7th Grade: Scarcity and Economic Movement

This is a part of the Healthcare Unit and Assessment Plan.

To download this lesson as a PDF, click here.


Lesson Title: Diseases and the Economy

Grade Level: 7th Grade

Scope and Sequence

  • Extension of Plagues Unit

Big Idea: Scarcity; Economic Movement

Essential Questions

  1. How do diseases impact a community? Village? Country?
  2. How does scarcity impact a community? Village? Country?
  3. What can be done to resolve an issue with the status quo as a result of scarcity?

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6th Grade: International Trade Day

To download this lesson as a PDF, click here.


Lesson Title: International Trade Day

Grade Level: Sixth Grade

Scope and Sequence

  • The final lesson in the unit

Big Idea: Economic Interdependence

Essential Questions

  1. Why is trade important?
  2. How might importing goods benefit a society? How might exporting goods benefit a society?
  3. How does one country’s economy affect another country’s economy?

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7th Grade: The Impact of Myths and Rumors

This lesson is part of the Healthcare Unit and Assessment Plan.

To download this lesson as a PDF, click here (student handouts included).


Lesson Title: The Impact of Myths and Rumors

Grade Level: 7th Grade

Scope and Sequence

  • Middle of the Unit; day 6 or 7
  • Explore and Explain

Big Idea: Myths and Rumors

Essential Questions

  1. How do diseases impact a community? Village? Country?
  2. What kind of impact do rumors and myths have on a community, village, or country affected by an infectious disease?
  3. How can myths and rumors be proven false to an entire community? Can the effects of rumors and diseases be resolved?

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5th Grade: Introducing Colonial Life

This lesson is the first in the Barriers and Diversity Unit and the Barriers and Diversity Assessment Plan.

To download this lesson as a PDF, click here (Student handouts included).


Lesson Title: Introducing Colonial Life

Grade Level: 5th Grade

Scope and Sequence

  • 1st Lesson in Unit: Barriers and Diversity
  • Engage and Explore

Big Idea: Barriers and Diversity

Essential Questions

  1. How does where a person lives impact the way they live and interact with others?
  2. How is an individual impacted by his or her family history?

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Online Social Studies Lesson Plan Critiques

Lesson #1: Create Your Own Native American Board Game

Subject Area: US History

Link: http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/free-lesson-plans/create-your-own-native-american-board-game.cfm#obj

Grade Level: 4-5


  • 3-4; K-4 history: Understands the people, events, problems, and ideas that were significant in creating the history of their state
    • Understands the interactions that occurred between the Native Americans or Hawaiians and the first European, African, and Asian-Pacific explorers and settlers in the state or region.
  • 3-4; K-4 history: Understands the history of a local community and how communities in North America varied long ago.
    • Knows geographical settings, economic activities, food, clothing, homes, crafts, and rituals of Native American societies long ago (e.g., Iroquois, Sioux, Hopi, Nez Perce, Inuit, Cherokee).
  • 5-6; US history: Understands economic social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States
    • Understands contemporary issues concerning gender and ethnicity (e.g., the range of women’s organizations, the changing goals of the women’s movement, and the issues currently dividing women; issues involving justice and common welfare; how interest groups attempted to achieve their goals of equality and justice; how African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans have shaped American life and retained their cultural heritage).
  • 3-4; Geography: Understands the nature and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics.
    • Understands how different people living in the same region maintain different ways of life (e.g., the cultural differences between Native Americans and Europeans living along the eastern seaboard in the 17th century; differences among Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims living in India today).


  1. Students will discuss how games reflect a culture’s beliefs, priorities, and aspects of everyday life
  2. Students will learn about a few games and toys of Native American children
  3. Students will analyze basic elements of a selected Native American tribe in order to apply them to the creation of an original board game that can be played by today’s children.


This lesson plan takes a unique approach to studying Native American culture, focusing on the reflection of childhood games on a people’s culture, “beliefs, priorities, and aspects of everyday life.” While this lesson could use a touch of authenticity, it does a good job allowing for student discussion, a key component to analytical collaboration. The lesson also connects history with the present, allowing students to begin to see what it might have been like to be a Native American child. This lesson includes adaptations for younger grades and extensions, allowing students to think deeper.

