Key Words: Regional change, Paul Revere, place
National Standard: 17
State Standard: 15
The chart "Paul Revere's Ride."
Enough current maps of Massachusetts for every two students to share one.
One copy of the poem "Barbara Frietchie" by John Greenleaf Whittier for each student.
One copy of the chart "Finding Geography in Literature" for each student.
One copy of Lanterns in the North Church Steeple by Paul Revere for each student for the Extension/Enrichment activity.
Procedure: Read Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride" aloud to the class. Direct students to take notes on geographic references in the poem. Share notes.
National Standard: 17(Applying geography to interpret the past)
State Standard: 15(Applying geography to interpret the past)
Teaching Level:Middle School
Introduction:Using literary works is one way to interest students in looking at world events, past, present, and future, through a geographic eye. Literature set in an historic time period provides students with an understanding of how geographic contexts have influenced events and conditions in the past.
Objective:Students will use maps and literature to understand geographic concepts.
Materials:One copy of "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for each student.
Ask students to pair up. Distribute a copy of the poem "Paul Revere's Ride," a map of Massachusetts, and the chart "Paul Revere's Ride" to each pair of students.
Direct students to complete all but the last column on the chart "Paul Revere's Ride."
Discuss the visual image of the region between Boston and Lexington including travel time, distance, and geographic characteristics.
Direct students to examine the map of Massachusetts more closely in order to find information for the last column on the chart (examples: bridges, highways, cultural landmarks, colleges, etc.). Discuss the visual image of the region in the present and note the changes. Discuss reasons for these changes (examples: population growth, technology, etc.). Discuss what other sources of information can provide descriptions of a region (examples: journals, letters, diaries, works of art).
Draw conclusions. Some example conclusions: Literature
can be a rich source of geographic information about
a region. Changes in geography over time can be found
in many different places.
Evaluation/Assessment:Read the poem "Barbara Frietchie" aloud to the class. Give each student a copy of the poem. Direct them to fill in the chart "Finding Geography in Literature."
Extension/Enrichment:Compare Paul Revere's personal account of his ride in "Lanterns in the North Church Steeple" with Longfellow's account in his poem of Revere's ride. Include at least three similarities and three differences.
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.
Paul Revere's Ride
One of American history's most famous journey is Paul Revere's Ride. Paul Revere tells one version, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow tells another. Use Longfellow's poem and a map of Massachusetts to complete this chart on Paul Revere's ride.
From /To /Method of Travel /Distance/ Travel Time / Speed /Place Characteristics
Physical Geography /
Cultural or Human Geograph
Physical Geography / Cultural or Human Geography
Climate: / Land marks:
Land: / People:
Vegetation: / Place names:
/ Evidence of Economic activity:
/ Evidence of cultural values:
"If I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out."
Lanterns in the North Church Steeple
April 18, 1775
Revere, who had been active in the Sons of Liberty and had taken part in the Boston Tea Party before carrying news of the event to New York City, was an express rider for the Boston Committee of Public Safety at the time of the battles of Lexington and Concord. Although he and his compatriot William Dawes never reached Concord, Dr. Samuel Prescott, whose aid they enlisted after a chance meeting on the way, reached the town with the news that the British were coming.
Revere wrote this account in a 1798 letter to Dr. Jeremy Belknap, one of America's first historians.
....We had got nearly half way. Mr. Dawes and
the doctor stopped to alarm the people of the house.
I was about one hundred rods ahead when I saw two
men in nearly the same situation as those officers
were near Charlestown. I called for the doctor and
Mr. Dawes to come up. In an instant I was surrounded
by four. They had placed themselves in a straight
road that inclined each way; they had taken down a
pair of bars on the north side of the road, and two
of them were under a tree in the pasture. The doctor
being foremost, he came up and we tried to get past
them, but they kept being armed with pistols and swords,
they forced us into the pasture. The doctor jumped
his horse over a low stone wall and got to Concord.
I observed a wood at a small distance and made for that. When I got there, out started six officers on horseback and ordered me to dismount. One of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from and what my name was. I told him. He asked me if I was an express. I answered in the affirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston. I told him, and added that their troops had catched aground in passing the river, and that there would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the country all the way up. He immediately rode towards those who stopped us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop. One of them, whom I afterwards found to be a Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name and told me he was going to ask me some questions, and if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then ordered me to mount my horse, after searching me for arms. He then ordered them to advance and to lead me in front. When we got to the road, they turned down towards Lexington. When we got about one mile, the major rode up to the officer that was leading me, and told him to give me to the sergeant. As soon as he took me, the major ordered him, if I attempted to run, or anybody insulted them, to blow my brains out...
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