Lesson Plan

Indian Removal Act of 1830 and The Trail of Tears

The Cherokee Nation in the 1830s and the story of removal from their lands.
Patrick T.
Classroom teacher
A High School
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Social Studies

Students will be able to...

  • Acquire knowledge of the forced relocation imposed by the Indian Removal Act (IRA) of 1830 on the Cherokees.
  • Learn what led to IRA and the Trails of Tears.
  • Visualize between the important individuals on both sides of the act (U.S. Government and Cherokee leaders).
Social Studies
historical figures
power structures
Grades 9 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook - Warm Up...

Activity: Debating

Direct and monitor the students in a constructive discussion about Native American removal.  Provide the students with the warm up question:  Was it fair of the United States Government to annex the land from early Native Americans and relocate them to a different geographical area of the country?  Why or why not? 

Have students retrieve their Chromebooks from the storage case and start them up for the day's lesson.

2 Direct Instruction

Give a brief explanation of the upcoming (the video will go into depth) lesson and ask probing questions about what they currently know about Native American removal, the Cherokee Nation, Andrew Jackson, Chief John Ross, and the Trail of Tears.  Use the first 7-10 minutes to review student knowledge and then proceed.

  1. Have the students watch the short video clip from History.com to get an overview of the Trail of Tears and its importance in U.S. History.
  2. Read aloud with the students the Indian Removal Act of 1830:  at http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Indian.html... on their Chromebooks.
  3. Provide the students with a graphic organizer to help them follow important dates, people, and topics that led to the IRA and subsequent Trail of Tears.

3 Guided Practice

Using their Chromebooks, students will independently read the article : "A Brief History of the Trail of Tears" from the Cherokee Nation (www.cherokee.org) web site:  http://www.cherokee.org/AboutTheNation/History/TrailofTears/ABriefHistor...

  1. Students gain additional knowledge through the eyes of the Cherokee Nation.
  2. Students will complete the rest of the graphic organizer from the information provided in this article (just as they did with the IRA document).
  3. Given the evidence within the article and the IRA document, students can move forward with the lesson once the graphic organizer is completed.

4 Independent Practice

  1. Using their Chromebooks, students will use the completed graphic organizer to create a mind map at the website:  https://www.text2mindmap.com/
  2. Students will choose a side-U.S. Gov. or Cherokee Nation-to create their individual mind map with supportive evidence.

The mind map will give visual representation to the knowledge gained about the Trail of Tears and the Indian Removal Act of 1830, what instances led to the IRA, and the people who were involved.

5 Enrichment

Activity: Presenting

Using their Chromebooks connected to the projector, students will present their mind map and discuss the position they chose and why. 

This activity will provided other students with different and valuable opinions to help further enhance their knowledge of the subject.