Lesson Plan

The Price of Western Expansion

U.S. expansion through the years.
U.S. expansion through the years.
National Atlas of the United States, March 5, 2003, http://nationalatlas.gov

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Grade Level:
Sixth 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 7 Common Core Math Content 7.EE.A.1
Gr 7 Common Core Math Content 7.EE.B.4b
Keywords:
geography, maps, treaty, Economics, U.S., mexico

Overview

Students calculate the cost per square mile of the land purchased by the United States from Mexico after the U.S.-Mexican War. They compare that to the price of the Louisiana purchase and the purchase of Alaska. They then calculate the price paid in 1848 to what the price would have been today.

Objective(s)

Students will calculate the cost per square mile of the land purchased by the United States from Mexico after the U.S.-Mexican War. They will compare that to the price of the Louisiana purchase and the purchase of Alaska. They then calculate the price paid in 1848 and compare that to what it would cost in modern times.

Background

Students can work individually, in groups, or as a class.

Before starting, review and print out the PDF files in the Materials section. Make sure there are enough dictionaries for students to use. Gather the real estate section(s) of the newspaper and make sure there are enough for the students to use.


Materials

Materials for this lesson plan include:
  1. The Price of Western Expansion Student Worksheet
  2. The Price of Western Expansion Answer Sheet


Procedure

  • Tell students they will learn about the land purchased by the U.S. after the U.S.-Mexican War.
  • Define real estate (property in building and land) or have the students look up the definition.
  • Ask students why real estate is valuable and what makes it valuable. List responses on the board.
  • Hand the student worksheet The Price of Western Expansion.
  • Allow students to review the worksheet.
  • Review the "Historic" column as a class and discuss:
    • How will you calculate the historic price per square mile (Division)
    • How will you set up the equation (divide price by the amount of land)
  • Tell students to complete the "Historic column."
  • Review the "Modern" column as a class and discuss:
    • How will you calculate the modern price per square mile (Multiplication)
    • How will you set-up the equation (multiply the historic price by the amount a dollar was worth from that time to the worth of a dollar today)
  • Ask students which land deal was the best
  • Divide students into groups of three-four students/group.
  • Hand out the real estate section of the newspaper to each group. (Optional: Allow students to look up sales of real estate on the Internet.)
  • Tell students to compare current property prices to those paid for the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.
  • Have students share and explain their answers with the rest of the class.
  • Ask students if the land was based on these real estate prices, how much should the United States paid for land purchased after the U.S.-Mexican War.
  • 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 math conventions.

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

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


    Extensions

    Create a real estate ad for the land purchased by the U.S. from Mexico after the U.S.-Mexican War.

    Additional Resources

    Background information  of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo can be found at ourdocuments.gov.

    The National Archives has a lesson plan about the treaty on their Teaching with Historic Documents page.


    Vocabulary

    Real Estate