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 US History I
Home • Curriculum • Social Studies • US History I
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
Topic:  Pre-Columbian Civilizations
The student can:
  • Interpret timelines of events studied (H)
  • Identify the three major Pre-Columbian civilizations that existed in Central and South America as the Maya, Aztec, and Inca (H)
  • Describe the political structures, religious practices and use of slaves for each civilization (H,E)
  • Locate each civilization on a map (G)
  • Explain reasons for the decline of the Aztec and Inca civilizations in the 16th century (H)
  • Describe how geography and climate influenced the way these nations lived and adjusted to the natural environment, including locations of the villages, the distinct structures they built, and how they obtained food, clothing, tools and utensils (H,G,E)
  • Compare and contrast the varied customs and folklore traditions of these nations (C)
  • Construct a timeline from 8000 B.C. to 1790, the discovery of the Aztec Calendar Stone
  • Create a 3-D map of the ancient Mayan Empire using primary sources, clay or play-doh
  • Compare and contrast the Aztec Snow White Story to that of the Grimm Brothers
  • Research Incan poetry and create original poems about the Incans using this form
  • Create a Venn Diagram comparing the different religious practices found in these civilizations
  • Construct the Aztec Sunstone
  • Research the Aztec Ball Game and explain its importance in their society
  • In alignment with MA Frameworks’Standards:  5.2, 5.4
  • Values/Attitudes
  • Resources
  • Assessment

Expand their visions of the entire world that God created.

Develop an understanding of how studying past events can give clues into future historical events in this world.

Cut and Make Kachina Dolls by  Smith,  

Native American Artifact Project by A.G and Hazen, J. by Earle, M. and Tetreau, L.

The Same Sun was in the Sky by Webb, D.

Timeliner Software by Tom Snyder

The Aztec Ball Game @www.ballgame.org

  • Research ancient civilizations in order to uncover the reasons why such powerful and prosperous societies ultimately fell to ruins (score.rims.k12.ca.us/activity/mayans)
  • Create a chart illustrating the distinct structures built, the food, clothing, tools and utensils of the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas
  • Middle School Social Studies                                                    U.S. History Part I
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
Topic:  Explorers
The student can:
  • Examine the explorers and identify their accomplishments, and the obstacles they faced
      (Vasco Da Gama, Vasco Nunez De Balboa, , Christopher Columbus,          
  • Amerigo Vespucci, etc.)   (H, G, E)
  • Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of early explorers (H)
  • Explore the technological developments that made sea exploration by latitude and longitude possible (H,E,G)
  • Trace the routes of major explorers including the distances traveled and the Atlantic routes that linked Africa that West Indies, the British colonies and Europe (G)
  • Locate on maps of North and South America land claimed by Spain, France, England, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia (G)
  • Describe what each explorer sought when his journey began what he found, and how the discoveries changed the image of the world (H, E, C)
  • Interpret maps used by explorers (G)
  • Use maps and globes to identify absolute locations (latitude and longitude) (G)
  • Identify the location of the North and South Poles, the equator, the Prime Meridian and the Hemispheres (G)
  • Compare maps of the modern world with historical maps of the world before the Age of Exploration and describe the changes in the 16th and 17th century maps (G, H, E)

  • Choose an explorer and research their biographical information, as well as information on their explorations. Write an autobiography about that person.  
  • Choose an explorer and research information about that explorer.  Have the children create a “wax museum” of early explorers in the classroom.  As you walk around the exhibits ask the student who they are. They will tell you all about themselves as if they were the explorer.
  • Students create an "Explorer's Notebook" to depict the journey of a chosen explorer.
In alignment with MA Frameworks’ Standards: 5.3

Appreciate the values of studying history as a way of enriching our awareness of the past and the future.

Describe the wide variety of experience that are part of the settlement of the United States.

Columbus and the Renaissance Explorers by Colin Hynson.

Pedro's Journal: A Voyage With Christopher Columbus August 3, 1492-February 14, 1493
by Pam Conrad

Stowaway by Karen Hesse

  • Compare the lengths of at least five explorers’ trips.  Using a spreadsheet, design a graphMake a map of the world showing the voyages of at least five explorersMake a map of North and South America illustrating the regions claimed by Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and FranceMake a diagram that Columbus could have used to convince Queen Isabella to support his journey.
  • Middle School Social Studies                                                    U.S. History Part I
Topic:  Colonial America
The student can:
  • Describe the goals and extent of the Dutch settlement in New
       York, the French settlements in Canada, the Spanish settlements
      in Florida, the Southwest, and the missions in California (H)
  • Compare and contrast the early relationships of the English
             settlers to the Indigenous peoples in North America, including
             the differing views on ownership, the use of land, and the
             conflicts between them (H, G, E)
  • Describe the hardships of the Pilgrims during their first winter
      22.  Appraise the lasting effects of the Mayflower Compact (H)
      23.  Recall the traditions of the First Thanksgiving (H)
  • Identify major leaders and groups responsible for the founding of the
      original colonies in North America (H, C)
  • Identify the thirteen colonies and their location on a map and describe
      how regional differences in climate, types of farming, populations, and
      sources of labor shaped their economies and societies through the 18th
      century (H, G, E)

