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America: The Story of Us ~ Episode 3: "Westward 2" Lesson Plans

As stated in my last post in this series, Episode 3 had so much information that I just felt that we should break it up into two separate units. Today's installment contains the lesson plans for Episode 3: "Westward 2". We spent three weeks on this unit.

It might be beneficial to your student to have them rewatch Episode 3 and review the vocabulary and episode discussion questions to get them started.

We continued to read The Captain's Dog by Roland Smith (we still had a few chapters left).

Then we moved on to what has been our favorite read of the year ... The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

Surprisingly, I had never read this book. It was a hoot! A word of warning, however. I think I have mentioned that I read our historical novel to Dawson each morning. For us it's a good way to start our day, it keeps me involved in what he is studying, it gives us loads of conversation topics, and I just happen to believe our kids are never too old to be read to. He loves it and so do I. That being said, this is a tiresome book for an oral reader! There are SO many different dialects ... very unnatural dialects ... that need to be read to give the piece justice. There were times my tongue was so tied that Dawson just laughed. There were even times I had to take a break because my brain and tongue were tired! But it was so worth it!!!

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:

* The Battle of Alamo notebooking page
* Looked at photos from our vacation to The Alamo in 2005
* California Gold Rush notebooking page
* Photo analysis of "The Trail of Tears"
* Trail of Tears map study and cause and effect study
* Field trip to Cherokee Heritage Center and Trail of Tears Museum in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (the site where the Trail of Tears ended)
* Steamboat invention notebooking page

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

The Battle of Alamo by Rod Espinosa
California Gold Rush - an interactive history adventure by Elizabeth Raum
The Trail of Tears by R. Conrad Stein
Mark Twain and the Queens of the Mississippi by Cheryl Harness
Young Abe Lincoln by Cheryl Harness

Videos Watched:

"Remember the Alamo" (checked out from the library)
"We Shall Remain" a production of An American Experience, PBS

** 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 ~ (Episode 1) Rebels
Lesson 2 ~ (Episode 2) Revolution
Lesson 3 ~ (Episode 3) Westward 1


  1. I am enjoying this series so much and so in awe of you!! Great job!! I love Huck Finn too - he is a funny fellow!


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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.

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