This silver wine cup belonged to Pilgrim leader and Mayflower passenger William Bradford, who gov
Grade Range: 4-8
Resource Type(s): Reviewed Websites, Primary Sources, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 90 minutes
Date Posted: 10/12/2016
On the surface, the compelling question for this inquiry, “What’s the real story behind the purchase of Manhattan?” asks students to explore the background to the story of the sale of Manhattan to the Dutch in 1626 for $24 of beads and trinkets. A closer look at the story reveals a range of myths and unknowns including who was involved in the transaction, what the transaction actually meant, and what was exchanged. In fact, the only contemporary evidence that the sale ever took place is in a document found in the Dutch National Archives—the Peter Schagen letter written in November 1626 (though a statement by English Governor Francis Lovelace in 1670 confirmed the sale). Exploring this letter and the many other sources of information about the sale offer students a glimpse into the world of historical evidence, a world in which, as much as we might like, conclusive answers prove elusive. Teachers and students should note that, although the supporting questions and tasks ask about the perspectives of Native Americans at the time, there are no historical sources that record their views. Inferences can be made from the Dutch documents, but teachers and students will want to be aware that absence of sources can influence the interpretations that we develop of the past.
United States History Standards (Grades 5-12)
2: How political, religious, and social institutions emerged in the English colonies
3: How the values and institutions of European economic life took root in the colonies, and how slavery reshaped European and African life in the America
Historical Thinking Standards (Grades 5-12)
Common Core State Standards (Grades K-12)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2 (Text Types and Purposes): Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 (Production and Distribution of Writing): Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 (Research to Build and Present Knowledge): Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9 (Research to Build and Present Knowledge): Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Common Core State Standards (Grades 6-8)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2 (Key Ideas and Details): Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9 (Integration of Knowledge and Ideas): Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (Grades 3-5)
D2.His.10.3-5. (History): Compare information provided by different historical sources about the past.
D2.His.12.3-5. (History): Generate questions about multiple historical sources and their relationships to particular historical events and developments.
D3.3.3-5. (Developing Claims and Using Evidence): Identify evidence that draws information from multiple sources in response to compelling questions.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (Grades 6-8)
D2.His.4.6-8. (History): Analyze multiple factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.
D2.His.12.6-8. (History): Use questions generated about multiple historical sources to identify further areas of inquiry and additional sources.
D3.3.6-8. (Developing Claims and Using Evidence): Identify evidence that draws information from multiple sources to support claims, noting evidentiary limitations.
D3.4.6-8. (Developing Claims and Using Evidence): Develop claims and counterclaims while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both.
D4.2.6-8. (Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions): Construct explanations using reasoning, correct sequence, examples, and details with relevant information and data, while acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of the explanations.