John O’Gaunt Community Technology College
Hungerford, Berks, — RG17 0AN
The aim of this lesson is to introduce students to Thomas Jefferson through an evidence-based enquiry into his defining principles. Through engaging with this lesson, students will begin to understand Jefferson’s main goals and ambitions and make inferences about his guiding principles.
This lesson is designed as an introduction to Jefferson for students with little or no prior knowledge; it is the first of a sequence of lessons which will encourage students to make judgements, links and connections in regards to Jefferson’s moral stance and principles and think critically when analysing some of the more significant aspects and events of his life. To ensure the objectives of this lesson are successfully met, it is important that students are able to work independently and self-manage constructively in a small group setting.
English Key Stage Three History Standards
Key Concepts –
Key Processes –
Communicating about the past
Personal Learning and Thinking Skills –
Analyse primary source documents and make inferences based on this evidence.
Explain this inference, showing depth and detail of thought.
Demonstrate and further develop communication skills through collaborative learning.
This is the first lesson of a unit focusing on Jefferson. However, in the English National Curriculum for History, this unit could easily be linked to concepts such as slavery and Empire.
Students will learn a combination of knowledge and skills in engaging with the learning in the lesson. In terms of knowledge, students will learn about Jefferson’s most noteworthy and famous achievements and his vision for the future. More able students should also begin to approach these with a critical eye and question evidence presented. Important skills will also be challenged and developed; indeed, one key foci of this unit is collaborative yet independent learning, creating and justifying arguments both verbally and in writing, and critical thinking, specifically in reference to historian's use of evidence.
Key Question – ‘In matters of principle, stand like a rock’: What inferences can we make about Thomas Jefferson’s guiding principles?
Matters of Principles – Copies of Documents(also listed under Handouts and Downloads above)
Students will be asked to re-visit their initial ideas from the beginning of the lesson which they recorded on a post-it note; have their ideas evolved over the course of the lesson or have these stayed the same? Students are required to write a paragraph to explain their ideas; they must write five sentences that focus solely on the inference they have made about Thomas Jefferson and the reasons they have made this – these are likely to all be very positive and will be challenged as the unit of study unfolds.
Formative: questioning, prompting and listening to discussions that takes places among different groups. Listening to the questioning, debate and discussion that takes place as the whole class come back together and share their ‘big’ ideas and concepts.
Summative: although the intention is that students work will be peer assessed, reading both student’s work and feedback given will help understand the learning that is taking place and the level of skill in the work students are presenting.
By Resource: Less able students would perhaps benefit from working from abridged versions of the documents given with a vocabulary card to help students develop an understanding of key language in a supportive yet independent manner.
By Task: In completing the source analysis, less able students could be grouped together and given some key ideas and themes to looks for. These could then be colour-coded and students be asked to read, find and highlight these key ideas in an appropriate colour before comparing and contrasting these documents.
By Resource: More able students will be encouraged to make further links and connections between what they have read in the documents provided and analysed and the quotes presented around the room at the beginning of the lesson.
By Task: In completing their homework, more able students could be challenged to incorporate and imbed a quote into their paragraph from the work they have undertaken over the course of the lesson as evidence to back up their idea.
By Outcome: more able students will be able to make more detailed and developed verbal contributions and the quality of their written communication will be of a higher level.