(Prehistory–Ca. 1650) Europe's exploration of America had a profound impact on the world. For thousands of years, complex and sophisticated American Indian civilizations had flourished in the Americas, separated from other parts of the world by vast bodies of water. After Columbus’ arrival, the lands of the Western Hemisphere were forever connected to the rest of the world. The international slave trade forced millions of Africans to the Americas, bringing these "three worlds" together in unprecedented ways. Patterns of trade, exploration, conquest, and settlement have ramifications that continue to the present day.
Historical Guiding Questions to Consider:
*How do historians and archeologists construct interpretations from artifacts, oral histories, legends, primary sources, and other evidence?
*What were the motives that led to European exploration?
*What were the effects of European exploration, especially on the indigenous populations encountered?
*How has physical geography affected cultures historically?
*How does it affect cultures today?
*How is your own cultural history woven into the history of America?
U.S. I Standard 1.1: Students will analyze evidence, including artifacts and other primary sources to make evidence-based inferences about life among several American Indian nations prior to European exploration of the Americas.
U.S. I Standard 1.2: Students will compare and evaluate historians’ interpretations of the motivations and conditions that led to European exploration.
U.S. I Standard 1.3: Students will draw from multiple perspectives and cite evidence to explain the effects of European exploration, specifically on Africa, the Caribbean, and North and South America.
U.S. I Standard 1.4: Students will identify how the period of exploration has affected the current human geography of the Americas, and in particular the role their own cultural background has played.
Students should develop skills associated with the disciplines of history, geography, political science, and economics, most notably the ability to construct arguments using the evidence, texts, and tools valued within each discipline. Of particular importance in a United States history course is developing the reading, thinking, and writing skills of historians. These skills include the ability to think critically about evidence, use diverse forms of evidence to construct interpretations, and defend these interpretations through argumentative historical writing. Students will corroborate their sources of evidence and place their interpretations within historical contexts. Among other elements of historical thinking, students should have opportunities to consider the concept of historical significance. Out of all the events that have happened in the past, historians must determine those that are significant enough for study. Led by their teachers, students should have opportunities to consider and discuss the relative significance of diverse events. These skills are embedded within the standards in places that seem particularly appropriate. However, local educational agencies and/or teachers may use their discretion to integrate skill instruction in a manner that meets local needs.
To this end, we will do a States and Capitals Map test in our first unit. This provides students with a foundational geographic understanding of the United States as we begin our study of US History.
HISTORICAL THINKING SKILLS
As a history department, we place a great deal of emphasis on teaching the historical thinking skills of SOURCING, CORROBORATION & CONTEXTUALIZATION. Below you will find some assignments we will do when we meet in class. You will also be able to access some handouts that outline what these skills are and you will be invited weekly to go and reference these handouts as we teach and reenforce these historical thinking skills.
By September 10, 2019, students will have taken the States & Capitals test on CANVAS. The States and Capitals test is a MASTERY-BASED assessment. What this means is that every student must demonstrate a mastery score of 75% or higher. If, on the first attempt, 75% has not been demonstrated, students may retake the test as many times as necessary to demonstrate 75% mastery. Any score above a 75% after the first attempt will be entered into Skyward as 75%. Extra credit opportunities will be announced in class to bridge the gap, if students so desire, to elevate their grade. Students: YOU GOT THIS! Use the resources below to help you prepare. I know you can knock this one outta the park! This test is worth 100 points that will go into Skyward.
This assignment corresponds with the 1.4 standard above. Hard copies of the assignment and almanac are available for pick-up in the classroom. This assignment needs to be submitted on September 10 and no later than September 13. I do not encourage you to print off the almanac because of how much paper is used in the process. I do make copies of it available to students in the classroom if you'd like one. I have provided a rubric for this assignment so students know and understand how this assignment will be graded. Any time a rubric is provided, students are expected to take an extreme ownership approach to them and grade their own rubric first. I want students taking ownership and accountability for their grade. It does not matter what color students use to grade the rubrics I provide. What does matter is that the student name is on the rubric, they have graded it prior to submitting and that the rubric is attached with the assignment. This assignment is worth 100 points in Skyward.
This portion of the unit helps us develop historical skills of sourcing, corroboration and contextualization. Moreover, it links to standard 1.4 above. It also helps us answer some of the guiding questions outlined above. Let us first look at and define the word THEORY. A theory is briefly defined as followed: A system of ideas intended to explain something. A guess or a speculation can also be appropriate synonyms for a theory. When the first Europeans arrived in the Americas, they were surprised to see people already living here. As more and more Europeans arrived over a few centuries, it was surprising to learn just how many advanced civilizations had already been living in the Americas for thousands of years. Historians have studied this for centuries to help explain HOW people were already living here and how they established advanced, complex civilizations. Below you have access to four short videos that present theories that offer an explanation for these first peoples. As you watch them, consider what other possibilities or theories might exist to explain how people first arrived in the Americas. If Europeans were not the first (which we know they were not), then HOW did people first arrive in the Americas???
This portion of the unit corresponds with standard 1.1 above and will help us understand the indigenous people of America as well as understand their cultures. We must have a simple understanding of that word CULTURE. Here it is: The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. In other words, it's the "way of life" of a group of people or "how we do things around here" system. Consider what the culture is of Saratoga Springs? What about Utah County? How about the state of Utah? What about the USA? What if another group of people from another planet came to visit our planet and made some observations about our culture...what would they see? How might they define our culture?? As we look at Native American culture groups, it is important to understand that there is overlap with the various cultures due to a variety of factors (where they live, for example, will create similarities across different cultural groups) and there are also very distinct beliefs or customs across these different Native American culture groups.
These lessons also relate to standard 1.1 above. It also ties directly into 1.2 and 1.4. These ancient civilizations were highly developed civilizations in the Americas who would later have direct contact with European explorers. As we look at the word civilization, it is important that we understand that definition. Being civilized is defined as having a well-developed way of life and social systems. The definition of what qualifies a group of people as being civilized has evolved over the last 100 years. It is generally accepted that a civilization is made up of the following characteristics: 1 - A Stable Food Supply; 2 - System of Government; 3 - Highly Developed Culture; 4 - A Written Language; 5 - A Social Structure; 6 - Religious System; 7 - Technological Advancements. The Aztec, Maya & Inca are three ancient civilizations in the Americas that this section explores. It is important to understand their way of life, culture, beliefs and resources so that we can more fully understand the motivations for European exploration and the effects of European exploration on these native peoples and other cultures they will impact.