  • Write a personal narrative from the point of view of either a Pilgrim or a Native American.
  • Write a letter home to a relative in England describing the events that are happening around you.  Describe what you see, the people who are there, and describe what a day in the life of a Colonist.
  • Read Sarah Morton’s Day to your students. Complete a Venn Diagram showing how your life and Sarah’s life are the same and different.
  • Using a graphic organizer organize the colonies into New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies. Next to each colony, write the founders name and date of settlement
In alignment with MA Frameworks’ Standards: 5.6, 5.7, 5.9, 5.10, 5.14

Recognize and value those who came to settle our country

Acknowledge and be thankful for what God has given us

Religious tolerance

Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters

On the Mayflower  by Kate Waters, Russ Kendall
  • Make a timeline showing the founding of the thirteen original colonies from Jamestown in 1607 to Georgia in 1733
  • Write a newspaper article from the point of view of a colonist discussing current events
  • Make a map that illustrates the 13 original colonies.  Color code it to show what groups of people settled there
  • Middle School Social Studies                                                    U.S. History Part I
Middle School Social Studies                                                    U.S. History Part I

Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
Topic:  Colonial America (con’t)
The student can:
  • Discuss the importance of maritime commerce and the development
      of the economy of Colonial Massachusetts, using services of historical
      societies and museums as needed (H,E)
  • Identify the founders of and the reasons for the establishment of
      educational institutions in the colonies (H)
  • Explain the development of colonial governments and describe how
      these developments contributed to the Revolution (H, C, G, E)
29.  Describe the religious aspects of the earliest colonies (H)
  • Analyze the early democratic ideas and practices that emerged during
      the Colonial Period, including the significance of representative
      assemblies and town meetings (H,C,E)
  • Define what an entrepreneur is and give examples from Colonial
      History of an entrepreneur (Peter Faneuil and Benjamin Franklin) (E)

  • Create a sign that may have hung outside a shop in colonial times advertising a particular trade
  • Design a poster describing whaling in Massachusetts
  • Conduct a town meeting in your class
  • Create a chart showing the different religious groups that settled in the colonies
  • Research an educational institution from colonial times and create a computer presentation about it
  • Values/Attitudes
  • Resources
  • Assessment
  • Recognize and value those who came to settle our country
  • Acknowledge and be thankful for what God has given us

A Journey to the New World:  The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620  (Dear America Series)  by: Kathryn Lasky

Plymouth Colony:  It’s History and People by:  Eugene Aubrey Stratton

New Bedford Whaling Museum

  • Construct a model of the Mayflower
  • Analyze choices made at Jamestown.  Students make their own decisions and determine if they would have fared better than the original settlers
  • Compare life in England to the new life in America.  Compose an essay

Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
Topic:  The American Revolution
The student can:

  • Discuss the reasons for the French and Indian War, how it lead to an overhaul
       of British imperial policy and the colonial response to these policies
       (Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Tea Act, and Intolerable Acts) (H,C,E)
  • Identify the causes of the Boston Massacre and explain the events of the
       Boston Tea Party (H)
  • Identify the Declaration of Independence and explain the meanings and key
       ideas on equality, natural rights, the rule of law, and the purpose of
       government (H, C)
  • Compare and Contrast the life and achievements of important leaders during
       the Revolution (George Washington, John Adams, and John Hancock) (H,C)
36.   Describe the roles of the Sons of Liberty and the 1773 Tea Party (H)
  • Identify the major battles of the Revolution and explain the factors leading to
       American victory and British defeat (H)
  • Explain the significance of the First and Second Continental Congresses
  • Map the major military battles, campaigns, and turning points of the
       Revolutionary War (H,G,C)
  • Analyze the contributions of France, other nations, and individuals to the
       outcome of the Revolution (H,C,E)
41.   Identify the different roles women played during the Revolution (H,C)
42.   Identify different ways of dating historical narratives (H)
  • Observe and identify details in cartoons, photographs, charts, and graphs
       relating to historical narrative (H,E,C)

  • Make a timeline of events that happened during the American Revolution
  • Samuel Adams wrote newspaper columns to inform colonists of the events of the events happening within the colonies. Write a news article as if you are Samuel Adams. Inform the colonist of all the events you see happening during the Revolution.
  • Read Paul Revere’s Ride to the class. Students sequence the events of his ride
  • Explore the content and meaning of key documents in American history such as the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Learn the importance of major symbols of American freedom such as the Bald Eagle, the 4th of July, the Star Spangled Banner, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Uncle Sam, Lady Justice and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Analyze pictures and documents to find out about the American Revolution. Research and write a monologue from the perspective of one of the individuals who played a significant role during the Revolutionary period. In their speeches, they should describe significant events of the period including the Stamp Act, the Declaration of Independence, Valley Forge, and the Articles of Confederation.
In alignment with MA Frameworks’ Standards: 5.14, 5.15, 5.16, 5.17, 5.18, 5. 19, 5.20

