On an April morning in 1754, George Washington led 132 men from Alexandria, Virginia. They were on a mission to drive the French out of the upper Ohio Valley. They settled, temporarily, in a fort on the forks of the Ohio, but gave up when Washington discovered that his troops were outnumbered. After moving to Fort Necessity, the men were attacked by the French. Thus occurred the early events of the French and Indian War. Use well-designed activities to reinforce lessons about the war with your students.
Create a paper map that highlights the sites where major battles took place during the French and Indian War. In the key, create symbols that show which side won each of the major battles. Include symbols for the forts. Use arrows to show the movements of the different armies. Use different colors to show where the land claims for the French and the British were located. Stripe the two colors to designate the land that was under dispute.
Break students into groups of four or five members and have them prepare to become tour guides. They will need to become "experts" on the various sites where the French and Indian War took place. This will include the towns, forts and regions that were involved. They will need to learn the history of the battles, the individuals involved and the order of the events. Have the groups create brochures, maps and other materials needed to lead a group on a tour of the historic sites.
Give students a list of the forts involved in the French and Indian War. Provide the students with reference material that they will use to create a diorama of one of the forts, either individually or in groups. Shoe boxes or similar boxes work well for the projects. Have students include the landscaping around the forts, especially where rivers or mountains were located when it was important to the defense of the forts.
Have each student take on a persona of one of the major players of the French and Indian War. The students will create a diary by crumpling up a brown paper bag. They will glue the bag over two pieces of cardboard. Poke holes in the cardboard and sew blank paper between the two pieces of cardboard with yarn. Have students include entries pertaining to the war, living conditions and other factors during this time. Students should include drawings that illustrate their ideas in their diaries (see Resource 2).
- george washington image by Ralphele from Fotolia.com