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History in Pictures

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Summary

Students will be able to understand history using a variety of methods and sources such as interpreting diaries and letters and reading maps. Students will understand ways in which cultural characteristics have been communicated from one society to another through art, language, traditions, beliefs, and values. Students will demonstrate their understanding through an oral presentation.

Coin Type(s)

  • Nickel

Coin Program(s)

  • Westward Journey Nickel Series

Objectives

  • Students will be able to understand history using a variety of methods and sources such as interpreting diaries and letters and reading maps.
  • Students will understand ways in which cultural characteristics have been communicated from one society to another through art, language, traditions, beliefs, and values.
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding through an oral presentation.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Grades

  • Sixth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Five
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Louisiana Purchase
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • American Indians
  • Timelines
  • Chronological order

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Corps of Discovery
  • Primary source
  • Pictographs
  • Mnemonic device
  • Winter Count

Materials

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency of the following:
    • “Western United States” map from the Resource Guide
    • “Lewis and Clark’s Route” overlay from the Resource Guide
    • “American Indian Tribes” overlay from the Resource Guide
    • “Louisiana Territory Map” from the Resource Guide
    • “Winter Count Information” page
    • “American Indian Pictographs” page
  • Make copies of the following:
    • “Details of the Journey” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “American Indian Pictographs” page (1 per student)
    • “Winter Count Student Notes” worksheet (1 per student)
    • Lewis and Clark journals (1 per student)
  • Locate appropriate texts that provide basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab.
  • Locate entries from Lewis and Clark’s journals where they discuss the bison (buffalo, buffaloe, buffalow) (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Review the “Winter Count Information” sheet for background information before Sessions 3 and 4.
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab.
  • Bookmark appropriate Internet sites.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/189.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display the overhead transparency of the “Louisiana Territory Map.” Explain that our country was not always the same shape that it is today. Point out the section of the country that existed before the Louisiana Purchase.
  2. Using the “Louisiana Territory Map,” introduce the Louisiana Purchase, asking the students if they remember the Louisiana Purchase from previous discussions. Explain, if necessary, that President Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the newly acquired land. Show the students the area that Lewis and Clark explored. Note the territory’s position in relation to your school’s location.
  3. Display the “Western United States” map transparency with the “Lewis and Clark’s Route” overlay. Ask the students the following questions: “When did the expedition begin?” “Who led the expedition?” “What was the purpose of the expedition?” Student responses should be based on prior knowledge. Explain, if necessary, that the expedition began in 1804, that Lewis and Clark led the expedition, and that one of President Jefferson’s missions for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark was to find a Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean from the eastern states. Another important objective for this expedition was to record information about the plants, animals, and American Indians that the explorers came across.
  4. Explain to the students that the United States Mint’s Westward Journey Nickel Series™ commemorates this important expedition.
  5. Add the “American Indian Tribes” overlay to the overhead display.
  6. Point out the route of the Corps of Discovery and have the students indicate key places that were visited by Lewis and Clark. Have the students brainstorm about what people the explorers may have met in these areas. Guide the students to the Oto, Missouri, Omaha, Teton Lakota, Arikara, Mandan, Hidatsa, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Cheyenne, Kansa, and Crow tribes in their responses.
  7. Lewis and Clark also saw animals. Discuss what animals could be found in these areas. Record responses on chart paper.
  8. Display an overhead transparency of the “American Bison Nickel Reverse” page for the students to see.
  9. Have the students identify the animal shown on the coin. Explain to the students that the American bison is not really a buffalo—no species of buffalo is native to North America. But people have used the term “buffalo” to describe the American bison since before Lewis and Clark’s time, so the terms are virtually interchangeable in common usage.
  10. Have the students discuss why the bison might have been chosen for the coin. Student responses may include that this image was chosen because the bison is one of the most enduring symbols of the expedition of Lewis and Clark and was very important to many American Indian cultures.
  11. Ask the students how we know dates and other information about Lewis and Clark’s journey. Student responses should reflect that they recorded the events of their journey in journals, which are a primary source.
  12. Distribute a copy of Lewis and Clark’s journal entries relating to the bison to each student. Allow them sufficient time to read the journals in pairs and discuss their thoughts. As a class, discuss the students’ findings from the journals.
  13. Discuss the content reflecting the relationship between Lewis and Clark, the American Indians, and the bison. Also discuss with the students why some of these passages are difficult to read or understand.
  14. On a piece of chart paper, draw a timeline. Label the far left of the timeline 1800 and the far right of the timeline 1810.
  15. Place a short vertical line on the timeline at 1804. Ask the students what significant event corresponds to that date. Student responses should reflect that it is the year that President Thomas Jefferson sent a team of explorers led by Lewis and Clark to explore the land newly acquired in the Louisiana Purchase.
  16. Record this information on the class timeline.

