Lesson Plan

Historical Characters

Taylor leading at the Battle of Palo Alto
Taylor leading at the Battle of Palo Alto
Library of Congress

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
Subject:
History, Mexican War, Military and Wartime History, Social Studies
Duration:
This lesson will take 30-45 minutes to complete.
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
Gr K-4 National Standards-Social Studies: U.S. History 2, 3
Gr 5-12 National Standards-Social Studies: World History Eras 4 & 7
Gr K-12 National Standards-Language Arts: 1, 3, 4, 12
Keywords:
Zachary Taylor, biographies, U.S. Army, Mexican Army, Women's History, strategy and tactics

Overview

Students will discover how the characteristics of key participants in the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and the Siege of Fort Brown influenced the outcome of these clashes.  This includes Generals Mariano Arista, Zachary Taylor, Romulo Díaz de la Vega, Pedro Ampudia, Anastascio Torrejón, Majors Jacob Brown and Samuel Ringgold, Captain Charles May and Sarah Bowman. Students then compare their own characteristics to these personalities.

Objective(s)

In this lesson students will learn about nine key participants in the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and the Siege of Fort Brown. They will discover how the personalities of these key leaders helped them during these clashes and influenced their outcome. Students them compare their own personality traits to discover how they are like or different from these leaders.

Background

"Historical Characters" can be modified for Elementary and Middle School students. Students can work individual or in groups. Each individual or group can review one or all nine people.

 

Before starting, review and print out all the PDF templates in the Materials section.


Background information for each leader is on the PDF Biography Cards in the Materials section.



Materials

Everyone is a Character

Students use this worksheet to describe their own characteristics.


Procedure

  1. Define/have students look up the definition of characteristic. Merriam Webster define characteristic as "a special quality of appearance that makes an individual or group different from others."
  2. Hand out the student worksheet Everyone is a Character in the Materials section.
  3. Have students complete the worksheet and share their answers.
  4. Tell students they will learn about nine important people from the U.S.-Mexican War. These people were in the Battle of Palo Alto, the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, and/or the Siege of Fort Brown.
  5. Hand out the Biography Cards to each student or group of students. (Option: Have each student/group review one or all nine people.)
  6. After students have read the biographies, pass out the student worksheet Who am I Like?
  7. Have students complete the worksheet and share their answers.

Assessment

Assess student performance in two key areas:
  • Participation in group discussion
  • Worksheets
Above Proficient
Group discussion: Offers information which directly relates and builds on the topic.
Worksheets: Thoughtful answers. Effective and accurate use of writing conventions.

Proficient
Group discussion: Offers information which directly relates to the topic.
Worksheets: Completed. Effective and accurate use of writing conventions.

Below Proficient
Group discussion: Offers very little information of which some relates to the topic.
Worksheets: Incomplete. Writing conventions are not always followed.


Extensions

1. Have a class discussion about how the a person's character help or hinder them in a battle or stressful situation.
2. Create an Army recruitment poster featuring the qualities a soldier needs.
3. Have students choose one of the key leaders they admire and write a short essay about how they have or can develop the qualities of that person.  


Vocabulary

Skirmish, Tribunal, Strategy, Ambition, Tactics, Nomination, Lancer, Ruthless, Nomination, Bombard, Humble, Artillery, Drill, Cannoneers, Dragoon, Honor, Vow, Integrity, Oath, Daring, Reckless, Magazine, Sunbonnet, Besiege, Persevere