Lesson 1: Landmark Maps
- The students will learn that explorers and mountain men made maps.
- The students will understand that the early explorers mapped by landmarks
- The students will produce a landmark map of their own.
Explain that it is important to be able to relate to others what you have accomplished and how you accomplished it so that they can do the same thing or use that knowledge if they choose to. The students should know that the early explorers used mapping skills and that they often mapped using landmarks to show orientation.
- Make sure students have their social studies textbooks. Tell them to open to the page that has a mountain man map on it. The text called, Utah Social Studies, has a map that shows landmarks in it. If there is not a text available, find a map that does show landmarks. Have the students look the map over for a minute or two.
- Ask the students what they notice about the map. Talk about how the mountain men used landmarks to plot maps. Talk about how landmarks are things that are easily seen and could help orient people as to where they are.
- On the whiteboard, make a landmark map from your home to the school. Ask the students to help you think of landmarks along the way. Tell them how they could find their way to school using only landmarks to guide them.
- It is the students turn. Give them the assignment to make a landmark map from their home to school. It can include natural landmarks and man-made landmarks.
- Wander the class. Some students will have a hard time thinking of landmarks. Be there to assist them in thinking of things like rivers, unique homes, pastures, mountains, buildings, etc.
- When the majority of the students are finished, ask them to share them with the class. Invite whoever would like to share to stand and say what their landmarks were and any special reasons they chose any particular landmarks.
- Announce that some of the maps will be displayed on the bulletin board. Ask them to put final touches on it and have it turned in by the end of class.
The attainment of the students meeting the objectives will be assessed by whether or not the landmark maps show landmarks in between the students homes and the school.
- Social Studies Text Books (or real map showing landmarks)
- Crayons, Markers, Pencils, Pens, etc.
Lesson 2: Where Did They Come From/Go?
- The students will be able to recall where the mountain men started their journey.
- The students will know how to identify on a map where some of the major places were for the early explorers and mountain men.
- On a map of the United States the children will be able to spot where nine of these places are.
Express the importance of being able to identify, on a map, where the mountain men went. It is also important to recognize some major discoveries. For example, the students should know the stories of how places like the Great Salt Lake and the Yellowstone area were discovered.
- Tell the students that today we will be talking about places that mountain men went to, discovered, and lived in. Ask the students to guess some of the places that mountain men and explorers discovered.
- Let the students know that by the end of the class they will be able to find these places on a map.
- Write the names of the places they will learn about on the whiteboard and have the students practice writing them.
- Identify each place by putting stars on the locations on the map.
- Choose students to read clues and have others guess which star it might be describing. They should be able to guess by seeing the locations starred on the map and the names of the places written on the board.
- When they are all guessed review where places were and why they were important to mountain men. The clues shared those reasons. The places I included are: St. Louis, Missouri, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Yellowstone, Fort Vancouver, Oregon, The Great Salt Lake, Fort Hall, Idaho, Bear Lake, Utah/Idaho, San Diego, California, and San Francisco, California.
- Announce that there will be a game later in the day that they will need to know this information to be able to play.
- Allow them to practice pointing out places on the map during breaks and when theyve finished their class work. Give each student a list of the names and the clues so they can be reviewing.
- Put the map up on the white board. Make sure all of the students can reach every star on the map.
- Play a game where the class lines up in two lines and they see who can find the place according to the clue the fastest. The students will line up so that two (one from each team) are at the head of the line. As soon as the teacher reads the clue the two will run to the map and the first one to touch the corresponding star gets a point for their team. Make sure each person gets at least two tries.
- Announce that there will be a quiz on identifying these places on a map. Let them take home the paper they were given to study.
The game is the first part of the assessment. We will know how well they know how to identify these places on the map by how fast they find them in this game. They will also be given a quiz on them the next day. The quiz will have the clues and the map to help them remember these places.
- Map of the United States
- Papers with clues on them
- Whiteboard and markers
- Pens or pencils
Lesson 3: About Beaver
- The students will learn that the beavers were valued as an industry by mountain men.
- The students will learn where beavers lived
- The students will see how a beaver makes his home.
- The students will understand how a beaver was trapped.
- The students will learn the size of the beaver
The students need to understand that the major reason that most mountain men came to the West was to trap beaver. This is a social studies/science understanding lesson. They need to know about beaver to appreciate the whole story of the mountain men.
Instruction:Orientation/Anticipatory SetExplain to the students that we are going to be watching a slide show about beaver. Explain that they will show how beavers were trapped and skinned. If this bothers any of the students they are allowed to leave for as long as the slide show is going. Emphasize that this is going to show how things were done in the past and that beavers are protected now.
Lesson DevelopmentShow the slide show, "Beaver," provided by the Natural Resources Library at Utah State University. It will be about twenty minutes long.
- When it is over, review key information about beavers, their lifestyle, habitat, and how mountain men trapped them and used their pelts. Review that the reason they stopped trapping beavers was because of the discovery and use of silk.
- Show the students a piece of a beaver pelt borrowed from the Natural Resources Library at Utah State University. Let the students feel the fur.
- Play a "Memory"-type game where the students have to match words that have to do with the slide show.
The students will be asked to share three things they learned today, that they did not know before, on a piece of paper.
- Slide show from U.S.U.
- Cut up paper to cover words on whiteboard (for memory game)
Lesson 4: Mountain Man Clothing
- The students will know what the mountain men wore.
- The students will know what mountain mens clothes looked like
- The students will be able to describe special features and purposes of mountain man clothing.
