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America: The Story of Us ~ Episode 6 "Heartland" Lesson Plans

This week's set of lesson plans did not happen on Study America Saturday because yesterday Brynne and I were celebrating a day of all things The Secret Garden. Hope you weren't checking your computer all day for the lesson plans for Episode 6 (somehow I think you might have better things to do.) But, we're here now. So, let's go ...

We have finally moved past pre-Civil War and Civil War to Episode 6: Heartland.   We spent four weeks on this unit.

Our living book in this area was a real DUD! In fact, about three-quarters of the way through it, I slammed it shut and said, "We are done! I am so bored reading this!" I had high hopes for a book by Willa Cather. (We were going to read O' Pioneers by Willa Cather, and after reading reviews decided to switch to My Antonia. Maybe the other was better.) I wish that I had a recommendation for you, but I don't. If you have a book from this era that you can recommend to my readers, PLEASE leave it in a comment! The book we attempted was My Antonia, by Willa Cather.

We watched the entire Episode 6, 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:

* Activity 3 "Technological Innovations" from Episode Guide
* PBS "The West" Activity 1: Map Work
* PBS "The West" Activity 2: Document Analysis (The Homestead Act, The Pacific Railway Act)
* PBS "The West" Activity 3: Building of the Railroad
* PBS "The West" Activity 5: Photo Analysis
* PBS "The West" Activity 4: Writing Project (Group 2)
* Homestead Act notebooking page
* Transcontinental Railroad notebooking page
* Lasso invention notebooking page
* Barbed wire invention notebooking page
* Colt 45 invention notebooking page
* Black Elk Speaks activity from Episode 6 guide
* Plains Indians Culture notebooking page

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

George Armstrong Custer by Dana Meachen Rau
Black Elk Speaks by Nicholas Black Elk

Videos Watched:

* "Frontier House"
* "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"

** 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
Lesson 4 ~ (Episode 3) Westward 2
Lesson 5 ~ (Episode 4) Division
Lesson 6 ~ (Episode 5) Civil War


  1. Funny- the first time I tried to read "My Antonia", I could not get into it. Years later, when I gave it another go, I loved it! I would put it in my top 10-20 all time favorites. However, I know my almost 14yo would be bored to death with it. I tried to find my history book list from my adult daughters, but no luck yet. I'll let you know if I find a good replacement book for that time period.

    I actually was looking for your next update! Thanks for sharing.


  2. My Antonia is one of my all time favorite books! We are going to try it this year; hopefully my daughters will like it :)


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