Exploration: The teacher will engage the students by showing an article and picture of the Mercedes manufacturing plant in Alabama, and asking the students why they think a company from another country (Germany) would want to have a plant in Alabama? https://www.mbusi.com/factory (This question is designed to generate thinking and start the students on the journey of looking at the benefits of living in Alabama and the natural gifts this state has to offer.) The teacher will share the day's objective and then refer to the Essential Question: Why would businesses want to come to Alabama during the early nineteenth century? The teacher will tell the students to go to https://answergarden.ch/ and type in the ID number. The students will then be taken to the site where they will put their responses to the Essential Questions. If devices are not available, the teacher can create a class concept map with the Essential Question listed in the middle and complete it using responses from the students. The teacher will orally state the responses and tell the students they will find out if what they listed is correct by investigating a primary source.
Lesson Development: The teacher will display the 1820 letter from Mason and Dexter using the computer and projecting it on the screen. The students will pull up the same previously downloaded letter on their computers (the teacher can give copies to the students if computers are not available). The teacher will discuss how primary sources give future generations a look into the past and then begin discussing the letter; its condition and language. The teacher will pass out the investigation sheet, Classroom Student Investigators. The teacher will model how to pull information from the letter by going over the first paragraph of the letter with the students. The teacher will then scaffold pulling information from the letter using the second paragraph. The students will record information on their sheets as the teacher and students discover information from the letter. The teacher will then tell the students they should work within their small groups, using the remainder of the letter, to complete the handout. After the students have had time, the teacher will go over the findings of the different groups and discuss the information they found and the questions they developed. The teacher will refer to the Essential Question and have students complete the Essential Question Web handout.
Expansion: The students, either using a computer or paper, will create a brochure describing the natural resources of Alabama during the early nineteenth century and telling their importance to Alabama businesses. The teacher will pass out the checklist and discuss what is expected from the students; restating the objective as a requirement for the brochure (see attached checklists). After students have had time to create their brochures, they will use the grading checklists to make sure they have included all of the requirement elements and have demonstrated an understanding of the day's objective. The students will share the brochures with their peers if there is available time.