Review resources available on Digital Paxton. Prior to lesson, assign Pontiac's War and the Paxton Boys as background reading. Ask students to bring a laptops or smartphones to class, and reserve communal laptops, if needed. Post learning objectives in classroom. Students should arrive with basic understanding of the Paxton massacre.
Anticipatory Set (5 min)
- Post do-now instructions, such as: "Pair-share with a neighbor about last night's reading. What happened? When did it happen? Who were the primary actors?"
- Wait two minutes to initiate sharing portion of exercise. Sits at the front of the classroom and call on students to answer questions (what/when/who) posed in the do-now.
- Read learning objectives aloud.
Teaching & Modeling & Guided Practice (25-35 min)
- Begin teaching portion of the lesson, clarifying material that students may have misunderstood in order to establish a shared understanding of the Paxton massacres. (5 min)
- Key points: The British Empire made a truce with many enemies in 1763, ending years of war (Seven Years' War). A group of Indians continued attacks in western Pennsylvania (Pontiac's rebellion). Some western settlers sought revenge, murdering a group of peaceable Indians residing on a nearby reservation (Conestoga Indiantown). Afterwards, they marched on Philadelphia with the intention to menace Indians placed under government protection, many of whom were Quakers. Benjamin Franklin and his allies convinced the mob to disband just outside of Philadelphia (Germantown) and to publish their complaints.
- Ask students, "How do historians know what happened?" If students answer, "the reading," ask, "How did the person who wrote the reading know what happened?" The correct answer is "primary sources." Define primary sources. (2-3 min)
- Distribute the assignment sheet. Explain that students will examine analyze print and visual sources from the 1760s as historians. Then, they will apply what they learn by roleplaying in a podcast interview. (2-3 min)
- Show The German Bleeds and Bears Ye Furs on the projector.
- Explain to students that this is a political cartoon sought to bring audiences over to the Paxton Boys' side. Read the bottom text aloud. Cold-call students, asking what they think the creator of the cartoon wants us to notice, see, and believe. Point out that these people feel oppressed. Ask students what else they see. Interject observations throughout the process to model engagement with primary sources. Take notes on student engagement and responses. Help students recognize figures and themes such as (but not limited to):
- Figures: Benjamin Franklin (holding the document), the Quaker (wearing broad-brimmed hat), the Scot-Irish settler (carrying the Quaker), the German settler (wearing the blindfold), and the Native American (carrying the hatchet).
- Themes: master/servant power dynamics, civilization/savagery, religious/racial identity, politics/government, oppressed/oppressors, fake news, and trust.
- Proceed when students can identify figures and themes without coaxing. (10-15 min)
- If students have trouble, repeat process with Franklin and the Quakers. Scaffold what students should notice and ask them to elaborate. (5-10 min)
Independent Work (55-65 minutes)
- Share assignment sheet with students via Google Drive.
- Call on a student to read assignment sheet aloud. Students will make a 5-10 min podcast using the primary and secondary sources assigned. Students will work in groups of three, with one Paxton supporter, one Paxton opponent, and one host. The host's job is to set the stage and question both versions of the story. Take questions. (5-10 min)
- Count students off by threes to create groups. (1-2 min)
- Students read through final two sources. Teacher circulates, checking in and helping students identify key ideas and themes (above) from sources as necessary. Students draft and record podcasts. (50-60 min)
- Students submit podcast files via Google Drive by the beginning of next class. Uncompleted work is assigned as homework.
Closure & Feedback
After grading students student assignments, the teacher meets with groups during an Independent Work session. Successful students will present a well-organized podcast with arguments that cite evidence from the primary sources. During a subsequent class on the American Revolution, connect colonial revolt against metropolitan rule in western Pennsylvania and Philadelphia to that of American colonies against Great Britain. Comment on students' participation in the modeling portion of the lesson. Solicit student opinions on the assignment for the purpose of instructional reflection.