The First Steps West

Summary

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the chronology of major events in George Rogers Clark's journey and how these events affected the outcome of the Revolutionary War and the expansion of the United States of America. Students will locate and evaluate potential sources of information, gather and synthesize information, and create a new product.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the chronology of major events in George Rogers Clark's journey.
  • They will explore the goals of Clark's journey westward, the opposition faced, and the consequences of Clark's actions.
  • Students will locate and evaluate potential sources of information, gather and synthesize information, and create a new product.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts
  • Technology

Grades

  • 7th
  • 8th

Class Time

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

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

  • Students should have a basic knowledge of 19th century United States history including:
    • The Revolutionary War
    • The Northwest Territory
    • The Louisiana Purchase
  • Cooperative learning strategies

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • George Rogers Clark
  • Reverse (back)
  • Chronology
  • Northwest Territory
  • Proclamation Line of 1763
  • Revolutionary War

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector
  • Copy of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Quarter reverse design, available at /coins/coin-medal-programs/america-the-beautiful-quarters/george-rogers-clark-national-historical-park
  • Map of the United States and territories circa the Revolutionary War
    • Acquire map with Proclamation Line of 1763 included or draw the line on the map
  • Copies of the worksheets attached to this lesson plan (see "Preparations")
  • 1 overheard transparency of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Quarter
  • Blank overhead transparencies
  • A computer lab with Internet access
  • Websites that include information about George Rogers Clark
  • Colored pencils, markers
  • Drawing paper
  • Glue or tape

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
    • "George Rogers Clark's Journey: Information Gathering Worksheet" (1 per student)
    • "The First Steps West Rubric" (1 per student)
    • "The First Steps West Project Options List" (1 per student)
    • "The First Steps West Research Organizer" (3 per student)
    • "The First Steps West Project Planner" (1 per group)
    • "George Rogers Clark's Journey: Information Gathering Answer Key" (1 for teacher)
  • Make overhead transparencies of the following:
    • "George Rogers Clark's Journey: Information Gathering Worksheet"
    • "The First Steps West Rubric"
    • "The First Steps West Project Options List"
    • "The First Steps West Research Organizer"
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab.
  • Bookmark Web sites that include information about George Rogers Clark, including https://www.nps.gov/gero/learn/historyculture/inside.htm

Worksheets

Lesson Steps

 Session 1

  1. Display and examine the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park quarter reverse design. Locate the National Park's site on a class map. As background information, explain to the students that the United States Mint began to issue the quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program® in 2010. By the time the program ends in 2021, there will be a total of 56 designs on the back of the coin. Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
  2. Display a map of the United States of America and its territories circa the Revolutionary War. Explain to students that while most Americans today think of the western frontier being in the Great Plains and involving things like the Oregon or Santa Fe trails, the western frontier during the Revolutionary War period included the present day states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
  3. Locate the Proclamation Line of 1763, as well as the area immediately to the west. Explain that prior to the Revolutionary War, American colonists were limited to only living east of the Appalachian Mountains by the British Proclamation Line of 1763. The British passed this law because they knew they could not control significant numbers of Americans in the western frontier should too many move there. However, some Americans decided to disregard this law. During the decade leading up to the war, more and more American settlers decided to try their fortunes in the far western frontier.
  4. Ask students what effects might occur when Americans moved out west. Record class responses on chart paper.
  5. Introduce students to George Rogers Clark. Explain that Clark was an important figure in the Revolutionary War because he and his frontiersmen marched through the west to capture the British garrison at Fort Sackville on Feb. 25, 1779. Clark's daring surprise capture of the fort is considered one of the greatest feats of the American Revolution. The event effectively limited British control of the region and was instrumental in the subsequent establishment of the Northwest Territory and American expansion west of the Appalachians.
  6. Distribute one "George Rogers Clark's Journey: Information Gathering" worksheet to each student. Have students start completing the worksheet in the computer lab using remaining class time, or assign the entire worksheet as homework.

