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Johnson Elementary Library: North America Grade 4 PBL

Library resources and information for students and staff of Johnson Elementary School

Project Description

In this project based learning unit, grade 4 students will discover how people from different times and places shaped the countries of North America from 15,000 years ago to 1975.

Learning About North America

Grade 4 North America Project Kickoff - Thursday, January 25, 2024
Driving Question for this project:
How have the people who lived in North America shaped the countries from 15,000 years ago to modern day?
  • I can research and teach others what I have learned
  • I can compare and question information from multiple sources.
  • I can use primary sources as evidence when learning and teaching others.
  • I can explain how North America has changed over time.
All About North America (Video - 7:55)
Native Americans before European Colonization (Video - 9:55)

Beringia & Indigenous Peoples (Video - 4:99)

Who were the first people in America & Timeline

Another Example Timeline (Slides)
Natick Historical Society Timeline of Natick History
Exit Ticket






1. Northeast Region of the United States

1600 - 1783 - Colonial Period to American Revolution

Image from early Colonial times

Library of Congress Pictorial Americana:  Settlement and Colonial Life,   American Revolution
Library of Congress - US History Primary Source Timeline: Colonial Settlement 1600s - 1763American Revolution 1763 - 1783


1783 - 1880 - New Nation and Westward Expansion


During the period between 1783 and 1880 in North America, the United States went through significant changes as it expanded westward. Here are some key points to share with your 4th graders:

  1. End of the Revolutionary War (1783): In 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the Revolutionary War and granting independence to the United States from Great Britain. This marked the beginning of the nation's journey as a new independent country.

  2. Louisiana Purchase (1803): In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, acquiring a vast territory from France. This doubled the size of the United States and opened up new opportunities for westward expansion.

  3. Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806): President Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and find a route to the Pacific Ocean. Their expedition provided valuable information about the western lands and Native American tribes.

  4. Manifest Destiny: The concept of Manifest Destiny emerged during the 19th century, promoting the belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent from east to west. This idea fueled westward expansion and settlement.

  5. California Gold Rush (1848-1855): The discovery of gold in California in 1848 triggered a massive migration of people seeking wealth and opportunity. The Gold Rush accelerated westward expansion and led to the rapid growth of California's population.

  6. Transcontinental Railroad: The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 connected the east and west coasts of the United States, facilitating transportation, trade, and further settlement of the western frontier.

  7. Homestead Act (1862): The Homestead Act encouraged settlement of the western United States by offering 160 acres of land to anyone who would farm it for five years. This legislation promoted westward expansion and the development of agriculture in the region.

2. Southeast Region of the United States

1600 - 1783 - Colonial Period to American Revolution

Britannica Kids - The Southern Colonies
Colonial Florida

3. Midwest Region of the United States

1600 - 1783 - Colonial Period to American Revolution

Library of Congress - Native Americans at the time of Contact with Europeans 1600s - 1850

4. Southwest Region of the United States

5. Western Region of the United States

What is a Historian?

Historians research, interpret, and analyze how events came to be. Historians rely on information sources that are trustworthy and free from bias. These sources include eyewitness accounts of historical events, as well as descriptions written after events have taken place. Historians also study objects from the past.
Think Like a Historian Activity

General Databases

Basic encyclopedia that was formerly KidsInfoBits

Offers authoritative reference content alongside magazine and journal articles, primary sources, videos, audio podcasts, and images. Covering a vast array of people from historically significant figures to present-day newsmakers

Select “Student” option. "Advanced" will have more results at more complex reading levels.

Home username: natick

Home password: worldbook - a kid safe site whose goal is to provide a fun and educational web site with lots of interesting content.

Online Tools