform how you approach questions over audio/videos?
  • How did trade drive the sharing of culture?
  • Why did Columbus look west for a route to India?


Friday, September 04, 2020

Maps of the United States and Canada

 EQ: How has location influenced life in the United States and Canada?



  • Physical Features of the US and Canada
  • Political Map of the US and Canada
  • Climate of the US and Canada
  • Vegetation and Biomes of the US and Canada
  • Population Density of the US and Canada
  • Economic Activity of the US and Canada
  • Religious and Ethnic Groups of the US and Canada


  • What are the provinces and territories of Canada?
  • What are the main climates of the US and Canada
  • Where are most of the people living in the US and Canada? Why?
  • What are the major economic activities in the US and Canada?
  • What are the major religious and ethnic groups in the US and Canada?


Thursday, September 03, 2020

The First Immigrants

The history of the Americas started well before Columbus. Unfortunately, because of the lack of or destruction of written histories, archaeologists have to rely on the discovery of artifacts to further our knowledge of these peoples. In this lesson we will learn about different theories of migration and also discover that this area is constantly changing and updating do to new discoveries. 

Essential Question: Where and when did the first immigrants to the Americas arrive?
  • Review the Kenniwick Man lesson
  • How did the first immigrants come to the Americas?
  • When did the first immigrants come to the Americas?