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Enduring Understanding: Students will understand the development of the American West following the Civil War.
Background For Teachers:
Student Prior Knowledge:
Step 1 Ask the class what they think of when they hear the term American West.
Step 2 Record all answers on the board or on an overhead transparency.
Step 3 When students have exhausted their knowledge; begin grouping responses into categories such as myth and reality.
Step 4 Poll students as to where they acquired their knowledge and categorize the usefulness of those sources for academic purposes.
Step 5 Direct students to select a novel by a western writer and complete questions from the Exploring the American West worksheet outside of class. (attached)
Step 1 Divide the class into small groups of 3-5 students.
Step 2 Each group selects a group leader and a scribe.
Step 3 Each group member shares what they found in their novel as directed by the worksheet with the other members of the group.
Step 4 Each group compares and contrasts the findings of the individual group members.
Step 5 The scribe records the findings of the group on a master list to be turned in to the teacher.
Step 6 The teacher brings the class back together when all groups have completed their lists.
Step 7 Each group leader shares the findings of their group with the class. The teacher will record similarities and overall themes to help the class make connections.
Step 8 Assign each student to write a multi paragraph essay outlining their new knowledge of the American West. Essays should include individual findings, group findings and a comparison with other sources, notably the text or other teacher introduced material.
Strategies For Diverse Learners:
For struggling students: Assign all students the same book and simplify the assignment eliminating the essay and focusing only identifying conflicts and the railroad.
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