Watauga Settlement

As Americans we recognize the 13 colonies as the origin of our country, however, as Tennesseans we seldom realize our roots began with the Watauga Settlement. By creating a (five-tab foldable, brochure, or mini-book) students will record important terminology, examine primary sources, and read, listen and speak about the effects of the American Revolution on the Watauga Settlement.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Explain using supporting details how the Revolution affected the Watauga Settlement, including:
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 4th grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes, categorize information, and provide...
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Learning objectives: 

In the course of the lesson, students will:

  • use TSLA primary sources, graphic organizers, and group activities to analyze and explain how the American Revolution affected the Watauga Settlement.
Essential and guiding questions: 
  • Students will recall what they learned about the Watauga Settlement (SS 4.25)?
  • What were the events that led to the establishment of Tennessee’s first settlement?
  • Why would it be considered a threat for the WataugaSettlers to make their own government and establish their own rules?
  • Explain the importance of the Watauga Petitions.
  • Why did the settlers of Watauga needprotection?
  • Who agreed to protect the Watauga settlers andwhy?
  • What was the main reason the American Colonies rebelled and fought for their independence in the AmericanRevolution?
  • How did the Revolution affect the Watauga Settlement?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Show students a copy of the Watauga Association Bicentennial Medal. Read Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “They were the first men of American birth to establish a free and independent community on the continent… they successfully solved the difficult problem of self-government.”  Ask students to support with evidence how this coin and the phrase on it connects to today’s lesson. Students can write their responses on an index card as an exit ticket, share their ideas orally with the class or explain their answer to a partner.

Helpful Hints

Materials Needed:

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives Primary Sources page
  • Copy and print Watauga Images handout for directteaching (linked later in the lesson plan)
  • Printed copies of the drawing,“Siege of Fort Watauga, July 20, 1776”, showing Catherine Sherrill scaling the fort wall.
  • Copies of the photo analysis sheet
  • Copies of an excerpt fromthe book The Wataugans: First “Free and Independent Community on the Continent, and the chapter, “The Cherokee War and the End of an Era.”
  • Copy of the Watauga Association Bicentennial Medal