Current Unit and Standards

UNIT 3 - A Pilgrimage to a Better Life?

S.S. Compelling Question: Was westward expansion beneficial for everyone involved?

DBQ:  The California Gold Rush: A Personal Journal   


SS4H3 Explain westward expansion in America.

a. Describe the causes and events of the War of 1812; include the burning of the Capitol and the White House and the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

b. Describe the impact of westward expansion on American Indians; include the Trail of Tears, Battle of Little Bighorn and the forced relocation of American Indians to reservations.

c. Describe territorial expansion with emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the acquisitions of Texas (the Alamo and independence), Oregon (Oregon Trail), and California (Gold Rush and the development of mining towns).

SS4G1 Locate important physical and man-made features in the United States.

a. Locate major physical features of the United States: the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Great Plains, the Continental Divide, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, and the Great Lakes.

SS4E1 Use the basic economic concepts of trade, opportunity cost, specialization, voluntary exchange, productivity, and price incentives to illustrate historical events.

a. Describe opportunity cost and its relationship to decision-making across time (e.g., decisions to settle in the west).

d. Explain how voluntary exchange helps both buyers and sellers (e.g., Gold Rush mining towns).


FOCUS 1: What were the causes and events of the War of 1812?

FOCUS 2: What was the impact of westward expansion on American Indians?

Focus 3: What impact did the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the acquisitions of Texas, Oregon, and California have on territorial expansion?




Unit 3 Science: Ecosystems

How does energy flow through an ecosystem?

How are organisms interdependent on the environment and each other?

How do the characteristics of the nonliving environment help determine which organisms thrive in particular areas?


S4L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the roles of organisms and the flow of energy within an ecosystem.


a. Develop a model to describe the roles of producers, consumers, and decomposers in a community. (Clarification statement: Students are not expected to identify the different types of consumers – herbivores, carnivores, omnivores and scavengers.)


b. Develop simple models to illustrate the flow of energy through a food web/food chain beginning with sunlight and including producers, consumers, and decomposers.


c. Design a scenario to demonstrate the effect of a change on an ecosystem. (Clarification statement: Include living and non-living factors in the scenario.)


d. Use printed and digital data to develop a model illustrating and describing changes to the flow of energy in an ecosystem when plants or animals become scarce, extinct or overabundant.



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