What prompts people to leave home for a different way of life? Fourth graders explore this profound question across centuries of American history. As your child learns about America’s indigenous peoples, she will learn how Native Americans migrated in response to changes in weather. Students will contemplate whether European explorers were motivated by gold, God, or glory. Your child will read about the early English settlements of Jamestown, Roanoke, and Plymouth and the original colonies.
In a powerful exercise in empathy, fourth graders will reexamine life in the colonies from the point of view of West Africans. Your child is sure to be moved and inspired by the biographies of influential Black Americans like Martin Luther King, Jr., Katherine Johnson, Jesse Owens, and Maya Angelou.
Thought-provoking discussions about bias and perspective will help your child see how history is shaped and by whom. For example, your child will form his own opinion about what really happened during the Boston Massacre by reading newspaper stories and firsthand accounts from both England and Massachusetts. The theme of migration picks up with our study of westward expansion. When settlers crossed the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, what did they gain—and at whose expense? Fourth-grade Social Studies culminates with students’ collaborative research projects about various regions of the country. For your child, the pièce de résistance will be a persuasive “chamber of commerce” presentation and video about a slice of America, from the lakes of Minnesota to the hills of Tennessee. After all, migration is part of America’s DNA.