This inquiry focuses on Andrew Jackson and the actions he took as president to remove the Indians from their territorial lands. The compelling question the students will seek to answer is:
Did Andrew Jackson violate the laws of the United States or the Constitution when he had the Indians removed from their land?
The students will take on the role of a juror, a witness (Andrew Jackson, John Ross, Elias Boudinot, or Coacooche, a Seminole Indian), or they will become part of the prosecution or defense. I've provided guiding questions for each role, and an overview of the responsibilities for each.
The is a true inquiry that has been designed for the real world classroom. My students love the preparation component, and are eager and enthusiastic to fulfill their roles on the day of the trial. The students get to write their own scripts, so it feels really authentic and it makes it lots of fun! They talk about the experience for the rest of the year!
This inquiry includes 2 formative lessons for each student (the lessons they complete depend on the role assigned). The Unit is also specifically tied with the following standards:
NYS Social Studies Framework Standards:
● Students will examine the conditions faced on the Trail of Tears by the Cherokee and the effect that the removal had on their people and culture.
● Students will examine examples of Native American resistance to western encroachment, including the Seminole Wars and Cherokee judicial efforts.
Social Studies Practices:
● Gathering, Using and Interpreting Evidence
● Comparison and Contextualization
● Civic Participation
Although this has been written for teachers in NY state, I'm positive it would fit with many Social Studies curriculums from across the country.
The summative assessment includes directions for the Mock Trial, questions and primary sources for all the role players, a outline of the trial procedure, and a rubric for each type of character. The unit is linked with the NYS Social Studies framework, Common Core Anchor Standards, and the Social Studies Practices for NYS. I created this lesson plan in a style similar to those written and posted by C3teachers.org.
This product is provided with a zip file that includes both a word document (fully editable) and a PDF file. It also includes a link to a google document version of the file that you can copy and then edit.
Keywords: Andrew Jackson, John Ross, the Trail of Tears, inquiry, American Indians, Mock Trial, Social Studies, New York State, Critical thinking, primary sources and documents
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