This is a lesson plan where students discuss the needs of settlers and the reasons why people settle a new land. Then they chose a place for a new settlement on a map. This lesson can lead to an interesting discussion of what people need to survive or the history of their own country. Who settled their lands and why?
- Map of Newland [JPG]: designed to fit one 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of paper
Ask students about the history of their country or area. Do they know why people chose to settle there? Students may not know, especially if their country was settled in prehistorical times. In that case, ask them what benefits their country (or area) had for settlers in early history.
Possible answers may include: Warm weather, mild climate, lots of animals for domestication or hunting, grasslands for horses or cows, fertile soil for farming, a coast for fishing or traveling, lots of rivers for fishing or transport, beautiful scenery, forests with wood for building.
As you go over the list of advantages of their country, focus student attention on needs. How did people get shelter, food, trade, water?
Ideal Place to Settle
Now hand out the Map of Newland [JPG]. Go over any unfamiliar vocabulary and make sure students understand the legend (This can be a chance to teach them how to read a map, if they don’t know). Put students in groups of 2-4 and ask them to pick an area to settle in. Make sure they are able to explain why and how they plan to meet their basic needs like food, shelter and water.
Let each group explain their choice to the whole group. Let students defend any disagreements. To finish up, you can start a discussion about why people decide to settle in new places. Go over the following questions:
- Why do people leave home?
Possible answers include: war, famine, drought, curiosity, political or relgious oppression, expand resources, explore.
- Why do they go somewhere new instead of somewhere they have been before? For example, why did Europeans settle North America, an unknown land?
Possible answers include: curiosity, desire to conquer the world, new resources, new opportunities, move out of uncomfortable or dangerous situation
- What are some dangers of settling somewhere new?
Possible answers might include: hostile native people, unfamiliar food and animals, no knowledge of how to survive there, new climate, long distance from home, problems of transport
- Does your country have a history of migration? Who left and went where and why? What problems did they encounter?
Finally you might ask what advantages they think their city or town has for people who want to move there in the modern day?
Possible answers could be: good schools, beautiful buildings, lots of jobs, good hospitals, nice scenery, warm climate, good infrastructure, prestige.