Final Assessment Assignment

WI Collaborative

Paul Vaara

6-8 Social Studies

Northwood School

Minong, WI

Text: "The Americans": McDougal Littell

*We use this text for 8th and 9th grades. 8th grade goes through Chap 13 and 9th finishes the text. This is our first year splitting U.S. History. It used to be taught all in 9th grade, but largely due to my involvement in the history grant and the discussions with colleagues from other schools, our

school board agreed with the change. We chose this book because of it's large amount of primary source materials included throughout each chapter and it's well written humorous style.

  • Chapter 1 - Three Worlds Meet

    new title: Clash of Cultures

    This chapter covers the world around 1492 and then gets into transatlantic encounters. I like the way the chapter shows what was going on in the world during this critical time period. It provides a good background on Native American societies, Western African societies, and European societies and how they will soon clash. The coverage of Columbus' voyage is historically accurate. The chapter shows how events were set into motion as a result.

  • Chapter 2 - The American Colonies Emerge

    new title: Europe's colonization of the Americas

    This chapter covers Spanish influence in the Americas along with England, France, Netherlands, and other European countries. It shows how the colonies were built and describes the cultures of each group of people who settled in them. I have added a lot to this unit outside of the text. My background knowledge from the history grant has proven very valuable. The materials and ideas learned from presenters and participants on the puritans puts the text to shame. Especially, the Puritan names from Gary Nash. The students really enjoyed that discussion. One activity my 8th
    graders do is create a colony based on a fictitious religion. Their group comes up with laws, for the colony, they make up what their homes look like, their clothing, music, and any other culturally based idea.

  • Chapter 3 - The Colonies Come of Age

    new title: European Colonies Thrive

    I would change this chapter by removing the French & Indian War and discussing that as a pre-curser to the revolution. The first three sections are fine, however. The students get a good look at the differences between the northern and southern colonies. The Salem Witch Trials are included in this chapter and once again via the history grant, I now have a wealth of information and ideas thanks to Mary Beth Norton. I wasn't aware of how the northern colonies helped fuel slavery. My students are amazed with some of the information we share.

  • Chapter 4 - The War for Independence

    new title: A new country is born

    As I said previously, I would include the F&I War when studying the Revolution. The chapter as it is written really condenses the Revolution so I add much more. The trading card activity sounds like a productive way to encourage middle school students to research various people from the era. Another idea I picked up was to show parts of movies based on the Revolution. The Patriot, The Crossing, etc. There is so much information and ideas out there that I'm finding it challenging to select the right ones. Part of our rationale to split U.S. History was to spend more time on this important time period in our History.

  • Chapter 5 - Shaping a New Nation

    new title: Forging a Path for a New Country

    This chapter covers the process on drafting the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. I don't think I could have taught this topic without hearing Fred Drake's 10th Federalist discussion. When studying the Constitution I have the students create a classroom Bill of Rights and compare that to how the original was constructed. I spend a lot of time working with the constitution in class, it kind of doubles as a government class just in time for the state testing.

  • Chapter 6 - Launching a New Nation

    new title: Testing the Experiment

    George Washington as the first president, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the War of 1812 are the major topics in this chapter. It makes for an interesting variety, but I think the text makes the material fit in a creative way. During this chapter, I'll make use of the many activities I got through the History Grant. The Washington papers and the Lewis and Clark activities are very useful.

  • Chapter 7 - Balancing Nationalism and Sectionalism

    new title: Somehow Making the Country Work

    This chapter covers the the sense of nationalism that encourages westward expansion and also covers the sectionalist ideas of some of the states. The Trail of Tears is discussed as a result of the westward expansion ideas that come out of the Jackson era.

  • Chapter 8 -Reforming American Society

    new title: Promoting the Rights of all Americans

    Abolition of slavery is covered along with early women's reforms and changes in manufacturing.

  • Chapter 9 - Expanding Markets and Moving West

    new title: Effects of Manifest Destiny

    Westward expansion and how it affects the plains people along with the issues in Texas and the War with Mexico are covered in this chapter.

  • Chapter 10 - The Union in Peril

    new title: On the Brink of failure

    The politics or slavery and secession from the union are some of the major topics.

  • Chapter 11 - The Civil War

    new title: The War between the States

    In 8th grade, we end the school year with this topic. I will have several activities planned that will last throughout the 4th quarter.


Revised 08/25/2008  


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