Lesson Plan

On Hallowed Ground

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
Subject:
Colonial History, Education, Geography, Military and Wartime History, Reading, Regional Studies, Revolutionary War, Social Studies, Writing
Duration:
60+ minutes
Group Size:
Up to 60
Setting:
in the park
National/State Standards:
NYS Content:
Gr. 4: Rev War in NYS
Gr. 5: US Hist
Gr. 7: Un.2, Sect.3, Obj.4
NYSED Standards:
1,2,3,5
US Standards:
Gr. 4: 1 A,B; 2 A,B; 3 A-E; 4 B,C,E; 6 A; 8 B,C
Gr. 5,7,8: Era 2 St. 1 A,B; 2 A,C; 3 B,C; Era 3 St. 1 A,C; 2 A,C
Keywords:
Battle of Saratoga, Battles of Saratoga, Saratoga Battlefield, Revolutionary War, American Revolution, military history, history, social studies, geography

Overview

Textbooks, maps, pictures, movies, and websites can all be useful tools for understanding history.  Getting a “sense of place,” a feeling of connectedness with a location and the events that occurred there, can best (only?) be had by personally experiencing the place.  This activity accompanies a battlefield tour during the course of a visit to Saratoga National Historical Park.

Objective(s)

 Students will be able to:

  1. describe the roles geography played in the Battles of Saratoga
  2. describe how both American and British forces made use of geography in the battles
  3. develop an appreciation for the area where the battles occurred


Background

While Saratoga National Historical Park is unable to send rangers out with school groups to conduct guided tours, ready-to-use materials like this, plus our official park map and brochure, greatly contribute to a meaningful educational experience for students and teachers alike.

Reading through the worksheet with your students will help introduce and guide them through the activity.



Materials

Downloadable PDF lesson materials:




Procedure

Why go on field trips like this?  Even the best in-class resources--books, websites, posters, etc.--cannot convey the "sense of place" one gets from standing on the very ground where important events took place.  This feeling of connection and appreciation is unique.
Due to time constraints, most schools can only visit 5 of the 10 wayside interpretive stops along the tour road.  For these, we recommend a streamlined tour that highlights the more critical stops; the tour worksheet uses these stops.

Read through the activity in advance.  At each stop, reading aloud the introductory text for the tour stop will help put that site in context for your students. Then, have them complete the questions for that site.

Whenever possible, a few minutes should be allowed for students to physically explore the tour stop; a sense of connection with and appreciation for the historic site is a crucial part of the battlefield tour experience. 

Assessment

 Downloadable PDF answer key available .



Park Connections

 Connections?  This IS Saratoga Battlefield, the place where the "turning point of the American Revolution" occurred!



Extensions

Have students create their own maps or models of the battlefield, use Google Maps to make and label a map, create their own written battlefield tour, conduct interviews of fellow students to ask about their experiences, perhaps even create a video presentation to share with next year's visiting students.

Vocabulary

FORTIFICATIONS --constructed defensive positions; here, they were built with logs and piled earth
ARTILLERY --cannon, singular or plural
RIDGE --long, raised geographic feature, often overlooking a lower area
REDOUBT (re-DOWT or RE-dowt) --temporary field fortification built of a zig-zagging log wall (design gives defenders overlapping lines of fire), either vertical or horizontal logs, with 2-4 feet of dirt piled up against the wall in front of artillery positions, and with cut branches piled up 5-10 yards in front of the line as another barrier to attacking troops