The Price of Western Expansion
- Grade Level:
- Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade
- History, Mexican War, Military and Wartime History, Social Studies
- This lesson will take 30-45 minutes to complete.
- Group Size:
- Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
- 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
- geography, maps, treaty, Economics, U.S., mexico
OverviewStudents 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.
BackgroundStudents can work individually, in groups, or as a class.
MaterialsMaterials for this lesson plan include:
- The Price of Western Expansion Student Worksheet
- The Price of Western Expansion Answer Sheet
Students use this worksheet to determine the prices paid for land in the Louisiana Purchase, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, and the Purchase of Alaska. Download
Use this worksheet to grade the student worksheets. Download
- 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
AssessmentAssess student performance in two key areas:
- Participation in group discussion