United States History and Geography: Making a New Nation
Students in grade five study the development of the nation up to 1850, with an emphasis on the people who were already here, when and from where others arrived, and why they came. Students learn about the colonial government founded on Judeo-Christian principles, the ideals of the Enlightenment, and the English traditions of self-government. They recognize that ours is a nation that has a constitution that derives its power from the people, that has gone through a revolution, that once sanctioned slavery, that experienced conflict over land with the original inhabitants, and that experienced a westward movement that took its people across the continent. Studying the cause, course, and consequences of the early explorations through the War for Independence and western expansion is central to students’ fundamental understanding of how the principles of the American republic form the basis of a pluralistic society in which individual rights are secured.
5. 1 The Land and People Before Columbus: Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.
5.2 The Age of Exploration: Students trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early explorations of the Americas.
5.3 Cooperation and Conflict: Students describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers.
5.4 The Colonial Era: Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.
5.5 The Causes of the American Revolution: Students explain the causes of the American Revolution.
5.6 The Course and Consequences of the American Revolution: Students understand the course and consequences of the American Revolution.
5.7 The U.S. Constitution: Students describe the people and events associated with the development of the U.S. Constitution and analyze the Constitution’s significance as the foundation of the American republic.
5. 8 The New Nation's Westward Expansion: Students trace the colonization, immigration, and settlement patterns of the American people from 1789 to the mid-1800s, with emphasis on the role of economic incentives, effects of the physical and political geography, and transportation systems.
5.9 The 50 States and Capitals: Students know the location of the current 50 states and the names of their capitals.
"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."
~ David McCullough
"We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future."
~ George Bernard Shaw
"To arrive at a just estimate of a renowned man's character one must judge it by the standards of his time, not ours."
~ Mark Twain
"History is Philosophy teaching by examples."
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
~ George Santayana
Online Articles of Interest
- Jamestown at 400: Jamestown's Buried Secrets
- Timeline: The World of 1607
- Powhatan Uprising of 1622
- King Philip's War: Indian Chieftan's War Against the New England Colonies
- 5th Grade History Page
(active links as of 8/17/09)
The Land and People Before Columbus (Unit One)
Main Objective: You will describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.
1. Describe how geography and climate influenced the way various nations lived and adjusted to the natural environment.
Things you might include in this are: (1) locations of villages, (2) structures they built,
and (3) how they obtained food, clothing, tools, and utensils.
2. Describe their varied customs and folklore traditions.
3. Explain their varied economies.
4. Explain their various systems of government.
• geography: a science that describes land, sea, air, and the distribution of plant and animal life (including man)
• climate: the average condition of the weather at a place over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and rainfall
• customs: practices common to many people or to a particular place; conventions that regulate social life
• folklore: traditional customs, tales, sayings, or art forms preserved among a people
• economy: the structure of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services
• government: the body of persons that constitutes the power to influence or command thought and behavior of a group
The Age of Exploration (Unit Two)
Main Objective: You will trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early explorations of the Americas.
1. Describe (A) the entrepreneurial characteristics of early explorers (e.g., Christopher Columbus, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado) and (B) the technological developments that made sea exploration by latitude and longitude possible (e.g., compass, sextant, astrolabe, seaworthy ships, chronometers, gunpowder).
2. Explain the aims, obstacles, and accomplishments of the explorers, sponsors, and leaders of key European expeditions and the reasons Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world (e.g., the Spanish Reconquista, the Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation).
3. Trace the routes of the major land explorers of the United States, the distances traveled by explorers, and the Atlantic trade routes that linked Africa, the West Indies, the British colonies, and Europe.
4. Locate on maps of North and South America land claimed by Spain, France, England, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia.
Cooperation and Conflict (Unit Three)
Main Objective: You will describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers.
1. Describe the competition among the English, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Indian nations for control of North America.
2. Describe the cooperation that existed between the colonists and Indians during the 1600s and 1700s. That cooperation may take the form of agriculture, fur trade, military alliances, treaties, and cultural interchanges.
3. Examine the conflicts before the Revolutionary War, for example: The Pequot and King Philip's Wars in New England, the Powhatan Wars in Virginia, and the French and Indian War.
4. Discuss the role of broken treaties and massacres and the factors that lead to the Indians' defeat, including the resistance of Indian nations to encroachments and assimilation.
5. Describe the conflicts between Indian nations, including the competing claims for control of lands, for example, the actions of the Iroquois, Huron and Lakota (Sioux).
6. Explain the influence and achievements of significant leaders of the time, for example, John Marshall, Andrew Jackson, Chief Tecumseh, Chief Logan, Chief John Ross, and Sequoyah.
The Colonial Era (Unit Four)
Main Objective: You will describe the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.
1. Describe the influence of location and physical setting on the founding of the original 13 colonies, and identify on a map the locations of the colonies and of the American Indian nations already inhabiting that area.
