Post-Visit Lesson: Borderlands Primary Sources

Borderlands Lesson

Lesson takes between 60 minutes and 120 minutes

This lesson is designed to help your students understand the way the borders in Colorado changed and how that affected citizens living in the areas which suddenly switched nations by the simple signing of a treaty. Students will see that borders are laid atop the land where people already lived and overnight they found themselves with a new government and set of laws by which to abide.


SS09-GR.4-S.1-GLE.1-eo.c&d Organize and sequence events to understand the concepts of chronology and cause and effect in the history of Colorado

c.      Explain the cause-and-effect relationships in the interactions among people and cultures that have lived in or migrated to Colorado

d.  Identify and describe how major political and cultural groups have affected the development of the region

SS09-GR.4-S.1-GLE.2-eo.b The historical eras, individuals, groups, ideas and themes in Colorado history and their relationships to key events in the United States

b. Describe interactions among people and cultures that have lived in Colorado

SS09-GR.4-S.2-GLE.1-eo.a&d Use several types of geographic tools to answer questions about the geography of Colorado

a. Answer questions about Colorado regions using maps and other geographic tools

d. Illustrate, using geographic tools, how places in Colorado have changed and developed over time due to human activity




Part One – Map: 45 minsample border map

Put the PowerPoint up at the front of the class and have the students fill in their map as you explain the changes to the landscape due to wars, treaties, and legislation. Teachers should follow these instructions.

See sample of final product.

Part Two – Discussion: 15 min

Have students turn and talk to each other or discuss as a class. Repeat the questions from earlier, and discuss the new ones. Have their opinions changed? Why?

OLD: What is a political border? Can borders change or move? What causes borders to change?

OLD: What happened to everyone living in the territory? Did they have to move to France?

Were they still French citizens?

NEW: Who was living here before any of these European groups claimed the land? How do you think the map would look if we showed these groups as well?

NEW: Do people who live in different countries have different rights? Can you think of any examples? (An example from this time period is that Mexican women could inherit land and money if there was no male heir, this was not the case in the United States) How would you feel if you suddenly were not allowed to do something you had been able to in the past?


Alternate ending activity: 30 min – Play blob tag!

Choose four students to be it (you can name them France, Great Britain, Spain and the United States). The rest of the players will scatter about the playing area. On the signal, the “it” players will attempt to tag the other players. A tagged player, must join (literally, they must join a hand) the “it” and continue developing the blob. As more players get tagged, they must add onto the outside of the blob. So, at any one time, the blob will only have two hands available for tagging (one on each end). The more players that get tagged, the larger the blob grows. The object of the game is to be the last player captured by the BLOB.

Following are some rules:

  1. Only the end players of the BLOB can tag others.
  2. The BLOB must remain connected to tag others.


Return to Listing of Lessons