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War and Peace in America


An Examination of North American Conflict and Captivities
Lea Blumenfeld
Fulton Academy of Life Sciences

One purpose of this unit is to examine the extent of warfare involving First Nations peoples in what is presently United States and Canada. The current fifth grade textbook does not disclose how long the wars including the indigenous peoples lasted nor how many there were. Nor does it reveal the extent to which the colonial governments and the United States government engaged in warfare against the first inhabitants of the continent and how First Nations people participated in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, as well as ensuing ones. Those facts will be addressed by this curriculum unit. The text also does not address the topic of captivities by indigenous peoples. Most of us, including children, have been exposed to negative, sensational paintings, stories, and movies of peaceful, White “settlers” being attacked, carried off, and killed by seemingly brutal, mindlessly cruel First Nations people. This unit’s resources will provide the classes a less biased picture of this period in history. Since I am both fifth grade social studies teacher and librarian, and since the library reaches out to all of the content areas, I shall develop an interdisciplinary unit involving social studies, language arts, information skills, mathematics, music, and art. This curriculum unit is intended for primarily fifth grade, but it can easily be adapted for fourth and middle school grades.


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War Drum – Peace Pipe
The Development and Use of the Drum and Flute in America: The Impact of War and Peace upon Music in America

Marylloyd Claytor
Linden Academy

The curriculum unit explores the historical background and development of the use of drums and flutelike instruments in American culture. Students consider why they use instruments in their culture. The background information explores pre-colonials / colonials use of drums and fife and Native American use of drums and flutes in their cultures.

Students assess when and where they hear music in the world around them. They then may inventory what materials around them could be utilized to make instruments. They have opportunity to determine how they would decorate their own flutes. They may explore playing a recorder and drum simultaneously. Students have opportunity to explore sound playing a Native American water drum.


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The Literature of War
By Ellen Connelly
Mifflin School

This curriculum unit is designed for middle school students and is specifically targeted for sixth grade Communications students. This unit will explore the Civil War, the children of the time, and the literature of the period. The purpose of the unit is to help students examine the events of the Civil War by researching its rich history and interesting people. Students will explore specific Civil War literature and influential people associated with the period. Students will be directed to online and print resources that will complete their understanding of the literature and people of the Civil War. Throughout the course of the unit specific district standards will be met in the Communications area.


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Statistics in the Civil War
Maryann B. Duff
Mifflin Elementary School

This unit will focus on statistics, specifically in the Civil War. This unit was designed for sixth grade students however it could be used for students from fifth through eighth grades. This unit was designed so that students could see that mathematics can be found everywhere and that they use mathematics daily. Students will have the opportunity to use research tools that they have learned in communications class to help complete research for this curriculum unit. Students will be reading various books on the Civil War as well as researching it in the library and on the web. Students will complete different activities everything from filling out a KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) chart to writing their own questions for a Jeopardy game. Students will be working in groups and individually throughout this unit. Students will have the opportunity to give oral presentations on their work. This unit was created so that students could expand their knowledge of History and enrich them.


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Pontiac’s Rebellion and the Battle of Bushy Run Seminar: War and Peace in America
Billie J. Gailey
Arsenal Middle School

Students often remember the names of the key events that changed history. The Declaration of Independence, the surrender at Yorktown, the Battle of Gettysburg and the attack on Pearl Harbor are examples of landmarks that are forged in their minds. They are less likely to remember a number of other key events that were also decisive forces on history. Pontiac’s Rebellion was one such milestone. Following the French and Indian War, the North American Indians realized that they had been ill-served by their British allies. In the months following the conflict, it became clear that the real losers were the Native American tribes. Their land was in the process of being seized for the purposes of White North America. Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, led a confederation of tribes that raised a rebellion against British North America. This curriculum unit addresses the events of Pontiac’s Rebellion with background and a varied set of activities designed to involve students in this pivotal event in American history. Since there were more than a dozen key locations in Pontiac’s Rebellion, a serious inquiry into all would be beyond the scope of this package. Therefore Battle of Bushy Run, the turning point in the rebellion, was chosen as an example and given special emphasis.


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Teaching Light in the Forest in its Historical Context
Lynn Marsico
Rogers CAPA Middle School

The novel Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter is an accessible and fascinating short novel for middle school students. It can provide enrichment for any class studying topics such as interactions between the colonists and Native Americans, colonial life in Western PA, cultural traditions of the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indians, or the French and Indian War. This unit is designed specifically to provide teachers of 8th grade scholars in the Pittsburgh Public Schools material to put the novel into an historical context and to give assistance in aligning the classroom activities with current PSSA driven standards. The unit provides historical background information, strategies for using literature circles in the classroom, websites for student research, and suggestions for helping students read the text critically.


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Literature of the Early Americans: Colonial Period up to 1776
Melissa A. Pearlman
Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts

This unit is designed for an 11th grade (honors or academic) American Literature course. The unit may be used as a brief introductory unit to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The unit may also serve as an introduction to Puritanism and the evolution of writings that evolved in this country as early settlers established colonies in the New England territories. Included you will find lessons on a series of readings that establish the understanding that writing was coming out of the early settlers. Even before 1776 with documents like The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution, a good number of writers were writing in the American colonies, and sometimes even about America, out of close knowledge and involvement. The lessons are designed to expose students to writers such as William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, and Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur.


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Military and Civilian Songs of the American Civil War
by Elouise E. White-Beck
Taylor Allderdice High School

Songs are a part of everyday life. Becoming acquainted with the music and lyrics of any given period in history provides a valuable link to the people and their thoughts, dreams, and struggles. This unit is designed for English 3 PSP (11th grade scholars) to fit into the existing curriculum concentrating on American literature and history but could easily be adapted to other age groups studying the American Civil War.


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Chatham University
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Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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