Lesson Plan

The French and Indian War 1754-1763: Primary Documents and Artifacts - Unit 8

An image of Charlotte Browne's journal
Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
4.RI.1, 4.RI.3, 4.RI.7, 5.RI.1, 5.RI.3, 5.RI.7, 4.W.4, 4.W.9.b, 5.W.4, 5.W.9.b
Additional Standards:
National History Standards: K-4 Topic 2: 3B, 3D, 3E; K-4 Topic 3: 5A; US Era 2: 1B
Thinking Skills:
Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations.

Essential Question

Guiding Question:  What can primary documents tell us about the French and Indian War?  What can original artifacts tell us about the war?  How did these documents and artifacts affect people?


Student Objectives:  Students will…
• List one primary document or artifact associated with the French and Indian War
• List one way it was used or one affect it had on a person


This is Unit 8 from the teacher’s guide “The French and Indian War 1754-1763.” It includes one lesson plan:

  • “Working with Primary Documents and Artifacts” where students read about one of 14 primary documents or artifacts associated with the French and Indian War, and then analyze the document or artifact.

Critical Content: Many primary documents and artifacts from the French and Indian War had a dramatic effect on the people involved and the course of history. Others are more ordinary. Examining the documents and artifacts can tell us about the people who used them and the influence they had.

See the “Related Lessons and Educational Materials” section for links to the other units in the teacher’s guide.


The teacher should download the lesson plan, download the student read with information on the 14 primary documents and artifacts, and make copies of the activity worksheet.


The downloaded lesson plan includes an introduction (p 153), a chart of what biography card the document/artifact is associated with (p 154), teacher instructions (p 155), and the activity worksheet (p 156).

Download Lesson Plan – Investigating Primary Documents and Artifacts

This is a download of the selected biography cards that show the primary documents or artifacts. The biography card may be helpful in telling about events or people surrounding the document or artifact.

Download Select Biography Cards with the Primary Documents and Artifacts

This student reading covers 14 documents and artifacts. It gives additional information about the situation surrounding the document or artifact and will help the student complete the activity worksheet.

Download Student Reading on French and Indian War Documents and Artifacts

Lesson Hook/Preview

Documents and artifacts really help us understand the past and the people who used them. Do you think it would be interesting to see the document George Washington signed when he surrendered at Fort Necessity? Could you learn from it? Write about something that is yours that tells something about you.  


The Investigating Primary Documents & Artifacts lesson plan

1. Download the pdf of the lesson plan which includes the teacher instructions and the activity worksheets.

2. Download the student reading about the 14 primary documents and artifacts.

3. Use the chart on page 154 to match the document/artifact to a biography card.

4. Put students into groups. Give each group a one of the 14 primary documents/artifacts (from the student reading), the associated biography cards and the activity worksheet.

5. Using the activity worksheet, have the students review the questions as they examine their primary document or artifact.

6. Ask the students what they learned about their document or artifact. Ask them what they learned about the people who used or made the artifact/document.  


Primary Document: a written or drawn document that was created at the time being studied.

Artifact: an item made by humans of cultural or historical interest.

Assessment Materials

Assessment Unit 8: Investigating Primary Documents and Artifacts

The assessment includes a completed Activity Worksheet for each of the 14 documents or artifacts. It also includes a rubric for Peer Assessment Collaboration.

Download the assessment document for the answer key.

Assessment The French and Indian War 1754-1763 - Unit 8: Primary Documents and Artifacts

Download Assessment

Supports for Struggling Learners

The struggling learners can have important facts highlighted on the student reading. They can complete one or two questions on the Activity Worksheet, instead of completing all of the answers.

Additional Resources

Fort Necessity National Battlefield web site 

A Charming Field for an Encounter the park's handbook 

Becoming George Washington a curriculum about George Washington in the French and Indian War

Related Lessons or Education Materials

“The French and Indian War 1754-1763” Teacher’s Education Kit is broken into eight units and a Teacher Background section. Units 1 - 6 chronologically follow the war from start to finish, including how the war set the stage for the American Revolution.  

Links to the other units:

Unit 1: Who Were the People Involved?

Unit 2: What Were They Fighting For?

Unit 3: How Did the Conflict Begin? (This includes two lessons on George Washington)

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 (there are nine American Indian, nine French, nine British biographies)

Unit 8: Primary Documents and Artifacts


French and Indian War Historic Sites in Western Pennsylvania

Contact Information

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Last updated: June 10, 2022