Lesson Plans: Grades 9-12

Lesson One: Learning about Early Modern Era Empires

Created October 29, 2015

Tools

The Lesson

Introduction

Diplomacy Challenge: Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror

Follower of Gentile Bellini, Portrait of Mehmet II (1432–1481).

Credit: National Gallery, London. Yorck Project. Public Domain 1.0

A key role of diplomats is to gather and analyze intelligence.  In this lesson, students acting as diplomats, will prepare a short intelligence briefing on their assigned empire to present to the representatives of the other modern empires. Note that there are ten empires in all. Depending on the size of the class each empire team may consist of two to five members.

The goal of this lesson is for each team to identify, categorize, and prioritize the distinct characteristics of their empire and then, summarize them in a short PowerPoint using visual images only to represent these characteristics. 

This lesson is the first in a seven lesson sequence. Teachers may link to the unit overview with Guiding Questions, College and Career Readiness standards and Background. Lesson 1 aligns with CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.6

Learning Objectives

  • Students will learn about and analyze the distinct characteristics of their own Early Modern Empire
  • Students will work collaboratively within a team to create a PowerPoint presentation using visual images only.

Preparation and Resources

The day before the lesson, assign students to one of the ten teams and give each team their Empires: Factors to Consider.  For homework the night before, have students read the factors to consider for their empire and categorize them using the Empire Fact Finding Graphic Organizer and then prioritize the facts (e.g., Spain Catholic) according to which ones are most important to maintain and expand their empire’s power .

Before class, organize desks into teams of three to five members, depending on class size. Assign one empire per team.

Provide each team with a small white boards and marker.

Lesson Activities

Activity 1. Introducing Empires, Diplomacy, and Power

The day before the lesson, assign students to one of the ten teams and give each team their Empires: Factors to Consider.  For homework the night before, have students read the factors to consider for their empire and categorize them using the Empire Fact Finding Graphic Organizer and then prioritize the facts (e.g., Spain Catholic) according to which ones are most important to maintain and expand their empire’s power .

Begin class by reminding students of the overall guiding question of the unit: How do empires use diplomacy to maintain and expand their power? Then have them work in their empire teams to discussing the characteristics and priorities of  their empire, coming up with three to five distinct factors that are the most important to maintain and expand their empire’s power.

Activity 2. Using their Intelligence Briefing Planning Sheet

Each empire team will create a PowerPoint that will become an “intelligence briefing” for other teams. This briefing will use one or two images that represent the prioritized Factors to Consider and no text.  For example, if the Spanish Empire believed that their Roman Catholic faith was a central part of their identity, they might put a crucifix as an image to represent this in their PowerPoint. Students may have only seven slides to present their empire.

If there is time the teacher can model the sample PowerPoint presentation on Portugal in Preparation and Resources using the script to demonstrate the format for the presentation.

Assessment

On their white board, each empire team writes the three most important facts about their empire that they believe other empires should know.

Extending The Lesson

Have students research the crops and food that were exchanged as a result of Early Modern diplomacy and create a Columbian Exchange Cookbook.

The Basics

Grade Level

9-12

Time Required

1-2 class periods

Subject Areas
  • History and Social Studies > Place > Africa
  • History and Social Studies > Themes > Common Core
  • History and Social Studies > Place > Europe
  • History and Social Studies > World > The Modern World (1500 CE-Present)
  • History and Social Studies > Place > The Middle East
  • History and Social Studies > Place > Asia
  • History and Social Studies > Themes > Exploration & Discovery
Skills
  • Critical analysis
  • Critical thinking
  • Interpretation
  • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
  • Map Skills
Authors
  • Rob Hallock, Sammamish High School (Bellevue, WA)
  • Kathryn Smoot, Sammamish High School (Bellevue, WA)