Lesson Plan: US History

Topic: Imperialism and Expansion: Part 1


Objectives: The students will

I. review the geography of the Caribbean and Pacific regions at the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

II. identify territories acquired by the US during the Spanish-American War.

III. list and evaluate the arguments for and against imperialist expansion during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Warm-up Activity (Anticipatory Set): "Where in the World is Uncle Sam?"

A) Display a blank map of the world or of the Caribbean area on the overhead.

B) Divide the class into teams of 4.

C) Give students hints for each location. These can be given orally or displayed on the computer-TV.

D) For each set of hints, have students write their guess on paper. When the group is ready, have them share their guess. 

E) Place a "game piece" on the overhead and have students move the piece to the place they think are contained in the hints. Choose teams by turn or at random.

E) Award points or other rewards for correct guesses.

Location Information Hints
The Philippines

George Dewey entered Manila Bay here. It became an American protectorate in 1898. 

Puerto Rico Caribbean Island obtained from Spain. Now a US Commonwealth.
Alaska Called "Seward's Folly." Purchased from Russia in 1867. Contains abundant wildlife and natural resources. Statehood came in 1959 (49th state)
Hawaii US sugar growers caused a revolution on this Pacific Island chain. The legitimate monarch was overthrown and the islands were annexed by the US. Statehood came in 1959 (50th state).
Guam Pacific Island was gained from Spain as a result of the Spanish American War in 1898. It is now a US territory.
Samoa Islands Pacific Island group obtained from Germany. Now a US territory. 
Cuba Spanish speaking Caribbean island. Wanted independence from Spain. US helped in Spanish-American War. 90 miles from Florida. Maine exploded in Havana harbor.
Midway Is.  Island in the Pacific, Obtained after Spanish American War (1898). Important World War II battle.
Japan Isolationist country until Matthew C. Perry opened it up to western trade. Went to war with Russia until TR settled dispute in 1904.
China Isolationist country until western powers carved it into spheres of influence.
It was an empire until a revolution in 1911 turned it into a republic. Became communist in 1949.
Panama Located on an isthmus in North America, it was part of Columbia until a US-backed revolution brought independence. Canal was built there starting in 1904 and finished in 1914 after many deaths from disease.

Main Activity: Imperialism Pro or Con

A) Students should be ready to take notes by creating a T-chart on their own paper.

B) Display the arguments for and against territorial expansion.

C) Discuss key points as students take notes.

Follow-up: Debate between Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt

A) Have students write a paragraph taking the pro-Imperialism view or against expansion, Students should write as though they were Mark Twain (anti-imperialism) or Teddy Roosevelt (pro-imperialism). 

B) Have students go to one side of the class or the other depending on their viewpoint. Choose individuals to argue as one personality or the other.

Wrap-up Activity (Closure): Vocabulary terms and Reading Packets

A) Distribute the readings on "Spanish-American War: Battles and Outcomes" and "Theodore Roosevelt:  Big Stick Diplomacy"

B) Allow students to use the rest of the period to complete these readings or their vocabulary terms, which they will need tomorrow.

Homework: Imperialism vocabulary and reading packets must be complete.

Evaluation: The lesson will be evaluated by:

I. the accuracy of student's written responses;

II. student's scores on future tests and quizzes.

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