Much of surviving the wilderness depended on what kind of clothes the mountain men wore. The children should be able to identify purposes of different types of clothing and how the clothing was worn.
Instruction:Orientation/Anticipatory SetTell students that we will be talking about a special kind of tool that the mountain men used to survive in the wilderness. Have an article of clothing in a bag or a box and let a few students touch and feel the clothing. Ask them to guess what the article is.
- After a few guesses, take the article out and talk about it. Tell its purposes and why it was important to mountain men. Following, are some of the articles and the reasons they are important.
-Mainly made of deer and antelope hide, buffalo in the winter and goat and sheep for special occasions.
-Reached down between the waist and knee with a sash around the waist to carry knives, hawks, small pouches, and pistols.
-Older shirts werent sewn, but held together with ties or laces on the side. -They were decorated according to the Native American tribe that was nearby. Most had fringe on them. Fringe served as water drainage during rainstorms and could be pulled off to mend clothing.
Breeches (leg coverings)
-Mainly made of deer and antelope hide, but sometimes wool cloth from sheep and mountain goats. Buttons were made of antler, brass, or pewter.
-It covered from the thigh of each leg to the ankle.
-Many times they were decorated with hair locks and painted designs. They were held up by string from the top of the legging to the belt.
-Many wore hide breeches that were cut off below the knee and then had wool sewn on to form the lower portion of the leg. When the trapper waded through the water to set beaver traps, the wool did not shrink up as the hide sometimes did.
-Buffalo hides were wrapped around the calves of the legs in the winter as a protection from the snow and frostbite.
-They allowed the trappers to move along without noise, which was important when hiding from animals.
-They were made of one piece of soft leather folded and sewn up the side.
-They were decorated with beads, tin cones and fringes.
-Animal tails were sometimes sewed to the bottom of the shoe to prevent tracks.
Hats and Caps
-They were worn for warmth in the winter, and protection from sun, rain, and hail in the summer.
-The most popular was the wide brimmed, low crowned type.
-Usually made of felt or beaver.
-Decorated with beadwork, quillwork, skins and feathers. Some also put the skulls of dead animals on their cap.
-Made for decoration and warmth
-Made of soft buckskin and beads
- Follow the procedure of sharing each one, showing the article while explaining the features and importance of the articles.
ConclusionPlay a questioning game where you ask the students questions about the mountain mans clothing and they answer in groups.
The students will discuss answers to the games questions and will come up with answers and reasons for their answers. Students knowledge of the material can be assessed by their input to the discussion.
- Articles of clothing borrowed from a mountain man enthusiast (I borrowed mine from Steve Murdock, who is on the board of trustees for the American West Heritage Center.)
- A box or bag.
Lesson 5: Who Will Go?
- The students will learn reasons that people decided to go be trappers.
- The students will learn what reasons people had for not going.
- Each student will learn facts about a specific person of the time and decide whether or not that person should go.
It is important to realize that the trappers had family and they had individual circumstances and personalities. They all had to decide whether they should go or not. This lesson will give each child the opportunity to get to know one real person of the time in a small way.
- Explain to the students that it is important to remember that these mountain men were all different. They were in a group called mountain men like we are in a group of learners. We are a group, yet we are all different.
- Tell them that they will each get a card that describes an actual person from the time of mountain men. They will need to decide if they would go if they were that person.
- Give each student a card and have them think about whether that person should go West with a trapping company.
- Put up signs that invite the students to a meeting with General Ashley who will lead a company of trappers.
- After the students have had time (I would give them overnight to think about it), ask them to gather round you and give a speech about the expectations of trappers and the hardships of living in the wilderness.
- Invite them to sign a paper that you have prepared. Everyone should sign. There should be a space for those who dont think their person should go to sign. Give them an opportunity to say why they are choosing to go or not go before they sign.
ConclusionAfter everyone has signed the paper, assign them to write a paragraph saying why they chose to go or not to go.
It will be known whether or not the students understand the issues by what the students write as their reasoning for going or not going.
- Early Explorers and Mountain Men (a unit plan book with the cards that describe actual people and contains the advertisement for the meeting with General Ashley. This book may be found in the Natural Resources Library at Utah State University.)
- Paper (two large pieces to make the sign, one large one to make a sign-up sheet, and a piece of lined paper for each student)
Other Possible Unit Development Activities
- Mountain Man Slang
Provide a list of words that mountain men said that the students might not be familiar with. Explain that the mountain men did not always use the same words we do for things. Explain that they used slang words just as we do today. Role-play with another adult how to use these words in sentences. Assign students into groups and have them create a role-play using words from the list. The children will be in charge of bringing their own costumes and props if they would like. They will need to have an understanding of what the words mean to do this activity. Materials: Each student will need a list of slang words. Time needed: Break up an hours worth of time in a couple of days, then 30 minutes for the groups to present.
- Adventure Stories
The students are to write an adventure story about a mountain man that they have found interesting to them. These stories are to be illustrated and later shared. Materials: crayons, pens, computers, paper, etc. Time needed: A couple days of writing for 30-40 minutes.
- Who Named Me?
It will help students remember which cities were named after which explorers and mountain men. The students will be given a map of Utah with dots to represent certain cities. The children are to fill in the name of the city next to each dot. They will also be expected to list the name of the explorer or mountain man whom the city was named for. There should be a list of all explorers to be used on the map on the board. Materials: Utah map with designated cities, a list of explorers. Time: 30 minutes
Back to Table of Contents