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hepeople Lesson Plans
The Founding of St. Augustine
as seen through a primary source
Prepared by Michelle E. Dunn
Intended Grade: Grades 4 and up
Subject Areas: History and Geography
Correlation to Massachusetts History and Social Science Framework:
Concepts and Skills:
2. Interpret timelines of events studied. (H)
3. Observe and identify details in cartoons, photographs, charts, and graphs
relating to an historical narrative. (H, E, C)
4. Use maps and globes to identify absolute locations (latitude and longitude). (G)
5. Identify the location of the North and South Poles, the equator, the prime
meridian, Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Hemispheres. (G)
6. Distinguish between political and topographical maps and identify specialized
maps that show information such as population, income, or climate change.
(G, H, E)
7. Compare maps of the modern world with historical maps of the world before
the Age of Exploration, and describe the changes in 16th and 17th century
maps of the world. (G, H, E) Learning Standards:
5.5. Describe the goals and extent of the Dutch settlement in New York, the
French settlements in Canada and the Spanish settlements in Florida, the
Southwest and California.
1. Students will learn that St. Augustine was the first permanent European
settlement in the United States, founded in 1565.
2. Students will identify Pedro Menendez de Aviles as the leader of the
expedition that founded St. Augustine in that year.
3. Students will define the terms first-person and third person, and correctly
identify writing as either first or third person accounts.
4. Students will use note-taking strategies to identify pertinent information from a
5. Students will define plagiarism.
6. Students will write informational text which includes pertinent details, but does
not plagiarize the original source material.
Approximate Time Required:
Three to five class periods will be needed for this lesson. The exact amount
depends on several factors such as:
Will students work alone or in groups?
How large a selection will each student be responsible for?
How much time will be given to work in class?
Will any time be allowed to work on the project at home?
How much instruction will be needed in note taking, and in defining the terms
first-person, third-person and plagiarism?
Paper (lined and plain)
Highlighters, markers, crayons
Dictionaries and thesauruses
Recipes and ingredients for salt pork and garbanzo stew and hardtack
St. Augustine: America's Oldest City, Cobblestone Magazine,
November, 1995. "The Founding of the Oldest City", by Eugene Lyon
The Founding of St. Augustine, 1565; Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales.
From Modern History Sourcebook, found at
The following lesson can be used with students from grade 4 and up.
Below grade 4 the reading level would probably be too difficult.
Students will read sections of a primary source document on the founding of St.
Augustine and translate that document into text that children their age can
understand. They will then write and illustrate a "chapter" for a book on the
founding of St. Augustine. The combined chapters will form a book that tells
the story as described by Pedro Menendez's chaplain, Francisco de Mendoza
Grajales. This lesson also uses an article from Cobblestone Magazine as
background reading. Students will read their chapters aloud to the class. If
desired, the teacher can serve garbanzo stew with hardtack and grape juice to
replicate the meal eaten by the settlers with the Native Americans.
Read the primary source and decide how much of the document you will use.
One suggestion, is to begin with the paragraph beginning "On Monday, August
27...." And end with the paragraph which begins "On Saturday, the 8t...".
Next, determine if students will work alone, with a partner, or in small groups, and
determine the selection assignments. Make copies and clearly mark the
selections each student or group will focus on. There is great flexibility for the
teacher in choosing the length and difficulty of selections to make the most
appropriate assignments for individual students.
If you will be serving the stew and hardtack, make those ahead.
Teachers may need to introduce or review the following definitions: first-person,
third-person and plagiarism.
Teachers may also need to introduce or review note-taking skills.
1. Read the article from Cobblestone Magazine to provide background
information on Menendez's founding of St. Augustine.
If you have already covered this topic sufficiently in class, you can skip this step. The reading
can be completed in class, or assigned as homework before beginning the primary source
2. Read aloud the entire portion of the document that your students will
Students should follow along as you read. Note new or challenging vocabulary as you
3. Assign sections of the reading to each student (or group of students).
Explain that they will now put this document into words a typical fifth grader
They will then create and illustrate a four-page chapter in a children's book
describing the founding.
4. Instruct students to note several new and challenging vocabulary words from
their selection on index cards.
Students will then define these words for inclusion in the glossary.
It is suggested that the teacher and class create a project-specific grading
rubric together before work begins.
This project could be completed in conjunction with your library/media teacher
or art teacher.
Students could also create a PowerPoint presentation rather than a printed