Impact of Colonial settlements on Native American populations

By: Sinead Williams



Students will analyze the impact of European colonization on Native Americans, applying information learned from primary and secondary sources. In heterogeneous groupings of 3-4 students will discuss historical information and facts to determine the overall impact of colonization on Native American populations.

Keywords: native americans, colonization, columbian exchange


Students will:
1. Analyze and apply information gleaned from primary and secondary sources, including maps and first hand account documents
2. Use background information to answer key questions relating to the impact of colonial settlement on Native American populations
3. Use Socratic methods of discussion to inquire and debate their answers to specific questions -use of higher order thinking skills
4. Complete a writing activity to answer the Essential Question: What was the overall impact of European colonization on Native American populations?


Standard 1: Use research and inquiry skills to analyze American History using primary and secondary sources. (SS.8.A.1)
Provide supporting details for an answer from text, interview for oral history, check validity of information from research/text, and identify strong vs. weak arguments. (SS.8.A.1.1)
Standard 2: Examine the causes, course, and consequences of British settlement in the American colonies. (SS.8.A.2)
Element 1: Discuss the impact of colonial settlement on Native American Populations (SS.8.A.2.5)


Academic Preparation

Students will have learned the causes and consequences of the following:
European settlement in the America's
Columbian Exchange
French and Indian War
Proclamation of 1763
American Revolution


Day 1
Warm-Up Activity: Students will respond to the question - What were some of the effects of European colonization on the Americas?
Class Activity: Students will be placed in pre-assigned groups determined by the teacher. Teacher will model first Spectrum discussion topic - modeling making judgments based on background knowledge, primary and secondary documents and fact sheet. Teacher will model how to come to consensus by using supporting documentation and facts to determine where the answer falls along the spectrum.
Teacher and students will complete second discussion topic together using the same methodology from teacher modeled example.
Students will complete discussion topics 3-5.
Students will study the fact sheet provided to debate the discussion questions that follow along with use of background information.
Students will complete their handout including notes justifying their position on each individual discussion statement. Students will discuss each issue and arrive at a consensus position based on key facts and background knowledge. Each group will use their supporting information to justify their positions.
After individual group discussions, the class will discuss group positions. Each group will use their supporting information to justify their positions. Students will seek a consensus answer for each statement for the class as a whole.
Wrap-Up - Students will complete an exit card to summarize one thing they learned from the lesson and one question that they may have from the lesson for next day.
Day 2
Warm-Up: Teacher will respond to any questions and/or clarifications from the previous day.
Class Activity: Students will compile their positions on the 5 key questions through their group discussions and develop an essay stating their position on the Essential Question: What was the overall impact of European colonization on Native American populations?


Formal and Informal
Informal through group discussion, development of spectrum answers and whole class discussion, notes and justifying of group positions.
Formal when students complete the end of lesson exit cards after day 1. Day 2 includes the culminating activity to write an essay based on their response to the Essential Question for the lesson "What was the overall impact of European colonization on Native American populations?"

Extensions and Adaptations

Honors/Gifted: Use additional primary source materials including documents that look at the differing perspectives of Europeans towards Native Americans and Native American perspectives of their European colonizers.

Estimated Lesson Duration

2hr 00min


  • The American Journey – Authors: Appleby, Brinkley & McPherson
  • – Institute of American History
  • – Historical society of Pennsylvania
  • A People's History of the United States - Howard Zinn


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