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Trailing Desoto - Then and Now Project
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Overview
This online thematic project provides classes an opportunity to conduct research in order to compare and contrast the world Hernando DeSoto saw in the 1500s to our world today. From the geographic data in DeSoto's journals and in Spanish writings of his time, researchers in 1996 were able to locate his trails as the harbors and mountains, rivers, and lakes "then" remain "now." Students in this project will use this information, located at http://www.floridahistory.com/, as the main information source to develop their comparisons. However, students should also use other online as well as print sources for additional and comparative facts.

Project Summary
History books and classroom lessons tell of Hernando De Soto's efforts to colonize North America and his search for the Pacific Ocean as a northern passage through the New World to trade Spain's fortunes with China. His chronicles tell of his travels through the lands of what would become 14 states of the United States, including the six southeastern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. In the study of U.S. history, students record Desoto as just one more fact to learn, totally unrelated to the world of today. Yet, if DeSoto were to retrace his path today, what would he see? How different is the land, the occupants, or the means of travel?

This online thematic project provides classes an opportunity to conduct research in order to compare and contrast the world DeSoto saw in the 1500s to our world today. From the geographic data in DeSoto's journals and in Spanish writings of his time, researchers in 1996 were able to locate his trails as the harbors and mountains, rivers and lakes, "then" remain "now." Students in this project will use this information, located at http://www.floridahistory.com/, as the main information source to develop their comparisons. However, students should also use other online as well as print sources for additional and comparative facts.

Each class will select one of the six states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina) to study the "then" and "now" of a location along DeSoto's trail in that state. Using electronic and print resources, class members will work in small groups to present descriptions and locate pictures for their assigned area of either 1) flora and fauna, 2) civilizations, or 3) navigational trails. The class will compile the information and pictures to comprise their submission to the Trailing DeSoto-Then and Now Project on GRITS Online.

Grade Level - 4-8

Project Objectives
This thematic project focuses on changes in the Southeast from the time of Hernando DeSoto's exploration to the present. Using research skills, expository writing, and map skills, students will work in teams to create electronic files comparing the "Then" (DeSoto's time) to the "Now" (today). Topics to be studied include the flora and fauna, civilizations, and navigational trails along DeSoto's path through the six southeastern states.

Subjects
Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, Creative Writing, Mathematics, Technology


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Updated 8/26/01