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Andrew Jackson and Trail of Tears Lesson for Kids

Updated on August 14, 2018
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

Andrew Jackson, Trail of Tears, & John James Audubon Lesson for Kids
Andrew Jackson, Trail of Tears, & John James Audubon Lesson for Kids

This is the 19th lesson in a series of 28 hands-on lessons covering U.S. American History through 1865. This lesson focuses on Andrew Jackson, the Trail of Tears, & John James Audubon. I used this plan while teaching a 45 minute history class for children in Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grades. Each lesson includes a biography report, history notebook page, history song, our favorite children's books, YouTube video, a history joke, & a variety of hands-on activities to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

There's been debate on whether or not Andrew Jackson should be on the $20 bill. Do you think he should be?

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Student biography report on Andrew Jackson
Student biography report on Andrew Jackson

Student Biography Presentation: Andrew Jackson

1. Student biography presentation on Andrew Jackson

Review & Presidents Song

2. Review: The Constitution says that America's government should have 3 branches. Name them. (legislative, executive, judicial) What land did Thomas Jefferson purchase in 1803? (Louisiana Territory) Who explored it? (Lewis & Clark) Who helped them? (Sacajawea) Who was America's President during the War of 1812? (James Madison) During the war, who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner? (Francis Scott Key) What is something that the Monroe Doctrine said? (Europe needs to leave America alone. They can't colonize America anymore. They shouldn't try to involve America in their fights.) James Monroe's presidency was known as the era of what? (Era of Good Feelings) After James Monroe was the President who was the son of a former President. What was his name? (John Quincy Adams)

3. Now let's go through all the Presidents. Sing through the entire song 2 times while either showing the video or flipping through pictures of the Presidents. (Be sure to add in "Donald Trump" at the end.)

You will need:

  • Screen to show the below video or a book showing Presidents or point to their pictures on a President place mat

Presidents Song

Andrew Jackson & the Indian Removal Act

4. Quickly summarize the life of Andrew Jackson while flipping through Andrew Jackson: Seventh President 1829-1837 (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia.

You will need:

  • Andrew Jackson: Seventh President 1829-1837 (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia or other book on Andrew Jackson

5. Proverbs 28:15 says, "Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people." Andrew Jackson did some wonderful things as President, but sometimes he was like a roaring lion or rushing bear. He made some unwise decisions that hurt many people. One of the most sad and tragic decisions he made was the Indian Removal Act. Read most of Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac.

You will need:

  • Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac or other book on the Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears (Step-Into-Reading, Step 5)
Trail of Tears (Step-Into-Reading, Step 5)

This does a wonderful job of describing the Trail of Tears in a manner the children can understand. It also has nice illustrations.

 
Trail of Tears Reenactment
Trail of Tears Reenactment

Trail of Tears Reenactment

4. Tell everyone that they're going to pretend to be the Cherokee Indians. President Jackson has told us we must move far away.

  • Have the children pack up their backpacks & bring everything with us.
  • Take a short walk around the building.
  • During your walk, hand out a sheet of paper to each child. 1/4 of the papers should have an X on them.
  • Tell the children that even though our walk is short, the Trail of Tears walk took many months. Over 1/4 of the Cherokee people died during the Trail of Tears. (Have everyone with an X on their paper step aside.) In a group this big, that's how many would have died. The group of Cherokees was much larger though. Thousands of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandmas, & grandpas died.

You will need:

  • a small sheet of paper per child with an X marked on 1/4 of them

Trail of Tears Lapbook Page (I printed this on a b&w printer, but the page can be printed in color.)
Trail of Tears Lapbook Page (I printed this on a b&w printer, but the page can be printed in color.)

5. Make Trail of Tears minibook. Have the children paste make the minibook by pasting the words inside the cover, folding it in half, & pasting the bottom of the minibook to the white paper so that it can go inside the history notebook.

You will need per child:

  • plain white paper punched with a 3 hole punch
  • the two pages of the Trail of Tears minibook pre-cut out
  • student supplies: glue sticks

George Catlin's "Catlin Painting the Portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa -- Mandan"
George Catlin's "Catlin Painting the Portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa -- Mandan" | Source

6. With all this interaction between Americans and Native Americans, many people realized that the Native American way of life was changing and would probably disappear. George Catlin was an artist who visited many Native American tribes and painted them so that people would know what they looked like and what their lives were like before their lives were changed. Show George Catlin's painting Catlin Painting the Portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa -- Mandan. Ask questions based on this Picturing America lesson:

  • Why do you think he painted Native Americans instead of just taking pictures of them? (Cameras weren't invented yet)
  • Can you find the 2 dogs? Artist & easel? Quiver?
  • How many horses do you see? (5)
  • Describe the chief's dress.
  • This is a painting of the Mandan tribe. Have you heard of them before? (They helped Lewis & Clark who stayed near their tribe their first winter while exploring. It was at Fort Mandan that they hired Charbonneau & Sacajawea.)

