Grades 3-5: Social Science Lesson Plan
- Explain the importance of waterways to the settlement of the United States
- Describe the kinds of vessels that have been used on U.S. waterways
- Discuss the role of waterways in transportation and recreation today
The United States has approximately 25,000 miles of inland, coastal, and intracoastal waterways and channels. About half of these are commercial transportation routes. Many waterways are also used for recreational travel. Methods of travel on U.S. waterways have changed during history. Bark and wooden canoes and rafts were common forms of travel for Native Americans. Trading in furs and other commodities took place largely by canoes and rafts during the Colonial period. Industrialization brought the development of steam ships and tug boats that could push or pull barges. Today, modern tows push barges full of heavy freight such as oil, gasoline, coal, and agricultural products along important shipping routes that link international waters with U.S. waterways. Barge transportation is a very fuel-efficient shipping method compared to truck and rail transportation. Gasoline-powered fishing boats, speed boats, jet skis, and ferries provide recreation and transportation on many waterways.
As a result of this lesson, students develop a map that identifies waterways that have been important in the transportation of goods and people in the United States. Students will use color to show how the use of waterways has changed over time, and will diagram the methods of water travel through history.Published by Discovery Education. © 2012. All rights reserved.
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