Using Freeform to ACTIVATE our destiny.

Ninth grade students are beginning a unit on American Westward Expansion. Prior to beginning the unit, students analyze an image to "activate" their brains for the upcoming content to be learned. Students opened a board on Freeform and inserted the artwork, American Progress.

American Progress by John Gast (1872)

Student's used the markup tool to circle any details that they could connect to westward expansion. They made comments on the board explaining their thought process & why/how it was significant. Students were given 5-10 minutes to complete this initial activity.

Once student's were provided with all the content, toward the end of the unit, they reopened their freeform boards and examined their previously made analysis. Now, with more knowledge, students remarked up in a different color making more specific connections.


Prompts were also provided, for example:

  • What on the image can be connected to the Homestead Act?
  • What on the image represents Manifest Destiny?
  • What on the image can be connected to the Pacific Railway Act?
  • How is the United States' Indian Policy depicted?
  • What important landforms are shown in the image?

This activity can be adjusted for different content using various images.


Tagged in: History

All Replies

Posted on November 07, 2023

Super use of Freeform for analysis of a primary source! I love the start and finish of your lesson. Really shows the learning!

Posted on November 10, 2023

Heather this is probably one of my favorite things we've come up with together because it was a low lift strategy with a high impact. Providing students space to process their thoughts is a great way to engage them and give everyone a voice. You are a rockstar! 🤩

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