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Read Kansas! Middle School - M-41 The Great American Desert

This lesson focuses on Kansas as the "Great American Desert." Students will analyze historic primary source documents that both create and dispel the myth of Kansas as "The Great American Desert." Students will then work in groups to produce a multimedia project to attract 19th century immigrants to "The Great American Desert." This lesson is written for two to three class periods. Select each image to see a PDF with the front and back of each card.

M-41 Major Long and the "Great American Desert"
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M-41 Promoting Kansas Card 1
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M-41 Promtoing Kansas Card 2
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M-41 Promoting Kansas Card 3
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M-41 Promoting Kansas Card 4
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Kansas History, Government and Social Studies Standards:

Standard #1 Choices have consequences.

  • 1.2: The student will analyze the context under which choices are made and draw conclusions about the motivations and goals of the decision-makers.

Kansas College and Career Ready Standards:

  • RI.7.6:  The student determines an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyzes how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
  • RI. 7.8:  The student traces and evaluates the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.
  • W.7.4: The student will produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • SL.7.1(a-d):  The student engages effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SL.7.5:  The student will include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings, and emphasize salient points.