Smithsonian

Step One

Discussion and Prediction

Prompt a class discussion using the following question: When people choose to settle somewhere, what are some of the things that influence the decision? Ask students to consider, more specifically, where the first Europeans settled in North American and why these areas were desirable. (Students might mention proximity to point of arrival, presence of water sources for nourishment and travel, abundance of fish and game, condition of soil for farming, and proximity to other people.) Record the students’ responses on chart paper.

Now continue the discussion by asking: What characteristics of the land in North America might have made some areas less desirable places to settle? (Students might mention mountains, deserts, etc.) Record the students’ responses on chart paper.

Using information gathered in the discussion, ask students to predict which of the United States was settled last. Record the responses on chart paper.