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Teacher Guide for APPLESEEDS: Thomas Jefferson issue

March 2006

Teacher's Guide prepared by: Polly Flaum Zieper, B.S., M.Ed. Mrs. Zieper is fifth-grade teacher at Everglades Elementary School in Weston, Florida.

Objectives: to increase historical perspective, to improve reading comprehension, to improve verbal communication skills

Before reading this issue: Assess the students' understanding of the following terms:

interpreter, technology, inalienable, pursuit, treason, laboratory, plantation

provide definitions when necessary.

'A Chat With Thomas Jefferson', pp. 2-7

Have students locate Williamsburg, Virginia on a map. Students can take a virtual tour of
Williamsburg on the internet at http://www.history.org/visit/tourTheTown/.

Read the article together. After reading the article, ask students about William Barker. Name some similarities and differences between Barker and Thomas Jefferson. What is
William Barker's job? Why does he work in Colonial Williamsburg, rather than on a stage?

'The House That Jefferson Built', pp. 8-11

  1. Why did Jefferson's home at Monticello take 40 years to build?
  2. Name two things that are unusual about the clock above the front door.
  3. In what other ways is Jefferson's house unusual?
  4. The end of article states that Thomas Jefferson wanted others to use his new technology, so he shared his ideas and innovations with the rest of the country. How is this use of the word 'technology' different from the way that word is used today?

'A Magical Pen', pp. 12-15

Sequencing Activity

Students number the following events in the order in which they happened:

_____Jefferson wrote the Declaration on a portable writing desk that he had created.

_____On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the final version of the Declaration.

_____Congress voted for independence from England.

_____The Continental Congress met and decided that the colonies should separate from England.

_____Congress argued over the details in the Declaration for three days.

_____The committee made a few changes to Jefferson's rough draft.

_____The Continental Congress asked Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence.

'Grandpapa: Inventor and Man of Science', pp. 19-21

  1. What is the author's purpose in writing this article? To teach or inform the reader? To persuade? To entertain?
  2. What is the main idea of this article? (Facilitate a discussion about the main idea. Write the main idea on the board - for example, Thomas Jefferson was not only a politician.
    He was also a scientist and inventor.)
  3. Ask students to write five details about the main idea.

'I Rise with the Sun: A Day in the Life of Thomas Jefferson', pp. 22-24

Draw Conclusions:

Did Thomas Jefferson have a close relationship with his grandchildren? How do you know?

The article states that Jefferson was awake with the sun. What time did he go to sleep? How do you know?

Was Jefferson a good bookkeeper? How do you know?

'With Liberty and Justice for All?', pp. 24-27

Write F on the line before each fact. Write O on the line before each opinion.

_____Thomas Jefferson owned more than 200 slaves.

_____Hannah's chicken pot pie was delicious.

_____Jefferson kept slave families together.

_____Slavery has been legal for 75 years before Thomas Jefferson was born.

_____Jefferson's plantation depended on slaves to keep it running.

_____Hannah worked hard.

'Thomas Jefferson, Food Pioneer', pp. 28-29

After reading the article, divide the class into groups. Assign each group a new food item that Thomas Jefferson began growing and eating (tomato, potato, cauliflower, eggplant,
mexican peppers, squash, broccoli, figs).

Have each group research their food item using these or other websites:

http://www.wegmans.com/kitchen/ingredients/produce/

http://www.botany.com/index.12.htm


Each group prepares a short oral report on the origin of their vegetable and
presents it to the class.

'A Moose, Two Grizzlies, and a Bird Named Dick', pp. 30-31

Complete this cause and effect chart:

CAUSE
EFFECT

  1. A French naturalist (Buffon) said that American animals were smaller than animals in
    Europe.
  2. It took more than a year for the body of a moose to get from New Hampshire to Buffon, in France.
  3. Jefferson had kept the cubs in cages on the lawn of his home.
  4. The bear cubs soon grew to be big bears.
  5. Jefferson's pet mockingbird hops up the stairs of his home.

'Whose Face Is That?', pp. 32-33

After reading the article about Mount Rushmore, students will compare and contrast the four men featured on that monument (Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham
Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt).

Students will use encyclopedias on CD or the internet to find out the following information:

  • place of birth
  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • main contributions as president (what was this president known for?)

The following website may be helpful:

http://www.americanparknetwork.com/parkinfo/ru/history/carve.html

The teacher can use this information for a bulletin board, displaying pictures and interesting facts about the four presidents.

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