ALEX Lesson Plan

     

Alabama: A Boundless Field of Speculation

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Melinda Staubs
Organization:Jacksonville State University
The event this resource created for:Alabama Department of Archives and History
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35061

Title:

Alabama: A Boundless Field of Speculation

Overview/Annotation:

This lesson looks at the natural resources that drew businesses to Alabama. Students will explore the adapted 1820 letter from Mason and Dexter in Cahaba, Alabama to Richards and Simmons in Cumberland, Rhode Island.  Students will explain ideas within this historical text based on specific information presented in this primary source.

This lesson can be used as a stand alone or can follow A Natural Attraction: The Natural Resources of Alabama During the Early Nineteenth Century

This lesson was created in partnership with the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
12 ) Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text. [RI.4.3]


NAEP Framework
Anchor Standard::
Anchor Standard 3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Cognitive Target::
Identify textually explicit information within and across texts to find evidence in support of an argument.
NAEP Descriptor::
Describe a process with text support. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Interpret information in expository passage to describe steps in a process. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize best description of character based on action described in expository passage. (Locate and Recall)



Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.4.12- Identify events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in an informational text.


Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 4
Alabama Studies
4 ) Relate the relationship of the five geographic regions of Alabama to the movement of Alabama settlers during the early nineteenth century.

•  Identifying natural resources of Alabama during the early nineteenth century
•  Describing human environments of Alabama as they relate to settlement during the early nineteenth century, including housing, roads, and place names
Insight Unpacked Content
Strand: Geography, History
Course Title: Alabama Studies (Alabama)
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Relate the relationship of the five geographic regions of Alabama to the movement of Alabama settlers during the early nineteenth century.
  • Identify natural resources of Alabama during the early nineteenth century.
  • Describe human environments of Alabama as they relate to settlement during the early nineteenth century, including housing, roads, and place names.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • plateau
  • region
  • fall line
  • plain
  • river valley
  • flood plain
  • delta
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The distinguishing characteristics of the five geographic regions of Alabama.
  • Alabama's key natural resources including cotton, iron, timber, and rivers.
Skills:
The students are able to :
  • Analyze the relationship between Alabama's natural resources and the settlement of the area during the early 19th Century.
  • Make the connection that a region of a state greatly affects the social and economic viability of that region.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Settlers chose to live in regions based on the natural resources available in that region.
Alabama Archives Resources:
Click below to access all Alabama Archives resources aligned to this standard.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.4.4- Identify the five geographic regions in Alabama and the natural resources that attracted settlers to those regions.


Local/National Standards:

NCSS National Standard II: Time, Continuity, and Change

NCSS National Standard III: People, Places, and Environments

National Geography Standard 15. How physical systems affect human systems

National Geography Standard 16. The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will identify natural resources of Alabama during the early nineteenth century and evaluate their importance to Alabama settlers during the early nineteenth century.

 

Additional Learning Objective(s):

The students will explain ideas within a historical text based on specific information presented in the text.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Pencils, paper, computers, projector, screen, whiteboard, crayons, construction paper

Included as attachments: Adapted 1820 Letter from Mason and Dexter, Classroom Student Investigators Handout, Essential Question Web Handout, Brochure Checklist, Adapted Brochure Checklist, Bibliography

Technology Resources Needed:

projector, computers, screen, Internet 

Background/Preparation:

Students should know about businesses, have a basic knowledge of the time period, be able to work collaboratively, and have basic art, literacy, and computer skills.

Prior to the lesson, the teacher should write the Essential Question: Why would businesses want to come to Alabama during the early nineteenth century? on the board to refer to throughout the lesson. The teacher should download the attached letter to student computers or print out a copy of the letter for each group to have in the event computers are not available. The teacher should create an Answer Garden, https://answergarden.ch/, with the Essential Question: Why would businesses want to come to Alabama during the early nineteenth century?  The students should be placed in small groups.

The teacher can review background information found at http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-3155

The teacher can read the original 1820 Letter from Mason and Dexter at http://digital.archives.alabama.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/voices/id/1954/rec/1

  Procedures/Activities: 

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.



Attachments:
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  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

All assessments listed below are directly tied to the primary learning objective: identifying natural resources of Alabama during the early nineteenth century and evaluating their importance to Alabama settlers during the early nineteenth century, as specifically outlined in the procedures and attached checklists. 

Exploration: Answer Garden (concept map if no technology is available) 

Lesson Development: Classroom Student Investigators handout, Essential Question Web

Expansion: Brochures (see checklist and adapted checklists for requirements)

Acceleration:

Students will research Cumberland, Rhode Island, and Cahaba, Alabama and complete a Venn Diagram on the differences and similarities concerning the weather, land, and businesses found in both places.

Suggested reading: 

  1. Alabama Natural Resources, Kid's Encyclopedia: http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/article-196110/Alabama
  2. Amazing Alabama: http://www.amazingalabama.com/
  3. Made in Alabama: http://www.madeinalabama.com/

Intervention:

Students will be placed within small groups and assisted by the teacher throughout the lesson as needed. A peer will assist with the Answer Garden response if needed.  A written copy of the letter will be provided the day before the lesson to those students who may need it.  An adapted checklist for the brochure is provided.


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.