Vermilion Parish 8th Grade Social Studies Curriculum
"Raising the Bar"

Grade 8 Unit 6 Activity 2:  The Louisiana Purchase

Activity 2:  The Louisiana Purchase (GLEs:  65, 73, 78)

Materials List: outline map of major waterways of the U.S., Chain Reaction BLM


Initially, have students trace and label on an outline map the major waterways of the continental interior of the United States, including the Mississippi and its tributaries. In a brainstorming (view literacy strategy descriptions) activity (e.g., Inspiration® software), have students determine the importance of the rivers from both geographical and economic factors. Target the class discussion to the pivotal role New Orleans (trade center) played in the Louisiana Purchase negotiations.


Provide students with a basic graphic organizer (view literacy strategy descriptions) that examines causes and effects that may have influenced negotiations between the representatives of France and the United States.  See the Chain Reaction BLM and sample below.


Chain Reaction: Events Related to Louisiana Purchase




Napoleon Bonaparte  (France)

 Thomas Jefferson  (United States)

Increased use of New Orleans as a port of trade

(Potential for collecting and trading resources from North American interior)

(The continued use of New Orleans as a trading port for the western United States)


Have students write a speech as a supporter for either the interests of Thomas Jefferson or Napoleon. This should be a defense of the choice made regarding the Louisiana Purchase to someone who might be critical of his choice (e.g., Why would Jefferson want the United States to buy the property? Why would Napoleon be willing to sell?). Have students describe these leaders, and describe and explain the importance of this event in the development of Louisiana.


Web Resource

·         Outline map of the waterways of the United States:


Print Resource

·         Richard, Carl J. (1995). The Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana Life Series, No. 7. The Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Louisiana–Lafayette.


Building Background


Unit 6 Interactive Link (Includes online interactives, interactive MS Word and PPT Templates)

Louisiana Site

8th Grade Main Link      Vermilion Parish for Kids!      Hurricanes for Kids!    LA Indians for Kids!    Louisiana for Kids Site   eHomework Pad for Kids!   Testing Site for Kids!


Vermilion Parish Curriculum Site (Correlates with 2008 Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum)


Vermilion Parish Schools (Louisiana)

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