This lesson plan is designed to be used with the 1969 documentary, Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music, which shows a collection of scenes from Cash’s life and a number of concert performances. Since Cash’s songs frequently reflected his life experiences, classrooms can use his music to inspire personal narratives.
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Within the context of Early Arkansas, Arkansas Indians, and Traders and Explorers, students participate in a bartering session in order to satisfy their wants. They barter for goods, which are otherwise scarce in their own community or society.
Students will become familiar with the era of sharecropping in Arkansas as shared in the story Cotton in My Sack by Lois Lensky. Economic concepts and a history of agriculture in Arkansas will become meaningful through listening, discussion, writing, and completing activities.
Through active participation in assembling an Arkansas puzzle and playing a card game, the students will learn about specialization in early Arkansas. Interdependence and specialization come to life when students first produce Arkansas puzzles on their own and then in production groups. Students learn how division of labor can increase productivity. They then relate these economic concepts to their lives as they go out into the community and interview modern day specialists.
Students will learn the history of the Arkansas Traveler painting as an introduction to traveling Arkansas today to discover natural resources found in the “natural state”. As a culminating activity, students will produce a classroom book, Arkansas Traveler, Arkansas Traveler What Do You See?
Concepts covered in this lesson include entrepreneurship and enterprise. Students define entrepreneur and give examples of successful entrepreneurs in Arkansas economic history, compile a list of characteristics and traits common to 8 successful Arkansas entrepreneurs, and identify and discuss contributions Arkansas entrepreneurs have made to improve the quality of life.
Scarcity is the condition of not being able to have all the goods and services we want. It results from the imbalance between unlimited economic wants and relatively limited resources available to satisfy those wants. Scarcity requires people to make choices about using goods and services to satisfy their economic wants. In this lesson students will learn about historical sites they could visit in Arkansas but due to a scarcity of time they will need to make choices about where to travel to learn about Arkansas’ history. The alternative they give up is their opportunity cost. Identifying alternative costs, or the foregone alternatives, is crucial to learning to make wise economic decisions.
The song “Lowland Arkansas” on Charley Sandage’s “Arkansas Stories Vol.2” (www.arkansasstories.com ) introduces the concept of European traders in Arkansas. While learning about specialization and trade, students arrange their desks into a trading post and simulate trade among the Quapaw (Native Americans) and French settlers.
Students will begin by determining what is needed to create and maintain a successful town/city. Students will then view primary and secondary sources to see the relationship between development and the railroad system in Hempstead County and analyze which aspects made the progression of these locations decline or become more prosperous. Students will take this information and apply it to their own place and time. Students will use resources for a predetermined task.
One goal of the lesson is to teach students about determining the role of a citizen in the United States and analyzing ways the government used propaganda to manipulate individual’s involvement in WWI. A second goal of the lesson is to teach students how to analyze primary sources to compare and contrast the expectations of the involvement with the realities of war. Students will end the lesson by using new information to create their own accounts of World War I.