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The Ohio and Erie Canal

Grade Level:  4-6

Estimated Duration of Lesson:  30-45 minutes
Standards & Indicators:
Grade 4 
History #5: Explain how canals changed settlement patterns in Ohio.  
Study Skills and Methods #3:  Use primary and secondary sources to answer questions about Ohio History.
Grade 5 
History #6:  Explain the impact of settlement, industrialization, and transportation on the expansion of the United States.  
Study Skills and Methods #5:  Differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
Grade 6 
Geography #3:  Explain the distribution patterns of economic activities and changes in technology, transportation, communication, and resources.  
Study Skills and Methods #2:  Analyze information from primary and secondary sources in order to summarize, make generalizations, and draw conclusions.
Primary Sources Used: 
Historic Images From OhioPix:  
Contemporary photos of Ohio and Erie Canal Locks from the American Canal Society 
Pictures and video taken at locks on the Ohio & Erie Canal—see video and PowerPoint in this lesson plan
Additional Resource:    Ohio Canal Systems Map     
Lesson Summary:
The students will travel the Ohio and Erie Canal using primary sources and draw conclusions as to how the canals were built and operated, construction of the canal boats, and the purpose of the canal system.
Instructional Steps to Implement the Lesson:
1. Class Starter: Students will complete a pretest using a primary source relating to the canal system. Distribute one historic photograph to each student—print out several copies of each of the photos above so students will be looking at a variety of images.
2. Guided Lesson:  
Canals: What were they? Where were they? How did they change Ohio? Use the PowerPoint found here to explain the history of the Ohio and Erie Canal
For historical content, review these sources:
Ohio and Erie Canal from Ohio History Central  
At appropriate point in the PowerPoint, show the video “Canal Movie.”
Here, students will visit three stops on the Ohio and Erie Canal.  
Stop 1 Lock 38 – View a video clip explaining how the lock system works and construction of locks.   
Stop 2 Boston Lock 29 – Construction of canal boats.
Stop 3 Canal Fulton Lock 4 – Traveling the canal in a canal boat.
3. Closing:  Think-Pair-Share Strategy. Students will share something they learned or found interesting at one of the stops first with a partner then the entire class.
Post-Assessment and Scoring Guideline:
Students will construct a postcard using the directions on the activity sheet.  
Evaluation of the assessment will be through written expression.
Materials Needed by Teacher:
Pretest, photos of the canal, Ohio and Erie Canal PowerPoint and video, Ohio and Erie Canal Map, Postcard Project and postcard pattern
Materials Needed by Students:   Art box for postcard project 
Extended Learning:
Experience a real ride on the St. Helena III canal boat pulled by 2 percheron horses.  During this hour-long ride you will encounter history first hand from an onboard historian.   See www.discovercanalfulton.com for information regarding time of operation, cost, and miscellaneous information.  
The lesson and materials were developed by 
Kim Dannemiller
Nancy Dravenstott
Marilyn Peacock
James Taylor
Betty Condren
Janice Kollar
Cynthia Twining
Connecting to the Past
June 25, 2010

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