You will need:

  • a copy of George Catlin's Catlin Painting the Portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa -- Mandan (from a book or online)

Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Robert Burleigh
Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Robert Burleigh

John James Audubon

7. Quickly summarize his story of John James Audubon by flipping through the pages of Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Robert Burleigh. People were not only concerned about the loss of the Native American way of life. As more Americans moved West, some people were also concerned that the plants and animals would disappear. An artist named John James Audubon traveled around America trying to paint and identify native birds. He documented almost 500 different types of birds. Six of the birds he painted are now extinct.

You will need:

  • Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Robert Burleigh or other book about John James Audubon

Click thumbnail to view full-size
An American Flamingo by John James AudubonPainting page of American Flamingo by John James Audubon
An American Flamingo by John James Audubon
An American Flamingo by John James Audubon | Source
Painting page of American Flamingo by John James Audubon
Painting page of American Flamingo by John James Audubon

Painting like Audubon & Review

8. Show the children An American Flamingo by John James Audubon. Pass out outline copies of the painting and let the children use watercolor paints to paint the picture.

You will need per child:

  • An American Flamingo by John James Audubon (from a book or online)
  • An outline coloring page of Audubon's painting printed on cardstock or other heavier paper so the water won't tear the page (also hole-punch it first using the 3 hole punch) If you can't use the copy from the photo above, you can print a copy from https://www.pomegranate.com/cb104.html (less detail) or http://coloringhome.com/flamingo-coloring-page (more detail)
  • Watercolor paint (can be shared)
  • Watercolor paintbrush
  • Small container for water

You will need for clean-up:

  • a small container (like a plastic shoe box) to hold the dirty water & paintbrushes

9. Review (while children are finishing their paintings): Who can tell me something about Andrew Jackson? What do we call the time when he forced the Cherokee Indians leave their homes and move to Oklahoma? (Trail of Tears) Who did George Catlin paint? (Native Americans) What did John James Audubon paint? (mainly birds)

10. Assign next week's student biography report on Narcissa Whitman.

A Book to Read Each Day

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies - Book images are from amazon .com.Andrew Jackson: Seventh President 1829-1837 (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike VeneziaSequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing by James Rumford - This image is from goodreads .com.Osceola: Seminole Warrior by Joanne F. OppenheimWho let muddy boots into the White House?: A story of Andrew Jackson by Robert M QuackenbushAndrew Jackson, Frontier Patriot (Easy Biographies) by Louis SabinThe Man Who Painted Indians: George Catlin (Benchmark Biographies) by Nancy Plain
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies - Book images are from amazon .com.
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies - Book images are from amazon .com.
Andrew Jackson: Seventh President 1829-1837 (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia
Andrew Jackson: Seventh President 1829-1837 (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia
Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing by James Rumford - This image is from goodreads .com.
Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing by James Rumford - This image is from goodreads .com.
Osceola: Seminole Warrior by Joanne F. Oppenheim
Osceola: Seminole Warrior by Joanne F. Oppenheim
Who let muddy boots into the White House?: A story of Andrew Jackson by Robert M Quackenbush
Who let muddy boots into the White House?: A story of Andrew Jackson by Robert M Quackenbush
Andrew Jackson, Frontier Patriot (Easy Biographies) by Louis Sabin
Andrew Jackson, Frontier Patriot (Easy Biographies) by Louis Sabin
The Man Who Painted Indians: George Catlin (Benchmark Biographies) by Nancy Plain
The Man Who Painted Indians: George Catlin (Benchmark Biographies) by Nancy Plain

In addition to the 3 books used in this lesson, these were our top 7 favorites:

  • The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies
  • Andrew Jackson: Seventh President 1829-1837 (Getting to Know the US Presidents) by Mike Venezia
  • Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing by James Rumford
  • Osceola: Seminole Warrior by Joanne F. Oppenheim
  • Who let muddy boots into the White House?: A story of Andrew Jackson by Robert M Quackenbush
  • Andrew Jackson, Frontier Patriot (Easy Biographies) by Louis Sabin
  • The Man Who Painted Indians: George Catlin (Benchmark Biographies) by Nancy Plain

The Disney American Presidents: Andrew Jackson

Irony of History

Image credit: http://www.quickmeme .com/meme/3pga03/
Image credit: http://www.quickmeme .com/meme/3pga03/

Looking for all of my American History Lessons?

(Links to my middle school level

American History lessons can be found at https://hubpages.com/education/ColonialismWeeks3-8 .)

© 2018 Shannon

Comments

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    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon 

      12 months ago from Florida

      Thank you! I'm so glad that you're enjoying this lesson series! I really appreciate your comments!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      12 months ago from UK

      I'm enjoying your series of lessons. I especially appreciate the honest presentation you give.

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