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America: The Story of Us ~ Episode 4: "Division" Lesson Plans

Here we are on Episode 4: Division already! But it was here that we SLOWED DOWN! The slavery portion of history of our country is so deep and so rich and so disturbing that we couldn't seem to move on.  We spent five weeks on this unit.

Our book for this unit was Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Obviously, this is a book for mature students. It wasn't nearly as violent as I was expecting. But, it was definitely moving. Again, Dawson was not impressed with Uncle Tom's Cabin. (Hard to please teenager!) I still think it is a necessary piece of literature for this era.

We watched the entire Episode 4, did the discussion questions/video quiz for the episode and 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:

* Erie Canal notebooking page
* Cotton gin notebooking page
* Reviewed patent drawings and demonstrations of the cotton gin (did all lessons on this link)
* The Underground Railroad journey (Scholastic site)
* Web Hunt for Harriet Tubman (Scholastic site)
* Wrote a Character Sketch about Harriet Tubman using this Source (one of my favorite things he has done this year)
* Read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Ch. 1 and 2) and did worksheet "Reading Douglass' Rhetoric"
* Read "An Account of Solomon Northrup" and do Guided Reading of Northrup's Twelve Years a Slave

(** There are SO MANY available activities on the Scholastic site about The Underground Railroad. Seriously, we could have spent an entire year doing everything on this site. I just chose a few things.)

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

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
The Dred Scott Decision by Jason Skog
Eli Whitney and Cotton Gin by Jessica Gunderson
What Difference Could a Waterway Make? by Susan Bivin Aller

Videos Watched:

* "Underground Railroad" hosted by Alfre Woodard
* "Roots" by Alex Haley (we watched this over the course of a week, one episode a day)
* "Solomon Northrup's Odyssey"

** 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.

There were ENTIRE topics that we did not even touch on in this unit. For a girl, topics such as Clara Barton, nursing, and the cotton/mill girl workers would be very interesting.

Previous Lesson Plans Posted:
Lesson 1 ~ (Episode 1) Rebels
Lesson 2 ~ (Episode 2) Revolution
Lesson 3 ~ (Episode 3) Westward 1
Lesson 4 ~ (Episode 3) Westward 2


  1. Awesome as usual! I look forward to these every week :)

  2. I look forward to these posts, too. I've been pinning them so that we can use them in the future. I really appreciate your sharing them :)


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