Areas of Improvement:

  • The objectives could be written to be measurable and observable and the lesson should be clearly tied to the objectives. This lesson seems to view the objectives as mere learning outcomes rather than an active component to the lesson.
  • Inclusion and/or link of essential questions and standards.
  • Concluding Activities: First, it would help if the lesson actually included concluding activities. They should be relevant and tied to the objective; provide a clear opportunity to conduct a final check for understanding; and students should be active participants.


Lesson #1
Curriculum and Standards 2 Standards are listed at the end, but there is no real connection within in the lesson.
Objectives 3 Objectives are not measurable and observable.
Introductory Activities 2 In our age of technology, Monopoly may be a foreign concept to younger students.
Learning Activities 2 There seems to be little scaffolding within the activities. The teacher primarily conducts input.
Student Centered 3 Author provides opportunities for extension, but the lesson would be better suited if the extension activities were a part of the actual lesson rather than an extension.
Concluding Activities 1 Lesson ends with students playing their fellow peers’ board games. No final opportunity to check for understanding is provided.
Assessment 2 No evidence that each student has achieved the lesson objectives
Lesson Materials and Resources 3 Materials are identified and links are provided to student worksheets.
Total 18/32 56%

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Social Studies Lesson Video Critique

Video: Explorers in North America

Explorers in North America explains how Rob Cuddi, a fifth-grade teacher in Winthrop, Massachusetts teaches a social studies lesson about the explorers, the “first people”, and the economic impact of exploration. Mr. Cuddi explains at the beginning that it is his goal to tie everything into the national standards and the essential questions.

Into the first five minutes of the video, I noticed right away that Mr. Cuddi uses the 5E method to teaching, which is why I believe he was so successful with his students in this particular lesson. He incorporated and integrated several literary strategies into his lesson to make this unit on explorers more meaningful for his students.

He engages his students throughout the entire unit. He first off makes newspaper “explorer” hats with his students to get peak their excitement. Then he introduces the essential questions (something his students are already familiar with) and has them react and respond to the questions in their “logs”. Through this process, he is discovering what they know, establishing a foundation, and discovering his students’ preconceptions – these will be his building blocks for the rest of his unit.

From there he leads his students to explore. They come up with more specific questions to fuel their research. Here, students break off into “explorer groups” to research and discover a specific explorer.

After students have “finished” their discovering, Mr. Cuddi brings them back in and begins the explain phase of the 5E approach. He starts with allowing his students to share what they have learned. He then begins to connect this knowledge with vocabulary terms that relate and connect to the essential questions (economics, type of governments, traveling terms, discovery, etc.) all for the purpose of creating deeper meaning. Up to this point, his students have been figuring out the concepts and now he’s providing terms to make sense of the concepts.

After a period of discussion, he begins to elaborate with his students; he makes their learning fruitful. He starts helping his students make connections between past governments and our government today. He has his students present what they’ve learned in the format of an “Explorer Presentation”, which utilizes literary devices and creative thinking.

It’s very clear that Mr. Cuddi has done quite a bit of work to get his students to the point where they can integrate language arts concepts with social studies concepts. The students get 24 hours to work on their group presentations. When it comes time for presentations, they are required to not just simply present what they have learned, but they must be sure their facts are historically accurate, they must present their literary poem, they must write an epitaph to commemorate their explorer, and it must be creative.

Following the presentations, students assess each other based on the rubric posted at the front of class and they discuss the facts presented. It was very interesting to watch each student present questions that showed not only a depth of knowledge, but also an attentiveness to detail. These students could intellectually discuss history facts about these explorers as if it were something taking place in modern day.

The final thing Mr. Cuddi had his students do is respond to the essential questions again. He had them write down, as a group, what they had learned, and then respond to the questions in their logs based on what they had learned. Through all of this, Mr. Cuddi was practicing the final ‘E’ of the 5E approach: Evaluation. Not only was he evaluating, but he was building on his knowledge about his what his students knew so that he could help them attain a deeper level of understanding about the explorers and about learning. In the end, Mr. Cuddi did more than simply teach his students about explorers, he taught them a love for learning and equipped them with the tools to pursue learning for the rest of their lives.

I did not notice any strategies that did not seem to work. Mr. Cuddi’s teaching style was very effective. I’ve seen the 5E approach in Science, I’ve seen it in Language Arts, and it was fascinating to see it again in Social Studies.


(Paper hat picture by Kate Ter Haar from Cedarville, MI, USA (I wear my newspaper hat) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)