Lesson Plan

The French and Indian War 1754-1763: Unit 2 - What Were They Fighting For?

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The beaver pelt was the most sought after fur

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Sixth Grade
American Indian History and Culture, Colonial History, French and Indian War
1 hour
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
National History Standards: K-4 Topic 2: 3A, 3B, 3D; K-4 Topic 3: 5A; US Era 2: 1B


“What Were They Fighting For?” Unit 2 of the Teacher’s Education Kit “The French and Indian War: 1754-1763” has the students focus on the reasons why American Indians, French, and British all fought over the Ohio River Valley.  It includes one lesson plan and a student reading that explains the participants’ motives.

“The French and Indian War 1754-1763” is broken into eight units and a Teacher Background.


Guiding Question: Why did the American Indians fight? Why did the British want control of the land? Why did the French want control of the land?


Critical Content: To understand why the French and Indian War began students need to understand what each group was fighting for.


Student Objectives: Students Will…

·        List one reason the American Indians who lived in the Ohio River Valley became involved

·        List one reason the French wanted to control the Ohio River Valley

·        List one reason the British wanted to control the Ohio River Valley



This unit includes one lesson plan:

·        "What Were They fighting For?" has the students read about the motives of each of the three groups and do an oral report.

The "French and Indian War 1754-1763" Teacher's Education Kit is targeted for 4th-6th grade students. It is broken into eight units and a Teacher Background section. Each unit can be completed independently. Units 1 – 6 chronologically follow the war from start to finish, including how the war set the stage for the American Revolution. There are two lessons that feature George Washington. Each unit has one or more lesson plans. Unit 7 has 27 biography cards of people involved in the French and Indian War. There are nine American Indian biographies, nine French biographies and nine British biographies. Unit 8 provides information on primary documents and artifacts that are featured on the biography cards. Also included is a color map and information on French and Indian War historical sites in western Pennsylvania.


Check out the Teacher Background and other units:


Teacher Background 

Unit 1: Who Were the People Involved? 

Unit 2: What Were they fighting For?

Unit 3: How Did the Conflict Begin? 

Unit 4: How did the War Progress? 

Unit 5: How Did the Conflict End? What Were the Consequences? 

Unit 6: How Did the French and Indian War Set the Stage for the American Revolution? 

Unit 7: Biography Cards 

Unit 8: Primary Documents and Artifacts 


This curriculum is available to teachers free of charge in as a printed three ring binder or on CD. Please email us if you are interested in receiving the curriculum in one of these formats.


After downloading the lesson plan (using the button next to the title) use these materials to help teach the unit.


Park Connections

Fort Necessity was the opening battle of the French and Indian War. It is where three cultures (the British, the French, and the American Indians) came into conflict over land and trade. This unit explains the motives of each of the participants.


Additional Resources

Historic Sites Information


Acknowledgments and Introduction


Ohio River Valley, neutral, allies