Session 2

  1. Assemble the students in the computer lab. Distribute the "The First Steps West" rubric and the "The First Steps West Project Options List". Ask the students to retrieve their "George Rogers Clark's Journey: Information Gathering" worksheets.
  2. Display a transparency of the "Information Gathering" worksheet. Go over it as a class using the answer key. Have students edit their worksheets to reflect the correct answers.
  3. Explain that students complete a group project based on the seven milestones in their "Information Gathering" worksheets. Go through the "The First Steps West Project Options List" as a class. Answer any questions students may have. Go through the "The First Steps West Rubric" and make sure the instructions are clear.
  4. Assign project groups of three students each, or allow students to pick their own groups.
  5. Inform the students that they have today's class period to find additional information they might need to complete their project. Recommend that the groups meet before beginning their research and assign two to three milestones to each group member. Remind the students that it is important that each group member fulfill his or her assignment.
  6. Distribute the "The First Steps West Research Organizer". Inform the students that they will turn in each completed Research Organizer along with their final product.
  7. Circulate among the groups and provide support.
  8. Notify the students five minutes before the end of class. Inform them that they will need to conduct any additional research outside of class for homework. Remind the students to bring their "The First Steps West Rubric," "The First Steps West Project Options List," each completed "The First Steps West Research Organizer," and any necessary supplies (colored pencils, markers, etc.) to the next class.

Sessions 3-4

  1. Arrange the classroom so that it can accommodate cooperative learning. Place any supplies in a common area where the students can get them.
  2. Display the "The First Steps West Rubric" and "The First Steps West Project Options List" overhead transparencies. Briefly review the rubric. Inform the students that this is a workday in which the groups can begin to work together to assemble their projects.
  3. Display the "The First Steps West Project Planner" overhead transparency. Distribute one "The First Steps West Project Planner" to each group. Direct the groups to complete the planner before beginning work. To complete the planner, the groups must do three things:
    • Review their research, then brainstorm and record ideas regarding the project;
    • Decide on and describe a project plan; and
    • Assign and record roles and responsibilities.
  4. Inform the students that they will need to turn in their "The First Steps West Project Planner" with their final product.
  5. Circulate among the groups and provide support.
  6. Notify the students five minutes before the end of class. Tell the students to spend the last five minutes assessing their progress and determining what each member of the group should do for homework in order to ensure that the project is completed on time.
  7. Give students an additional session to complete their projects with their group if needed.

Session 5

  1. Have the students turn in and/or present their completed assignments.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students extra time to complete the assignment.
  • Rather than requiring students to draw the photos in the photo album, take digital pictures of milestones that students recreate in class. Print the pictures. Have students complete the rest of the assignment as described.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • During Session 5, ask the students to present their projects. Allow those who have written a script to perform it.
  • Have the students select one of the milestones in the chronology and document the event by creating a journal from the perspective of someone who was involved in the event. For example, students could write from the perspective of Vigo or Lt. Hamilton.

Assess

  • Assess the students' understanding of chronology through their comparison paragraphs.
  • Evaluate student achievement of the objective using the included worksheets.
  • Use the progress demonstrated on the intermediate worksheets and organizers to assess progress daily.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.7 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 8 
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • 7.1.Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
    • Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
    • Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others' questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.
    • Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.
  • 7.2.Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • 7.3.Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.8 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 8 
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • 8.1.Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Come to discussions prepared having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
    • Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
    • Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others' questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.
    • Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.
  • 8.2.Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
  • 8.3.Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.8 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 8 
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • 8.1.Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
    • Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
    • Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
  • 8.2.Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
    • Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
    • Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
  • 8.3.Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
    • Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events.
    • Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.7 Language
Grade(s): Grade 8 
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • 7.1.Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences.
    • Choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas.
    • Place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers.
  • 7.2.Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g., It was a fascinating, enjoyable movie but not He wore an old[,] green shirt).
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.8 Language
Grade(s): Grade 8 
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • 8.1.Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of verbals (gerunds, participles, infinitives) in general and their function in particular sentences.
    • Form and use verbs in the active and passive voice.
    • Form and use verbs in the indicative, imperative, interrogative, conditional, and subjunctive mood.
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.
  • 8.2.Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation (comma, ellipsis, dash) to indicate a pause or break.
    • Use an ellipsis to indicate an omission.
    • Spell correctly.

National Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.