Settling the Backcountry: South Carolina's
Colonial Expansion and Population Growth
WebQuest Teacher Guide for 8th Grade United States
History Designed for Teaching American History in South Carolina
US Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement
English settlers founded Charleston in the late 17th
Century, establishing an American colony, which grew in prosperity
and influence. Of course, wealthy British-born rice planters dominated
political and economic life in the colony, but South Carolina was
hardly a homogenous lot. English settlers encountered a myriad of
native Indian cultures long established in the Carolinas. Planters
imported vast numbers of African slaves-highly influential in developing
the rice culture, which fueled the colony's economic engine. Lastly,
South Carolina's backcountry settlement plan attracted disparate
European groups including Germans who settled the South Carolina
Settling the Backcountry takes an in-depth look at
South Carolina's backcountry settlement plan as it applies to the
establishment of the old Saxe Gotha Township, which grew into Lexington
County. Taught in the context of South Carolina colonial history,
Settling the Backcountry provides rich guided inquiries of primary
and secondary sources. Activities involve students with primary
source maps, population census data, and historical scholarship
aimed at stimulating complex thinking skills.
South Carolina Standards
Settling the Backcountry aligns with the following
South Carolina content and process standards:
* 8.2.1 Explain the influence of physical geography on South Carolina
* 8.2.3: Compare and contrast early European settlements in South
Carolina and the American colonies, including political, economic,
and social institutions.
* Establish chronological order in constructing one's own historical
* Utilize visual and mathematical data presented in charts, tables,
pie and bar graphs, flow charts, Venn diagrams, and other graphic
* Identify the author or source of the historical document or narrative.
* Interrogate historical data.
* Employ quantitative analysis.
* Construct sound historical interpretations with evidence.
* Communicate in written form using appropriate writing standards.
Student Challenge Tasks
Settling the Backcountry includes challenges, which
emphasize the type of historical inquiry professional historians
do. Specifically, students complete three directed tasks:
1. Adventures in Footnotes.
2. Lexington County Map Challenge
3. Lexington County Population Trends Challenge.
Adventures in Footnotes: Finding Saxe Gotha
Finding Saxe Gotha introduces students to the wonderful
world of historical scholarship. Adventures in Footnotes takes students
behind the scenes to where history is really brought to life. Through
a series of four activities using primary source maps, surveys,
and other colonial records preserved in the South Carolina Department
of Archives and History, Finding Saxe Gotha helps students construct
historical interpretations from primary source "facts."
Lexington County map challenges take students back
in time to Lexington County as it grew from a backcountry settlement
to a modern South Carolina county. Map challenges expose students
to a series of primary source maps. Students analyze maps to examine
change over time; they look for clues on the maps to place them
in chronological order; they also read primary source documents,
locating references on the map. Students can find the map challenge
as they study Lexington County's colonial history.
Population Trends Challenge
With the Population Trends Challenge, students analyze
simple population statistics from Lexington County's Colonial settlement
to the present. Population Trends includes three tasks: 1) Line
Graphing, 2) Speculating About Missing Data, and 3) Researching
Encourage students to be very curious about what
they learn. Students should also be very critical about what they
read, asking questions about the reliability of historical resources,
about the validity of historical conclusions and interpretations.
As students learn more about South Carolina's backcountry expansion,
they should think about questions they have. First, students should
talk to their colleagues about their questions. If students cannot
determine the answers to their questions, or if they want to challenge
interpretations made in Settling the Backcountry, then they should
Submit e-mail questions to Cosmo who will reply in
24-48 hours with answers. Students should be informed, though, that
sometimes Cosmo may not have all the answers. He will tell students
as much as he knows, and will give students clues about how to learn
more. Quite frequently, Cosmo will return question for question.
Hopefully, Cosmo's questions and answers will encourage deeper thinking