Title: A Capital Idea#128

National Standard: 4 The physical and human characteristics of places.

State Standard: 11

Teaching Level: E

Lesson Introduction: This lesson may be used in conjunction with a unit on New Hampshire History. It looks at the use of physical geography and location and how man utilizes these to his advantage.

Objectives/Purpose: Students will write a description of the spatial organization of the former and present location of New Hampshire's state capital examining the concepts of distance, direction, and location. Students will describe the influence of the physical environment and the human characteristics that determined the location of the capital over time.

: Base map of New Hampshire showing three state capitals: Portsmouth 1st site of capital 1770's, Exeter 2nd site of capital 1780's, Concord current capital-established 1808.


1)Distribute map of New Hampshire. Ask students to identify the current capital of New Hampshire.

2)Have students speculate on the reasons for Portsmouth being the first capital. Possible speculations should include: ocean port, trading center, original settlement, visited by early explorers

3)Have students speculate on the reasons for Exeter being the second capital. Allow time for student discussion. Guide their discussion by asking students to calculate distance from coast. Remind or inform the students of the historical events of the 1770's - 1780's in this area. Ask students to consider the human and physical reasons explaining why the colonists did not move the capital further inland at this time.

4)Have students speculate reasons for the capital at its current location. Guide their discussion by asking students to observe the physical location of Concord. What physical features are predominating? Calculate the distance of Concord from the borders of the state with its neighbors to the north, south, east, and west.

Evaluation/Assessment: Students accurately use map scale to determine distance. Students will write a summary of their speculations using arguments supported by geographic information, which includes the effect of physical features, human characteristics and historical events on the location of the state capital.

: Visit the Capitol Building. Visit the site of one of the former capitals. Investigate the building material used in the construction of the state house. Compare the location of New Hampshire's capital to the capital cities in other states and/or countries.

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.
Thank you.
The authors.

Back to document index

Original file name: 128rtf - converted on Tuesday, 20 October 1998, 20:55

This page was created using TextToHTML. TextToHTML is a free software for Macintosh and is (c) 1995,1996 by Kris Coppieters