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Teaching Guide: Exploring the French and Indian War

This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Perspectives on the French and Indian War, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.

Discussion questions

  1. Choose five days from British soldier Luke Gridley’s diary. Compare his experience to that of Sergeant Holden in Holden’s journal. What can we learn from these sources about soldiers’ experience of the war?

  2. Use the letter to William Pitt and the British history of the war to learn about the British perspective on the war. What do the sources tell us about England’s reason for fighting? Are the sources biased?

  3. Use the account of speeches and treaties to learn about the Native American perspective on the war. Why did they fight? What did they hope to win?

  4. Use the letter at the end of George Washington’s diary and the map to learn about the French perspective on the war. Why did they fight? What did they hope to win?

  5. Analyze the medal commemorating the capture of Montreal. What symbols appear on the medal? What do they represent? Do we use similar symbols today?

Classroom activities

Divide the class into three groups: Native Americans, French, and British. Have each group read the primary sources relevant to their assigned role and discuss their position in the war. What did they stand to gain? Why did they fight? Moderate a debate between the three groups about which one should win the war and why. Have the class vote on the winner of the debate. Then lead a discussion on the actual outcomes of the war. Did the “correct” side win?

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