Content & Approach


Crossroads of Empire features two, one-week workshops for forty teachers each to run July 11-15 and July 18-22, 2011. The workshops will combine leading scholarship, key selected readings, and Fort Niagara’s material resources, specifically its buildings, interpretive programs, and the site itself, to introduce participants to the history of European-Native interaction, imperial conflict, and the westward expansion of the United States. Lectures on key topics and events relevant to the workshop’s larger themes will coordinate with pre-readings from seminal works, daily primary source readings, curriculum development sessions, and hands-on demonstrations at the Fort. Scholars have long investigated the interaction between Europeans and Native peoples in North America, and this workshop seeks to employ one of the key sites of these relationships to deepen participants’ understanding of the theme. Workshop participants will find the material studied useful in their teaching of Native peoples’ roles in early America, colonial settlement in the United States, the wars that won American independence, and westward expansion.

Teachers from many different grade levels will work together in this workshop to create teaching materials and employ them in their daily instruction. Our goal is to provide teachers with content background as well as specific models for innovative teaching, whether in rural Kansas, western New York, suburban Phoenix, or anywhere in the United States. In this way, their students will benefit from invigorated teachers informed by recent scholarship who will be employing creative, novel teaching techniques. Topics and teaching methods learned at Old Fort Niagara can be applied and adapted in classrooms across the United States during units on native peoples, colonial America, the Revolution, and westward expansion, and are consistent with individual states’ Social Studies standards. For example, the workshop meets these standards from three different states:

The workshop meets these standards from three different states:

Kansas: US and World History:

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By the end of the Fourth Grade: Benchmark 2: The student understands the importance of the experiences of groups of people who have contributed to the richness of heritage.

By the end of the Sixth Grade: Benchmark 1, Indicator 4: compares and contrasts the impact of European settlement from an American Indian and European point of view; Indicator 6: explains key conflicts during the early settlement of America (e.g. colonists vs. American Indians, French and Indian War).

By the end of the Eighth Grade: Benchmark 1, Indicator 1: explains the territorial expansion of the United States between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected relations with external powers and American Indians; Indicator 8: analyzes causes and long-term results of the War of 1812.

By the end of the Eleventh Grade: Benchmark 2, Indicator 2: analyzes the major political and strategic factors that led to the American victory in the Revolutionary War; Indicator 7: describes the shifts in the U.S. government’s policy toward American Indians in the first half of the 19th century.



New York State: Standard 1: History of the United States and New York:

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Key Idea 3: Study about the major social, political, economic, cultural, and religious developments in New York State and United States history involves learning about the important roles and contributions of individuals and groups.

Elementary: gather and organize information about the important accomplishments of individuals and groups, including Native American Indians, living in their neighborhoods and communities.

Intermediate: complete well-documented and historically accurate case studies about individuals and groups who represent different ethnic, national, and religious groups, including Native American Indians, in New York State and the United States at different times and in different locations.

Commencement: compare and contrast the experiences of different ethnic, national, and religious groups, including Native American Indians, in the United States, explaining their contributions to American society and culture; research and analyze the major themes and developments in New York State and US history (e.g., colonization and settlement; Revolution and New National Period…)



Arizona: Social Studies Standards

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Strand 1: American History

Concept 3:  Exploration & Colonization:  The varied causes and effects of exploration, settlement, and colonization shaped regional and national development of the U.S.

           Grade 5: PO 1.  Recognize that Native American tribes resided throughout North America before the period of European exploration and colonization.

Concept 4:  Revolution & a New Nation:  The development of American constitutional democracy grew from political, cultural, and economic issues, ideas, and events.

           Grade 5: PO 1.  Describe the significance of the following events leading to

the American Revolution  a. French and Indian War; b. Proclamation of 1763.

Concept 5:  Westward Expansion:  Westward expansion, influenced by political, cultural, and economic factors, led to the growth and development of the U.S.

           High School. PO 2.  Analyze how the following events affected the political transformation of the developing nation: b. War of 1812

           PO 3.  Identify how economic incentives and geography influenced early American explorations: a. explorers (e.g., Lewis and Clark, Pike,               Fremont); b. fur traders; d. missionaries

           PO 4.  Describe the impact of European-American expansion on native peoples.


This workshop is constructed around four key components:

(1) lectures from leading scholars addressing the workshop’s themes of Native-European interaction, imperial rivalry, winning American independence, and westward expansion

(2) work sessions focusing on research into key historic documents

(3) hands-on demonstrations by the interpretive staff at Old Fort Niagara that illustrate the material presented in lectures and work sessions

(4) curriculum development sessions where participants draft and demonstrate teaching techniques based on the material that they have engaged.

These components build successively upon each other to provide a broad knowledge base, detailed information, and practical applications that allow each teacher to improve his or her classroom instruction.

Work sessions focused on research and curricular projects will include time for individual research based upon pre-selected historic documents and time for group work where participants will collaborate on analyzing the material and crafting lesson plans. Each group will be responsible for a final product each day that will go into that group’s portfolio. At the workshop’s conclusion, each group will evaluate their portfolio and determine the best examples lesson plans to emerge from their work for presentation to the workshop as a whole. During all of these sessions the Master Teacher and Project Director will guide participants in creating their research conclusions and lesson plans, and help participants to engage the workshop’s larger themes. The Master Teacher will provide formal feedback, in the form of written comments, on each group’s daily portfolio. Informal feedback from the Master Teacher and Project Director will be a continuous and important part of the workshop.