ALEX Lesson Plan

Reducing the Impact of a Flood

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Marcus Jackson
System: Chickasaw City
School: Chickasaw City Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35510


Reducing the Impact of a Flood


Students will interpret various primary sources for reconstructing the past, including documents and photographs about dam designs. Students will gain skills necessary for researching by locating credible and original sources, determining if the sources are primary or secondary. Students will use technology to create a presentation, highlighting primary and secondary sources.

This unit was created as part of the ALEX Interdisciplinary Resource Development Summit.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 3
Geographic and Historical Studies: People, Places, and Regions
11 ) Interpret various primary sources for reconstructing the past, including documents, letters, diaries, maps, and photographs.

•  Comparing maps of the past to maps of the present

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.3.11- Compare documents, letters, diaries, maps, and photographs and explain how they are used to reconstruct the past.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

I Can:

  • distinguish between primary and secondary sources.
  • acquire and apply investigative skills to locate and interpret primary sources.


Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • Computer with Internet access with a presentation device or available computers for groups of students and Internet access to Google sites and to primary documents.
    • Teachers may pre-print the pictures for the students.

  • Paper, pencil
  • Reducing the Impact of Flood Four Square Graphic Organizer- (can also be downloaded in attachment section)
  • Animoto Presentation Rubric- see attachment section
  • Quizlet- is a free website providing learning tools for students, including flashcards, study, and game modes. It was created by high school sophomore Andrew Sutherland in 2005 and now contains over 400 million study sets. All of the material is user-generated.

Technology Resources Needed:

Technology Links:

  1.  - The teacher will use the Quizlet link to introduce the lesson's key terms.
  2. The teacher will access the following video during the beginning phase of the lesson.
  3. The teacher may print pictures of dams using this web link.
  4. The teacher may print pictures of dams using this web link.
  5. -The teacher will need to print the four-square graphic organizer prior to beginning the lesson. This can also be downloaded as a Word document in the attachments section.


The students will need to be familiar with the term graphic sources. A graphic source shows or explains information in the text. Pictures, maps, charts, timelines, and diagrams are all examples of graphic sources. The students should be familiar with using a computer or laptop prior to teaching the lesson.

The teacher will need to know some background knowledge about primary and secondary sourcesPrimary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience. The teacher will need to create an Animoto account ( for the class, as students will use the Animoto website to create a secondary source for information. (Animoto is a cloud-based video creation service that produces video from photos, video clips, and music into video slideshows.) The teacher will need to follow the following steps for creating an Animoto presentation:

  1. Step 1 - Sign up. To get started on Animoto, you'll need to register a free Animoto account. ...
  2. Step 2 - Choose a style. Click "Create" in the upper right corner to begin, then choose a style. ...
  3. Step 3 - Add images & music.
  4. Step 4 - Preview, produce & share!

The teacher will need to be familiar with Quizlet. Quizlet is a free website providing learning tools for students, including flashcards, study and game modes. The students will make connections to primary and secondary sources by using information from graphic sources to answer several questions. The students will use the information from the questions to create an electronic secondary source to share with their classmates and teachers.


Before:  Introduce the terms primary & secondary source, using the Quizlet link. The teacher will also reinforce the term dam (which is included on the Quizlet study set). Tell the students that primary sources are original sources created by a person who witnessed or participated in an event. Secondary sources are taken from an original source. Provide the students with two examples of primary sources (original photographs and videos) and two examples of secondary sources (journal articles and books) about dams. Tell the students that in this lesson they will be using primary sources. Explain to the students that they will create a secondary source at the end of the lesson. Motivate the students by showing a video on the Hoover Dam. Ask the students to think about what they are seeing as they view the video.

During:  Divide students into teams of two. The teacher can use equity sticks to select partner groups, or the Random Name Picker app  ( to assign the students to partner groups. Assign two photographs (see links above) to each student and ask her/him to discuss with their partner what they see. Now share the four-square graphic organizer with the students. Give the students an opportunity to preview the questions on the organizer. The teacher should review the questions with the students explaining the question with clarity for the students. Ask the students to share their photographs with each other and discuss the answers to the following questions: 

  1. What are you looking at? 
  2. In what time period were these photos taken? 
  3. What words or ideas come to mind when looking at the photos? 
  4. What story do you think is in the picture?

Allow the students an opportunity to record their answers to the questions using the four-square graphic organizer. Allow students an opportunity to share with the class the pictures they were assigned and the information they have written on their graphic organizers. Explain to the students that they have just used primary sources for reconstructing information about dams.

After:  Before explaining the group project activity, share the Animoto Rubric with the students. Explain the points and the categories for each section. The students will continue to work in their team groups to create an Animoto presentation. (Animoto is a cloud-based video creation service that produces video from photos, video clips, and music into video slideshows.) Tell the students that their Animoto presentation is a secondary source for sharing information, using the information they gathered from their primary source. The students will use the information from their graphic organizer to create their presentation. The students will need to include two images (pictures of dams) in their presentations. The teacher will need to show the students how to upload pictures into their Animoto presentations. After the students have completed their Animoto presentations allow an opportunity for the students to share their presentations. The students may email their presentations to the teacher to display on the interactive whiteboard or projector. 

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Assessment Strategies

Formative: Students can distinguish between primary and secondary sources by correctly providing an example of each. (Graphic Organizer & Animoto Presentation)

Summative: The teacher will assess the students Animoto projects using a five-point rubrics (see attachments). The students should know the Animoto presentation they are creating is considered a secondary source.


Have students create a collage of images and words that would illustrate dams in Alabama. The students should use the pictures provided to create their collages.

Have students play the Quizlet games using the newly learned vocabulary terms.


The teacher will provide assistance with helping those students needing remediation by

  • circulating throughout the classroom as the students work together to complete their graphic organizer.
  • providing the students with feedback as they complete their Animoto presentations.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.