Westward Expansion Generate, Sort, Connect, Expand Concept Map
Students evaluated their knowledge of westward expansion through the creation of a concept map. Each student generated a list of important people, places, events, and ideas from class work. Student groups then sorted their lists into concepts with the main ideas in the center of the web, less essential ideas toward the edges. Students had to develop connections and wrote connection sentences. The final step was to have each student create a persuasive paragraph about westward expansion. This routine enables students to have a deep understanding of the topics covered in class and see how the small ideas in the chapter can create a "big picture" understanding of US History.