Building Bridges - Teaching American History Lesson Plan Format
2006-2007 School Year Workshops
Name(s): Joan Horst
School: Forest Park School
Target Grade: Grade 1
Instruction Time required: 12 days
Material and Resources:
United States Map
Map of Great Lakes
Book: Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling
Enough 8x10 pieces of tag board each child
One plastic Native American for each child
Two boxes of Gulf Wax
Markers and crayons
Stove in our science room
Plastic sandwich bags
Helium filled balloons 1 for each child
Note: This lesson requires the assistance of another adult.
Topic/Title: Settlement and life of the Great Lakes regions
Overview: Teaching the history and maps of The Great Lakes.
1. To help the children find and locate on a map The 5 Great Lakes
2. To learn about the history of the Native American population of Great Lakes region
3. To learn about the immigrants who settled in the Great Lakes regions
4. Introduce the students to the history of logging and trapping.
5. Discuss the animals of the Great Lakes regions
6. To introduce iron ore shipping, and other shipping ventures of the Great Lakes.
7. Introduction of the Soo Locks and how it works
Michigan Content Standards and Benchmarks and the National History Standards Addressed:
Temporary Michigan Standards:
I. Historical Perspective
1.3 Distinguish among the past, the present and the future.
2.2 Describe the past through the eyes and experiences of those who were there as
through their records.
4.1 Recall situations in their lives that required decisions and evaluate the decisions
made in light of their consequences.
4.2 Evaluate decisions made by others as reported in stories about the past.
II. Geographic Perspective
1.1 Describe the human characteristics of places and explain some basic causes for
1.2 Describe the natural characteristics of places and explain some basic causes for
2.1 Describe how people use the environment to meet human needs and wants.
2.2 Describe the ways in which their environment has been changed by people,
and the ways their lives are affected by the environment.
3.3 Identify people, goods, services and ideas in their local community which have come
from other places and describe why they moved.
4.3 Describe changes in the region over timeas well as presently.
III. Civic Perspective
4.3 Describe ways that individuals influence each other.
5.2 Recognize that events in other countries can affect Americans.
IV. Economic Perspective
1.1 Identify ways families produce and consume goods and services.
1.2 List ways that individuals can conserve limited resources.
2.1 Connect economic needs with businesses that meet them.
2.2 Select a particular good or service and describe the types of resources necessary
to produce and distribute it.
1.1 Locate information using people, books, audio/video recordings, photos,
simple maps, graphs and tables.
1.2 Acquire information from observation of the local environment.
1.3 Organize information to make and interpret simple maps of their local surroundings
and simple graphs and tables of social data drawn from their experience.
Living and Working Together in Families and Communities Now and Long Ago
Standards 1 and 2
History of Students own State
The History of the U.S.
Standard 5 and 6
History of People of Many Cultures
Standard 7 and 8
Description of Class Activities
Day 1: Introduce the book Paddle to the Sea and the Great Lakes Map
Read pages one and two to the children. Discuss what has been read.
Discuss where Nipigon Country is and talk about the number of people or nationalities of the
people that might live in that region.
Day 2. Heat and melt the Gulf Wax on the stove. Have the children use the tag board provided
and design and create their own canoe using scissors, markers and or crayons.
As they finish, help them with stapling their canoe together. Then dip the canoes in the Gulf
Wax for the students and allow them time to dry. The finished canoes will be used for a
classroom display and discussion.
Day 3. Read pages 3 and 4 of Paddle to the Sea. Discuss the animals of the region. Discuss how
a real person might feel going off on such an adventure. In their journals students will write
what they would experience on such a journey.
Day 4. Read pages five, six and seven of Paddle to the Sea.
Discuss the history of logging and how it has changed. Discuss the dangers for people as well as
animals in this industry. In their journals students write their opinion if the canoe should be
put back into the lake.
Day 5. Read pages 8, 9, 10, and 11 of Paddle to the Sea.
Look at the Map of the Great Lakes again and show them where Paddle has journeyed. Talk
about the shape of Lake Superior. Discuss the dangers for a person traveling on Lake Superior.
Show students pictures of Lake Superior to visualize the enormity of the lake. Explain to
students what is meant by an international border. Introduce the subject of iron ore, the
shipping of this product, and why this is important to the Great Lakes region.
Day 6. Read pages 12, 13, 14, and 15 of Paddle to the Sea.
Discuss the fishing industry. Show students where the Keweenaw Peninsula is on the map.
Discuss the shipwrecks and what Paddle saw. Discuss what dry dock is and the changes that
Paddle experienced. Write in their journals about how Paddle changes before he can go on the
rest of his journey.
Day 7: Read pages 16, 17, and 18 of Paddle to the Sea.
Discuss why they might have taken a dog sled and not a plane or car to get to the Soo Locks.
Explain how the Soo Locks work. Use the Web Site:
to allow students to see the animated version of the Soo Locks.
Discuss how currents can move things. Look at the Map of the Great Lakes and locate Lake
Day 8: Read Pages 19, 20, and 21 of Paddle to the Sea.
Discuss how the fire Peshtigo Fire may have been seen by Paddle. Explain to the students how
that the Peshtigo Fire happened as the same time as Great Chicago fire, but was not as well
known. Teach them the song about Miss O’Leary’s Cow and the Chicago Fire:
One dark night
When we were all in bed
Miss O’Leary left the lantern
In the shed,
And when the cow kicked it over
She winked her eye
There will be a hot time in
The old town tonight.
Fire! Fire! Fire!
Look at the Great Lakes Map to point out Lake Huron and Lake Erie.
Show the students where the Detroit River is using the Map of the Great Lakes.
Day 9: Read pages 22, 23, and 24 of Paddle to the Sea.
Show them the photos from the Photo Gallery of Niagara Falls from this website:
Look at the Great Lakes Map to see where Niagara Falls is compared to where Nipigon Country
is and where Lake Ontario is. Discuss who Champlain was and the various Native Americans
that had inhabited this area of the Great Lakes.
Write in their journals how they would feel if they suddenly discovered that they were going
over this giant water fall.
Day 10: Read pages 25, 26, and 27 of Paddle to the Sea.
Discuss the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Use the United States map to
discuss how ships used this entry to the Great Lakes.
Discuss the currents in an ocean that they called Rivers. Talk about Paddles’ luck in being
brought on board a ship and going to France.
Discuss how the Frenchman must have felt when he discovered that the little canoe he had put
back into the water had made it to France.
Discuss who the young Indian was.
Discuss the fact that it took him four years. Talk about how old they will be in four years and
what they might be doing in that time.
Journal: Write about how they felt having Paddle get to his destination. Write about where
they think they might be in four years.
Day 11: Using Drawing paper have them design, draw and color a canoe with themselves in it.
On the back write their name, address, and ask the person finding this to write back. Have them
place these items into plastic sandwich bags and tie them to helium inflated balloons.
Bring them outside and have a great balloon send-off.
If any student receives an answer, students will mark on a U.S. map where the balloon was
Assessment/Evaluation of objectives
Assessment will be ongoing throughout discussion of the story Paddle to the Sea.