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The article “Mapping the Great Wagon Road” describes the route taken by 18th-century colonists from Pennsylvania traveling south to North Carolina. The following teaching suggestions are designed to help fourth-grade teachers discuss “Mapping the Great Wagon Road” with students.

  • Before students begin to read, have them brainstorm or draw what they think is meant by the title of this article, “Mapping the Great Wagon Road.” Ask what they think “the Great Wagon Road” is.
  • The first paragraph discusses Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson who created the first map of the Great Wagon Road in 1751. According to the article, “Fry and Jefferson based their map on firsthand surveys — not, as was common at the time, on the word of other people who had traveled through the land.” Ask students how they think maps based on firsthand surveys might differ from maps based on secondhand reports. Lead into a discussion about perspective and differing points of view. Ask students what might be the advantages and drawbacks of relying on each type of information.
  • After reading the article, ask students why they think certain borders appear on this map while others do not, based on what they’ve read.
  • Use the articles and map under “Learn More” in the sidebar to create individualized, differentiated projects.
  • The lesson plan Understanding NC’s Moravian Settlers includes a graphic organizer that would assist with students’ comprehension of this article. The lesson plan is designed for 8th-grade students but could be easily adapted for elementary use.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 4

        • 4.G.1 Understand how human, environmental and technological factors affect the growth and development of North Carolina. 4.G.1.1 Summarize changes that have occurred in North Carolina since statehood (population growth, transportation, communication and land...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 4

  • Goal 3: The learner will trace the history of colonization in North Carolina and evaluate its significance for diverse people's ideas.
    • Objective 3.04: Compare and contrast ways in which people, goods, and ideas moved in the past with their movement today.