Seminole Wars Lesson Plan: Exploring a Primary Source

Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 4-12, students explore the causes and effects of the Seminole Wars. They will also read and analyze a primary source that President Andrew Jackson wrote to the Seminole.

Students will:

  1. Understand the causes and effects of the Seminole Wars.
  2. Analyze a letter President Andrew Jackson wrote to the Seminole in 1835.
  3. Compose an original letter to the Seminole, written from students' perspective if they had been in President Jackson's place.

Materials:

  • Computers with internet access for BrainPOP
  • Class set of photocopies for the Primary Source activity (or individual computer access for students to type their responses directly into the form online)

Preparation:

Prior to implementing this lesson, we recommend previewing the Seminole Wars Movie as well as the Primary Source activity to plan any adaptations for your students.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Activate prior knowledge by projecting the KWL chart on your interactive whiteboard. Ask students to share information they already know about the topic, either informally with a partner, or in in a whole class discussion in which a student volunteer record the class' ideas by typing directly into the form.
  2. Use the information students already know about the Seminole Wars to help formulate questions they'd like to see answered or ideas they've always wondered about. You may want to record this info in the second column of the chart.
  3. Play the Seminole Wars Movie. You may wish to turn on closed captioning to aid in student comprehension.
  4. Have students revisit and revise the information they previously discussed/recorded during the KWL exercise. Were any of their previous understandings actually incorrect? What new information did they learn? Provide time to record this information if desired. You may want to play the movie through a second time.
  5. Allow students to choose a method for extending their learning, either by completing the Activity, taking the quiz, or another option of your or their choice.
  6. Review the definition of primary source with students. Have them work in pairs to complete the Primary Source activity in which they analyze a letter President Andrew Jackson wrote to the Seminole in 1835.
  7. As a practice, assessment, or homework activity, have students write their own letter to the Seminole--what would they say if they were President Jackson?