Session 2

  1. Distribute a copy of the “Details of the Journey” worksheet. Review the directions with the students and tell them they can complete the first four columns of the worksheet with a partner.
  2. Take the students to the school computer lab. Using bookmarked Internet sites, direct the students to work in pairs to examine key events related to the journey of Lewis and Clark.
  3. Allow enough time for student research.
  4. Back in the classroom, have the students review their findings by adding key events, dates, and other information to the class timeline.
  5. Review the updated class timeline. Collect the students’ worksheets. Note: Review the content of the “Winter Count Information” sheet for background information before Sessions 3 and 4.

Sessions 3 and 4

  1. Display the “American Indian Pictographs” overhead transparency. Distribute a copy of the “American Indian Pictographs” worksheet to each student.
  2. Explain to the students that the American Indians used symbols for writing and telling a story. These symbols are called pictographs. Ask the students to interpret the meaning of the pictures. Show other examples and have students interpret the meanings.
  3. Ask the students to predict on what kind of surface the American Indians may have written their pictograph stories. If necessary, tell the students that the American Indians wrote the stories on dried, softened bison skins, or even wrote the stories on the walls of their teepees as decoration.
  4. Display an image of a Winter Count. Ask the students what it is an image of, or if any part of it looks familiar. Student responses should refer to the bison hide and the pictographs. Explain that it was a type of yearly recording system or calendar used by the Plains Indians called a “Winter Count.” Additional information on the Winter Count can be found on the Web sites listed in the “Materials” section.
  5. Display the “Winter Count Information” overhead transparency and distribute one copy of the “Winter Count Student Notes” worksheet to each student. Review the Winter Count content with the students.
  6. Direct the students to complete the worksheet in front of them during the discussion of the Winter Count.
  7. Discuss the importance of the Winter Count as being a primary source for the American Indians. Discuss similarities and connections between the timeline, Winter Count, and Lewis and Clark’s journals. Student responses should include: the Winter Count and the journals are both examples of primary sources, and both are ways to record historical events. All three provide information about what people felt was important in their lives.
  8. Distribute the “Details of the Journey” worksheet from Session 2 to the students. Display the “American Indian Pictographs” transparency as a guide.
  9. Direct the students to complete the final column of the worksheet using the information they have learned about pictographs.
  10. Ask the students to add their pictograph images to the class timeline. Review the timeline as a class.
  11. Tell the students that they will be creating a Winter Count of Lewis and Clark’s journey using all of the information from this lesson (the timeline, pictographs, journals, individual research, and the “Winter Count” worksheet) and present it orally to the class.
  12. Direct the students to create a visual example of a Winter Count to present and discuss. The way the Winter Count is created is the student’s individual decision.
  13. Allow a sufficient amount of time for the students to prepare for their Winter Count presentation.

Session 5

  1. Invite the students to present their Winter Counts as a “Winter Count keeper,” retelling key events of Lewis and Clark’s journey orally to the class.
  2. During the presentation, direct the students to sit in a circle as American Indians sat in a circle to hear a member of the tribe speak.
  3. Display the Winter Counts in the classroom.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Provide students with a copy of the notes from the overhead transparency of the “Winter Count Information” page and allow them to underline or highlight key information.
  • Provide students with pre-made pictographs to add to their Winter Counts for their presentations.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Compare the American Bison Nickel with the Indian Head/Buffalo Nickel at www.usmint.gov/kids/index.cfm?fileContents=coinNews/cotm/2001/06.cfm.
  • Have students do independent research about other coins showing a bison image such as the 2005 Kansas quarter.
  • Use the “Details of the Journey” worksheet to evaluate the students’ ability to meet the lessons objectives.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ ability to present the Winter Count information orally and accurately.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RI.6.2. Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
  • RI.6.3. Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.6.7. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • RI.6.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
  • RI.6.9. Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.6 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.6.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
  • W.6.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
  • W.6.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).
    • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not”).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.6 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.6.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • W.6.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 6.)
  • W.6.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.6 Language
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.6.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
    • Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
  • L.6.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.6.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
  • RI.6.5. Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.
  • RI.6.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.