2. Identify the major individuals and groups responsible for the founding of the various colonies and the reasons for their founding.
3. Describe the religious aspects of the earliest colonies.
4. Identify the importance and leaders of the First Great Awakening, which marked a shift in religious ideas, practices, and allegiances in the colonial period, the growth of religious toleration, and free exercise of religion.
5. Describe how the British colonial period created the basis for the development of political self-government and free-market economic system and the differences between the British, Spanish, and French colonial systems.
6. Describe the introduction of slavery into America, the responses of slave families to their condition, the ongoing struggle between proponents and opponents of slavery, and the gradual institutionalization of slavery in the South.
7. Explain the early democratic ideas and practices that emerged during the colonial period, including the importance of representative assemblies and town meetings.
The Causes of the American Revolution (Unit Five)
Main Objective: You will describe the causes of the American Revolution.
1. Understand how political, religious, and economic ideas and interests brought about the Revolution (e.g., resistance to imperial policy, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, taxes on tea, Coercive Acts).
2. Know the significance of the first and second Continental Congresses and of the Committees of Correspondence.
3. Understand the people and events associated with the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence and the document’s significance, including the key political concepts it embodies, the origins of those concepts, and its role in severing ties with Great Britain.
4. Describe the views, lives, and impact of key individuals during this period (e.g., King George III, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams).
The Course and Consequences of the American Revolution (Unit Six)
Main Objective: You will describe the course and consequences of the American Revolution.
1. Identify and map the major military battles, campaigns, and turning points of the Revolutionary War, the roles of the American and British leaders, and the Indian leaders’ alliances on both sides.
2. Describe the contributions of France and other nations and of individuals to the outcome of the Revolution (e.g., Benjamin Franklin’s negotiations with the French, the French navy, the Treaty of Paris, The Netherlands, Russia, the Marquis Marie Joseph de Lafayette, Tadeusz Ko´sciuszko, Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben).
3. Identify the different roles women played during the Revolution (e.g., Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Molly Pitcher, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren).
4. Understand the personal impact and economic hardship of the war on families, problems of financing the war, wartime inflation, and laws against hoarding goods and materials and profiteering.
5. Explain how state constitutions that were established after 1776 embodied the ideals of the American Revolution and helped serve as models for the U.S. Constitution.
6. Demonstrate knowledge of the significance of land policies developed under the Continental Congress (e.g., sale of western lands, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787) and those policies’ impact on American Indians’ land.
7. Understand how the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence changed the way people viewed slavery.
The Constitution (Unit Seven)
Main Objective: You will describe the development of the U.S. Constitution and analyze the significance of the Constitution as the foundation of the American republic.
1. List the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation as set forth by their critics.
2. Explain the significance of the new Constitution of 1787, including the struggles over its ratification and the reasons for the addition of the Bill of Rights.
3. Understand the fundamental principles of American constitutional democracy, including how the government derives its power from the people and the primacy of individual liberty.
4. Understand how the Constitution is designed to secure our liberty by both empowering and limiting central government and compare the powers granted to citizens, Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court with those reserved to the states.
5. Discuss the meaning of the American creed that calls on citizens to safeguard the liberty of individual Americans within a unified nation, to respect the rule of law, and to preserve the Constitution.
6. Know the songs that express American ideals (e.g., “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner”).
The Way West (Unit Eight)
Main Objective: You will describe the colonization, immigration, and settlement patterns of the American people from 1789 to 1850, emphasizing economics, geography, and transportation systems.
1. Discuss the waves of immigrants from Europe between 1789 and 1850 and their modes of transportation into the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys and through the Cumberland Gap (e.g., overland wagons, canals, flatboats, steamboats).
2. Name the states and territories that existed in 1850 and identify their locations and major geographical features (e.g., mountain ranges, principal rivers, dominant plant regions).
3. Demonstrate knowledge of the explorations of the trans-Mississippi West following the Louisiana Purchase (e.g., Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Zebulon Pike, John Fremont).
4. Discuss the experiences of settlers on the overland trails to the West (e.g., location of the routes; purpose of the journeys; the influence of the terrain, rivers, vegetation, and climate; life in the territories at the end of these trails).
5. Describe the continued migration of Mexican settlers into Mexican territories of the West and Southwest.
6. Relate how and when California, Texas, Oregon, and other western lands became part of the United States, including the significance of the Texas War for Independence and the Mexican-American War
The 50 States and Their Capitals (Unit Nine)
Main Objective: You will know the location of the current 50 states and the names of their capitals.
Go to the Capitals page to practice the state capitals.
Here are some online activities that you can use to help you study the 50 states and their capitals:
- United States Map Puzzle - a site that helps with both state locations and state capitals
- State Capitals Quiz
- Capital Catch
- United States of America Map Game
- Puzzled States
While the research paper is primarily a writing project, here are the approved research topics related to the American Revolution and links for online research. This timeline of the Revolution might also be helpful.