Last updated: August 19, 2015
The Price of Western Expansion
- Grade Level:
- Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
- Math,Social Studies
- Common Core Standards:
- 7.EE.1, 7.EE.4.b
- State Standards:
- Gr 5-12 National Standards-Social Studies: World History Eras 4 & 7
Students 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.
Students can work individually, in groups, or as a class.
Materials for this lesson plan include:
- The Price of Western Expansion Student Worksheet (PDF 347 KB)
- The Price of Western Expansion Answer Sheet (PDF 348 KB)
- 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 out 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
- Divide students into groups of three-four students/group.
- Hand out the real estate section of the newspaper to each group. (Optional: Allow students to look up sales of real estate on the Internet.)
- Tell students to compare current property prices to those paid for the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.
- Have students share and explain their answers with the rest of the class.
- Ask students if the land was based on these real estate prices, how much should the United States paid for land purchased after the U.S.-Mexican War.
Background information of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo can be found at ourdocuments.gov.