How to Research Information with Primary and Secondary Sources on America

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SWBAT: gather and cite evidence from multiple print and digital sources to assess the credibility and accuracy of the information on the people who helped expand America.

Big Idea

Settlers vs. Indians: Gathering and Citing Evidence on Who Owned the Land In America

Lesson Introduction

What are my Rights? There are so many ways that students can answer this question. From the readings in our unit, students have learned that the interactions among the English Settlers and Native Americans were tested by the means that each group used to establish their new lives in America. Students have discussed the moral or legal entitlement that each group had in obtaining something or validation for acting in such ways. To build on this understanding, students will conduct research about the making of America from the standpoint of both the settlers and Indians.

One skill that is involved with Common Core Standards is the need for students to conduct research in order to analyze, synthesize, and organize information for presenting information in visual or oral means. While the reading and studying of information in ELA and Social Studies have connected students to discussions made in each class, research will allow students to interact with primary and secondary sources on the topics discussed in each classroom. 

Bell Ringer

10 minutes

To hook students in this lesson, the following prompt will be posted on the board:

In the Pre-Colonial Times, which group seemed to have more rights over the other, Settlers or Indians? Use explicit examples to justify your opinion.

Students will answer this question on a notecard and use their opinions to share with a shoulder buddy about their position on key people during this classic historic event. I will ask for volunteers to read their notecard(s). I will also keep a class tally by having students raise their hands in support of the settlers or Indians. 

Possible answers from students might include:

Settlers - first to settle in land which gave them rights of ownership, dominated with the use of power and resources to secure land, outnumbered Indians which posed them as a threat to Indians, etc.

Indians - unseen power to settle into a land, passion for family and culture created strength in Cherokee Nation which could have overthrown settlers, skills in land cultivation could have expanded wealth and resources for America, etc. 

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

Why does researching take so long to do? Students are use to committing to the first source found in search engines to answer all of their research questions. However, researching information about pre-historic times may pose difficulty for students who are use to relying on Wikipedia to conduct research. 

To refresh students' memory about primary and secondary sources, students will take notes from a power point. I will go through the power point of information and have students record notes for slides 2,3,4,5,6,8,13,14,15,16,18, and 21 in their notebooks. Teachers can make copies of these slides for students who may have modifications or record notes slowly during class times. The notes will provide future references for the types(i.e. books, websites, videos, etc.) of resources students can find in media centers or libraries when conducting research outside of class.

Independent Practice: Researching in Pairs

50 minutes

It is time to work! Students will work in pairs to answer the research questions (The Making of America) about the settlers and the Indians. I will go over my expectations for how I want students to tackle this research project.

You will work in groups of two to research information about the settlers and Indians when America was expanded during  Pre-Colonial Time Period. Each person in the group will choose one group to research. You will use the posing questions on the handout to find research to the answers of each question.

I will stop here and allow students time to ask questions about the expectations of the group work. Some questions students might ask are:

1. Can I use the locked Wikipedia resources for my research?

2. How many different types of primary and secondary resources should I use in my final product?

3. Where should I go to start researching?

All answers to these questions can be answered whole group or individually. Since this is the first mini-research project of the school year, I will address ALL questions aloud to the entire class. Afterwards, students will spend two days in the media center researching their portion of their project. The media center specialists and I will help students find resources related to subtopics of their research.

On the second day of research, students will take their information and place the information on one brochure. My goal is to have  students create a product (Work samples of brochures) that allows them to inform someone about the making of America with what information is available about the people who cohabited in this country during this time in history. While I am only giving two class periods to get this project started, students will continue practicing these skills and researching and collaboration by working on this product outside of class.