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Debating Westward Expansion Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students will have the opportunity to build an argument using primary and secondary sources. They will then present and defend their argument in a standard debate format.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the factors that encouraged and opposed westward expansion
  • Demonstrate an ability to locate, analyze, and use primary sources
  • Follow a standard debate format to support and defend an opinion

Length

  • 90-120 minutes (recommended to be split between two class periods)

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.6

Evaluate authors' differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors' claims, reasoning, and evidence.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.8

Evaluate an author's premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9

Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Materials

  • Writing utensils
  • Access to the Internet or primary source readers

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