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The Walking Purchase of 1737:
A Social Studies Lesson
The class has been studying Pennsylvania's colonial history. One primary
focus of the lessons I have led has been building and understanding
multiple perspectives of history.
- Students will be able to retell the main points of the Walking Purchase
- Students will be able to describe how the Iroquois, Minisink and Delaware
Indians, and the Pennsylvanians felt about the Walking Purchase trick
- Students will be able to compare and contrast the perspectives of
these various groups in discussion
- Students will be able to describe the motivations for each of the
groups' actions throughout the trick.
- Wall Map of Pennsylvania
- (One per student) Copy of The Pennsylvania Legacy: Colonial Pennsylvania
by Terry Baker
- (One per student) Understanding the Main Ideas worksheet
accompanying this text
- (One per student) Skit Planning Form
Since this chapter is called Tricks and Treaties, the
teacher will have students think of a time when they played a trick
on someone, had a trick played on them, or they observed a trick being
played on someone else. Students will record their thoughts a sheet
of loose-leaf. Have a few students share their experiences with the
class. The teacher should try to get students to discuss what the goal
of or motivation for each trick was (for example, for personal gain
or amusement). Finally, the teacher will tell students that they will
be learning about a big trick in history. Examples
of Student Work on Tricks
The teacher will have students read aloud from their textbooks, chapter
seven. (This oral reading activity is frequently used in the classroom,
as all of the students were particularly strong at reading aloud).
Questions for discussion:
- What is a treaty?
- Why was ita problem that treaty agreements werent written
- What is difficult about using a measurement as far as a horse
can walk in two days?
- Can you think of a measurement we use that was based on a similar
- Why do you think that the Iroquois made this deal?
- Do you think this treaty was fair?
- How do you think the Minisink felt about the treaty between the
colonists and the Iroquois?
- How did Logan trick the Minisink?
- Was the walking purchase fair? Why or why not?
- How would you feel if you were the Minisink? The colonists?
- What did Canasatego mean in his speech?
- Why do you think the Iroquois felt this way?
Use the large map of Pennsylvania to help students understand exactly
what happened in the trick and what land was taken from the Minisink
and other Indians.
The teacher will have students work in groups of 5 to 6 students to
write and perform a skit about the Walking Purchase.
Each group of students will act out one of these three different scenes:
- Treaty between Pennsylvania Council and the Iroquois.
Actors Logan, Iroquois chiefs, Numitus, Lappawinzoe
- Day of the Trick (September 19, 1737)
Actors Logan, Edward Marshall, Minisink Indians, other Penn
- Meeting between the Iroquois after the walking trick
Actors Chief Numitus, Penns sons, Canasatego
To help students plan their skits, the teacher will pass out copies
of a worksheet that will help
them choose roles, think about what their character would do, and sequence
events from the text. As the students work, the teacher should circulate
among the groups to help students plan.
After the students are planned, the teacher will have students perform
these skits. The students will not be expected to actually write down
their skit, but rather do an impromptu 2-3 minute performance.
After eack skit, the teacher will debrief the actions that were portrayed,
and add in any missing information.
A Final Activity:
The teacher will have students complete Understanding the Main
Ideas sheet that accompanies this chapter. Examples
of Student Work
Work on the skits, discussion and worksheet.