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Fifth-graders Engage in Expedition Simulation

Jennifer Steller’s fifth-graders recreated an expedition to North America in social studies class. Students engaged in an expedition simulation and explored how early American settlers made decisions, worked cooperatively, and ultimately survived in the new world. Students researched and designed flags, discovered how natural resources affected survival, and the importance of careful planning and preparation. Fifth-graders were faced with new challenges from “fate cards” and had the opportunity to trade with each other and local native peoples. They reflected on their expedition with diary entries. Students also learned that not all who came to America were doing so by choice. “Students learned Europeans chose to come to America for many reasons, but not all the arrivals to their New World had that same choice,” Steller said. “We discussed how drastically different the experience was for Africans that were taken from their homelands and forced into slavery in the Americas. These early inequities are still perpetuated today in society and it is imperative to learn all perspectives of history because every story has more than one side.”