Appreciate that much of our country’s history centers around a pattern of expanding freedom

Appreciate and value those who died fighting for our country’s freedom

Freedom as a human right
“The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

The Declaration of Independence (document)

Johnny Tremain  by Esther Forbes

  • Design a game for other students to play that includes events and people of the Revolutionary War
  • Design a flow chart that shows the causes and effects of events leading to the Revolution
  • Make a map showing significant battles and who won them
  • Conduct a debate between a Whig and a Tory
  • Middle School Social Studies                                                    U.S. History Part I

Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
Topic:  The Constitution
The student can:

  • Identify the major leaders of the Constitutional Convention and describe the
       major issues they debated (H, E ,C)
  • Identify the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including
       the date, its primary author, and the basic rights it affords the citizens of the
       Commonwealth (C)
  • Describe Shay’s rebellion of 1786-87 and explain why it was one of the        crucial events leading to the Constitutional Convention (H,E,C)
  • Explain the reasons for the adoption of the Articles of Confederation and it’s        later failure (H)
  • Describe the responsibilities of the government at the federal, state, and local
       levels (C)
  • Describe the basic principles of American Democracy and explain how the
       Constitution and the Bill of Rights reflect and preserve these principles (C)
  • Identify the three branches of the US government as outlined by the
       Constitution, their functions, and what features were unique to that time (H,C)
  • Interpret the Bill of Rights and describe their reasons for their inclusion in the
       Constitution in 1791 (H,C)
  • Discuss how the Constitution is designed to secure our liberty by both
       empowering and limiting central government and compare the powers granted
       to citizens, Congress, the President,  and the Supreme Court (H,C,E)

  • Have students make posters supporting either the Federalists or the Anti-federalists.  Each student presents them to the class with details supporting the group of their choice.
  • Children illustrate a timeline of the ratification of the Constitution.
  • The student will "become" one of the famous Constitutional debaters, research their arguments, and stage a debate in front of your state's legislature (the class). The class will then vote whether or not to ratify the new Constitution, based upon the success of your debate.
  • Learn the purpose of the U.S. Constitution and then analyze the language and meaning of the Preamble. Work in cooperative groups to write a class constitution incorporating the appropriate elements of the U.S. Constitution.
In alignment with MA Frameworks’ Standards: 5.20, 5.21, 5.22, 5.23, 5.24, 5.25, 5.26


Recognize the characteristics of democracy

Recognize the importance of voting and majority rules in group decisions

The Constitution of the United States

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow

...If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy

D is for Democracy: A Citizens Alphabet
By Elissa Grodin

Library of Congress
  • Make a newspaper covering the Constitutional Convention of 1787
  • Compare and contrast the United States’ government under the Articles of Confederation with the type of government that would exist under the proposed Constitution
  • Make a mobile showing the three branches of government, their responsibilities and divisions, as well as, information on how members are elected or appointed and the time frame for which these members serve
  • Middle School Social Studies                                                    U.S. History Part I
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
Topic:  The Changing West
The student can:
52.  Identify and explain the reasons why people moved West (H, G, C, E)
  • Analyze the events leading up to and the significance of the Louisiana
      Purchase in the territorial expansion of the United States. (H, G, C, E)
  • Identify and describe the challenges the Native Americans faced as
      the settlement in the West expanded (H, G, C, E)
  • Describe the expedition of the Lewis and Clark from 1803-06 (H, E,
  • Analyze the causes of the War of 1812 and how events during the war
      contributed to a sense of American nationalism (H)
  • Discuss the waves of immigrants from Europe between 1789-1850
      and their modes of transportation into the Ohio and Mississippi
      valleys and through the Cumberland Gap (H, G, E, C)
  • Identify the explorations of the Trans-Mississippi West following the
      Louisiana Purchase (H, G)
  • Distinguish between political and topographical maps and identify
      specialized maps that show information such as:  population, income,
      or climate change (G, H, E)
  • Give examples of the ways people saved their money and explain the
      advantages and disadvantages of each (E)
61.  Define profit and describe how it is an incentive for entrepreneurs (E)

  • Using maps, trace the route of the railroad from beginning to end.
  • Students become a reporter working for a major eastern newspaper whose readers are very interested in events occurring "out West." Students write a news article about the happenings out west.
  • Students map out Lewis and Clark’s expedition
In alignment with MA Frameworks’ Standards: 5.29, 5.30, 5.31, 5.32, 5.34

Appreciate and recognize the wide variety of experiences that are part of the settlement of the United States

Lewis And Clark On The Trail Of Discovery : An Interactive History with Removable Artifacts (Lewis & Clark Expedition)  by Rod Gragg

Ten Mile Day:  The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad by Mary Ann Fraser
  • Make a map showing the western trails
  • Write a diary as either Lewis or Clark
  • Create a game about Daniel Boone and his adventures in Kentucky
  • Write a newspaper article about the Trail of Tears
  • Make a float that represents one of the students’ ancestral countries.  It must include at least five symbols of the country
  • Middle School Social Studies                                                    U.S. History Part I