Are you looking for an engaging American history curriculum that will introduce your elementary students to key people and events of the 1800s? Take a look at A Detective’s Guide to American History, Vol. 3: 1850 to 1870.
Please note: This material is also available in A Detective’s Guide to American History: 1800-1900, a full-year American history curriculum. There is no need to purchase this volume if you already have the full curriculum.
A Detective’s Guide to American History, Vol. 3: 1850 to 1870 includes 7 lessons and 2 optional extension lessons.
Each lesson – or Case File – includes five short sections of text that can be read over the course of one or more days depending on your schedule.
Each section of text is followed by two questions.
• The first tests reading comprehension and is taken directly from the text.
• The second shares more information about the person or event through a decoding puzzle that reviews addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. More information about the math is included below.
• A code wheel and everything students need to decode the puzzle is included.
Each of the first four Case File readings also includes an optional Gathering Evidence assignment that can be used to help students learn more information about the topic and develop research skills using books, Internet sites, the library, or whatever resources you have available.
Each lesson also includes:
• Five vocabulary words and a vocabulary activity, covering a total of 35 vocabulary words through the course
• Room for a Case Sketch, an opportunity for students to draw something related to the lesson and help them visualize and retain what they’ve learned
• Basic map work that allows students to record the location of one or more places from the lesson; bonus in-depth optional map work is also included
• A Solving the Case activity where students copy the facts they learned, practice reducing the information into simple sentences, and retell what happened in the unit to demonstrate comprehension of the material
Each optional lesson – or Dossier – focuses on a specific person, one from each decade covered in the curriculum. These are shorter units that do not include vocabulary practice or bonus map work. A suggested plan for when to do these units so they flow chronologically is provided.
What topics are covered?
The main units cover events leading to the Civil War, the Pony Express, the tensions building before the Civil War, the Civil War, President Lincoln’s assassination and Reconstruction, the Homestead Act, and the Transcontinental Railroad.
The optional units cover Harriet Tubman and Mark Twain.
All lessons, optional lessons, bonus map work, and answer key total 112 pages.
Are additional resources needed?
The only resource needed to do the core assignments is an atlas or similar map resource. Access to books or the Internet is required for the optional activities.
What level of math do the puzzles review?
The codes review addition and subtraction skills as well as basic multiplication (up to two digits by one digit) and simple division (two digits by one digit). A few multiplication or division problems include two digits by two digits, but those problems only use numbers from the 1-12 times tables.