Lesson Plan

The French and Indian War 1754-1763: How Did the Conflict Begin? - Unit 3

The original surrender document from the Battle of Fort Necessity with George Washingtion's signature
Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.1, 6-8.RH.2, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.6, 6-8.RH.7, 4.RI.1, 4.RI.2, 4.RI.3, 4.RI.4, 4.RI.6, 4.RI.7, 4.RI.9, 4.RI.10, 5.RI.1, 5.RI.2, 5.RI.3, 5.RI.4, 5.RI.6, 5.RI.9, 5.RI.10, 6.RI.1, 6.RI.2, 6.RI.3, 6.RI.4, 6.RI.5, 6.RI.9, 6.RI.10
State Standards:
National History Standards
K-4 Topic 2: 3A, 3B, 3D
US Era 2: 1B
National Geography Standards
1, 4
K-4 Topic 2: 3B, 3D
K-4 Topic 3: 4B
US Era 2: 1B
Additional Standards:
C3 Framework
Dimension 2: Civics; incl. but not limited to:
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.

Essential Question

Guiding Question: What was George Washington's 1753 mission? How was Washington involved in the war? What was the confusion surrounding the surrender document at Fort Necessity? How did Benjamin Franklin help General Braddock?


Student Objectives:
·List three facts about Washington 1753 trip to Fort LeBoeuf
·List one event from the Battle at Fort Necessity, Braddock's campaign, and Forbes' campaign
·Identify the word in the Fort Necessity document that upset the British


“How Did the Conflict Begin?” Unit 3 of the Teacher’s Education Kit “The French and Indian War: 1754-1763” has the students focus on the beginning of the war. There are two lessons on George Washington and his involvement, a lesson on the surrender at Fort Necessity and a lesson on Benjamin Franklin and General Braddock. 

Critical Content: George Washington was sent to ask the French to leave the disputed land in the Ohio River Valley. When they refused to leave, Virginia mounted a military campaign. Washington was in charge when the first shots were fired and at the first battle at Fort Necessity. The French won the battle at Fort Necessity and Washington is forced to surrender. The next year the British again try to expel the French. During this campaign Washington advised General Braddock, and Benjamin Franklin helped him secure supplies.

This unit includes four lesson plans:

  • "Domain of Three Nations" where students learn about Washington's 1753 trip to Fort LeBoeuf and includes a student reading
  • "George Washington and Me" which covers Washington's involvement in the Battle at Fort Necessity, the Braddock campaign and the Forbes campaign
  • "Fort Necessity Surrender Document" where a single word made a big difference
  • "Franklin and Braddock" where students learn about Franklin's role in the campaign 

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


For each lesson the teacher should make copies of the student reading and activity worksheets. For two the lesson the teacher should make copies or project the images the students will analyze.  


The downloaded lesson plan includes an introduction (p. 49-50), teacher instructions (p. 51-53, p. 57-58, p. 66 and p.70) the activity worksheets (p. 54, p. 64-65) and student readings (p. 55-56, p. 59-63 and p. 67-69).

Download Download Lesson Plan - How Did the Conflict Begin?

The teacher background covers from the beginning of the war to the beginning of the American Revolutions. For this unit read pages 18-21, How Did the Conflict Begin.

Download Download Teacher Background - The French and Indian War 1754-1763 Curriculum

Use these two images when the lesson calls for a transparency.

Download Download Transparencies

This map will help the students understand the three cultures involved in the war and their geographical locations

Download Download Map: Indian Nations and French and Indian War Forts 1754-1763

Lesson Hook/Preview

We know a lot about George Washington as the first president and as the commander of the Continental Army, but what was he like as a young man? Where did he learn the skills he needed to succeed later in life? Find out what Washington experienced as a young soldier during the French and Indian War.


Download extra materials and the lesson plans. The each of the lesson plans has the procedure for the teacher and students.


assassination - to murder someone for a political or religious reason.

Supports for Struggling Learners

Have passages prehighlighted with main idea or important information for students struggling with longer readings.

Enrichment Activities

Have the students research what happened to the two prisoners the French took at Fort Necessity as part of the surrender agreement, Captain Stobo and Captain Van Braam.  

George Washington did not have a formal education like the other founding fathers. He learned may of the skills he used later in his life from experience.  Have the students compare George Washington's education to the education they expect to get. Have them make a list of what type of skill he may have learned from his French and Indian War experience.  

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