Saturday, February 25, 2012

America: The Story of Us ~ Episode 3: "Westward 1" Lesson Plans

This past summer, when I planned our lessons for this year, I was enthralled with how much information was in Episode 3 ~ Westward. It couldn't be done in just three weeks, as I had intended for each unit. So, I broke Westward up into two separate units: Westward 1 and Westward 2. This week I will provide the lesson plans for Westward 1. We spent three weeks on this part of the unit.

We read The Captain's Dog by Roland Smith. We read an equal number of pages each day to cover the three-week unit (Suprisingly, Dawson did not enjoy this book as much as I thought he would. With him being such a dog-lover, I thought he would appreciate it more. But it just didn't have enough action for him. You'll find that he's hard to please when it comes to literature. I actually really enjoyed The Captain's Dog and thought it was a great piece of historical fiction.)

We watched the entire Episode 3, did the discussion questions/video quiz for the episode and the vocabulary words. These can be printed by going here. The Episode Guides are down the left hand column on the site.

All "notebooking pages" are printed from Advanced World History Vol. 2 from Hold that Thought!

All "America's Heritage" references are materials printed from America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty by The American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc.

Dawson also does Internet research to help him obtain information for his note booking pages. He is required to write 8-9 sentences since he is in the 9th grade.

We did the following activities:

* Jedediah Smith journal questions (from Episode 3 Guide)
* Read "Circa 1803" from Lewis and Clark PBS site and Section 1 questions (in pdf format, click "Section 1" under Introductory Class Discussion)
* Do Number 7 of Lesson 1 (Map Section and Section 3 Activity question, pdf format) and Number 8 and 9 of Lesson 1 (Section 4, Map comparison, pdf format)
* Daniel Boone notebooking page
* Lewis and Clark notebooking page
* Sacagawea notebooking page
* US Flag vocabulary, read Flag Code, put dates on US Flags, from America's Heritage
* Star Spangled Banner vocabulary and discussion questions from America's Heritage
* Francis Scott Key notebooking page
* Rewatch "The Donner Party" clips from Episode 3
* "What was wagon train life like" notebooking page
* Read "The Diary of Patrick Breen" from American Experience on PBS site
* The Donner Party notebooking page

When searching for the Lewis and Clark activities from the OETA site so that I could link them, I noticed that things had been changed since I printed them this summer. There is now a Classroom Resources link that has GREAT resources for Social Studies, Math, Science and Language Arts. It would certainly be worth checking these out before finalizing your lesson plans on Lewis and Clark.

Books Read (maybe not the whole book, but reading through it for notebooking pages and general information):

Daniel Boone by Janet Riehecky
The Lewis and Clark Expedition by Christin Ditchfield

Videos Watched:

"Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corp of Discovery" (Ken Burns), Netflix

** These lesson plans were based on planning for an American History course for a 9th grade boy. I allow some activities to be under his grade level and some to be above in order to give him a fun, exciting, and well-rounded understanding of the materials.

Previous Lesson Plans Posted:
Lesson 1 ~ Rebels
Lesson 2 ~ Revolution


  1. I think The Story of Us is such a great resource. We watched the entire series last year when we were iced in!

  2. Thanks for all the great ideas and resources. I'll be using them with my son next year!



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