When it comes to Social Studies, we all struggle with having enough time to get it all in, while maintaining the rigor and relevance of the lessons that we are teaching.
This is especially true at the beginning of school with the first unit to be taught.
I developed this unit, incorporating Common Core Strategies as well as 21st Century Learning Skills. It begins with Land Bridge Theory, follows native American migration, and covers explorers: Eriksson, Columbus, Cabot, de Soto, Magellan, Hudson, and LaSalle as well as the political, economic, and technological motivations of the Europeans who funded their journeys.
It includes 15 lessons that include:
Document based questions
Speaking and Listening
All activities are suitable for note booking and the unit can be expanded into argumentative writing with the assignment : “Who Deserves Credit for Discovering the New World?”
As is, it covers a lot of material in 15 lessons designed for 45 minutes. If you have more class time, lessons can be combined. If you teach US History from the point of land bridge theory this unit will be a life saver in rigorous social studies planning incorporating CCSS and 21st Century Skills.
1.Video and DBQs concerning Land Bridge Theory
2.Native American Migration Mapping
3-7. Collaborative research jigsaw to report on 5 Native American
Tribes in order to compare and contrast: government, religion
food, clothing, type of shelter, hunter gatherer or farmer,
migratory or village (organizer and answer key provided)
. Graphic to compare explorers and answer key provided:
nationality, sailed for , name given to land, present name of land
8. Leif Eriksson and map
9. Christopher Columbus and exploration map
10. John Cabot and exploration map
11. Hernando de Soto and exploration map
12. Ferdinand Magellan and exploration map
13. Henry Hudson and exploration map
14. Robert La Salle and exploration map
15. Political, Financial, and Technological Motivations of Explorers