Wisconsin's Beginnings


Lesson Plan By: Karen Mattson and Ronda Olkonen




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Wisconsin’s Beginnings


“The ability to understand present events in the light of the past.” J. Carleton Bell


Unit Title: Wisconsin’s Beginnings

Grade Level: 4th Grade

Subject/Topic Areas: Social Studies, Language Arts, Science and Math.

Designed By: Karen Mattson and Ronda Olkonen

Time Frame: 3 Months

School District: Hurley Public School

School: Hurley K-12

School Address and Phone:    Hurley K-12

                                                Range View Drive

                                                Hurley, WI 54534

                                                Ph: 715-561-4900

Brief Summary of Unit (Including curricular context and unit goals):


Students will understand and appreciate their state's history, land regions, and resources.  Students will also develop knowledge, empathy, and respect for various humans in history that have shaped our society.  Through the concepts of time, continuity, and change, students will form an understanding of the past by using documents, maps, textbooks, photos, stories, field trips, and oral presentations.  The students will visit the Great Lakes Visitor Center, Ashland, WI, the George J. Brown Jr. Museum and Cultural Center, Waswagoning Indian Village, Lac du Flambeau, WI, and Iron County Visitor and Information Center Hurley, WI.


Desired Results:


Wisconsin Content Standards:


History: Time Continuity and Change

            Using documents develops

 –An understanding of the past, maps textbooks, photos

and oral presentation, etc.

-Explore important events and famous people in Wisconsin

-Identify and describe important events and famous people in Wisconsin

-Explore biographies and folk-tales to understand historical events which place people in history

-Using social roles compare and contrast changes in present life with life in the past

-Explore the historical background and meaning of freedom, Democracy and justice



Political science and Citizenship

-Identify and explain the individuals’ responsibilities to family, peers and the community including the need for civility and respect for diversity

            -Identify some rights of citizens in our country


Language Arts

            -Comprehend reading through prior knowledge or developing visual images

            -Identify purpose for reading such as gaining information, learning a view point,

or appreciation literature

-Analyze and repeat literature

-Reading and listening to acquire information

-Teacher led discussion of information text to summarized details

-Read aloud with age appropriate fluency, accuracy and expression

-Identify a topic of interest


Students will understand that…


-Wisconsin’s Native Americans and European’s formed our great state

-How resources in Wisconsin contribute to human population

-Historical events can be viewed in a non-biased way in order to allow evaluation of human strength

-Everyday concerns and needs of people effect decision-making

-A variety of people have contributed to our history as a state and a nation


Students will know…


-The historical background and the resources of Wisconsin that have formed our families’ history and economical decisions.


Students will be able to:


-Name individuals and groups of people in history and their contributions to our society






Assessment Evidence

Performance Task


Biographical Studies- Reading biographies and giving reports to inform others of important historical figures that have helped in forming our society


Wisconsin Weekly- a weekly newspaper with activities to help students become familiar with Wisconsin’s history, economy, traditions, and customs


Oral Reading of Novels


Creating replicas of Native American villages using natural resources

Illustrating the seasons and how thy affect people of Wisconsin today and in the past


Making scrolls to illustrate time-lines of Wisconsin


Studying and testing students in Native American Languages

Creating a power-point presentation comparing logging of today and the past


Student recall of field trips


Following recipes using math skills and group skills



Key Criteria:


-Written response to essay questions

-Written essays

-Quizzes and Tests

-Visual Display (Villages, Scrolls, and Timelines)

-Oral Responses





Stage 3 - Learning Plan W.H.E.R.E.



An appreciation and understanding of the efforts and hardships individuals endured to make our society today.


Through exciting games, materials, pictures, stories and activities we will hook students into studying Wisconsin history!


Using primary source documents from the State Historical Society, Library of Congress, local museum, Internet sites, and local historians we will equip students with the information they need to understand the Wisconsin’s History


Understanding each historical individual has a motive and individual ideas for their decisions that they made in history


Students follow a rubric expected of them and reflect on their learning experiences





Materials Needed


Novels: The Birch Bark House by Louise Edrich, Trouble at Fort La Pointe by Kathleen Ernst,  Journey Back to Lumber Jack Camp by Jamie Lynn Panagopoulos, Badger History, The Fur Trade, and Newspaper: Wisconsin Weekly (all offered through CESA 12)


Native American Villages: Birch bark, sticks, glue gun, and any reusable resource


Scrolls: Paper, crayons, markers, etc…


Homemade Butter- Heave Cream and glass jars


Fry Bread: Recipe enclosed


Field Trip


George J Brown, Jr. Museum and Cultural Center   

Lac due Flambeau, WI


Waswagoning Indian Village

Lac due Flambeau, WI


Great Lakes Visiting Center

Ashland, WI


Iron County Visiting and Tourist Center

Hurley, WI






Revised 08/25/2008  


University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 1725 State Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 (608) 785-8351

All material Copyright © 2007 by the University of Wisconsin and the Board of Regents of 

the University of Wisconsin System