20th Century History

8th Grade American Imperialism Lesson

General Info

Created ByJosh Beer
SchoolGoshen-Lempster Cooperative School
LocationLempster, NH

About the Lesson

Subject Area
Lesson/UnitAmerican Imperialism

Using the QFT

Place in the Unit/LessonEnd
Brief description of the unitThe questions were used as a summative assessment of the students' knowledge on American Imperialism.
Final QFocusQuestions that should be asked about American Imperialism at the turn of the 20th Century

Student Work

Student Questions

Priority questions in bold

Group 1

  1. Who was the biggest Imperialist?
  2. When did American Imperialism start?
  3. Why was mark Twain so against Imperialism in America?
  4. Which country rebelled the most?
  5. How did Imperialism start in America?
  6. Who were the Rough Riders?
  7. How big of an impact did Alfred Thayer Mohan during this time?
  8. Who was the most important Imperialist?
  9. Which countries had naval bases for refueling and other purposes?

Group 2

  1. What is imperialism?
  2. What countries were practicing imperialism before America?
  3. When did imperialism end?
  4. Who was involved in imperialism?
  5. What was Seward’s Folly?
  6. What countries did America try to take over/take over during the process of imperialism?
  7. What was the reason for America starting the Spanish American War?
  8. Who were the rough riders?
  9. What was yellow journalism?
  10. What two newspapers were most famous for yellow journalism?
  11. Why was Mahan important during this time?
  12. Who was Queen Lilioukalani?
  13. What did Queen Lilioukalani want?
  14. What does annex mean?
  15. How long have countries been practicing imperialism?
  16. Who led the rough riders?

Group 3

  1. Why did the United States want to annex Hawaii?
  2. Why did Hawaiian natives and Queen Lilioukalani not want the United States to annex Hawaii?
  3. Who is Alfred Thayes Mahan?
  4. What did Alfred Thayes Mahan do that affected imperialism at the turn of the 20th century?
  5. How was Alfred Thayes Mahan’s book influential towards imperialism?
  6. What was Alfred Thayes Mahan’s stance on imperialism?
  7. Why is it so important for America to have overseas bases?
  8. What started the Spanish American War?
  9. Why was Spain mistreating Cubans & Filipinos?
  10. How did the Spanish-American War affect Americans?
  11. Why is the USS Maine important to our history?
  12. Why did Alfred Thayes Mahan have the stance that he did on imperialism?
  13. Did Alfred Thayes Mahan’s book influence imperialism?

Group 4

  1. Why was Mark Twain part of the anti-imperialist league?
  2. What did Theodore Roosevelt do with the Panama Canal?
  3. Who was Theodore Roosevelt?
  4. What were some imperialist things the rough riders do?
  5. What was the name of the book that Mahan?
  6. Why did Suword by Alaska?
  7. When did McKiny get killed?
  8. What were some of the battles that the rough riders fought in?
  9. How long was Theodore Roosevelt in charge of the rough riders?
  10. Where was the longest battle of the Spanish-American war?
  11. Why or why note did people want Hawaii to be annexed?
  12. What is one battle that the rough riders were in?
  13. Why was the book of Mahan so important?
  14. What is considered Seward’s Folly?
  15. Why did we fight the Spanish-American War?
How did Students Use their Questions

Students used their questions to put together a 10 question test that covers the most important parts of American imperialism using priority questions. Students were also asked: “How do these questions show that you have learned about American imperialism at the turn of the 20th century?”


What were your prioritization instructions?

Choose three questions you think are the most important for understanding American Imperialism at the turn of the 20th century. 

Student Comments
  • Our questions show that we have learned about American Imperialism at the turn of the 20th century because we ask questions about specific events that happened, so we must know something about these topics. Also if we ask the questions on a test, usually we will know the answers.
  • Our questions show that we have learned about American Imperialism at the turn of the 20th century because how would we know to ask some of the detailed open-ended questions that we did if we did not know about the subject? The questions ask things that you wouldn’t be able to ask unless you thoroughly sit down and study these subjects.
  • I think that the questions that we picked helped us learn about the turn of the 20th century because we had learned some stuff about the topic and now that we have learned about this topic that we builded off of what we learned and came up with new questions to find answers to your questions.
  • The questions show that I have learned about American Imperialism at the turn of the 20th century because I go more in depth about a topic than I would if I didn’t know anything about American Imperialism.

Teacher Reflections

Using the QFT in this format was a great way to create a summative assessment – it shows that students have learned and gives them a voice in how and what they are being assessed. I told students I reserved the right to alter or add to their questions but I only did for one question. Overall I thought it went really well and that their questions reflected the most essential themes and events from our unit.  The only problem that arose was the fact we didn’t get the full time to discuss and learn about each topic – for example we spent only a 1/3 of class learning about the Roosevelt Corollary. However, this was due to time constraints and nothing to do with the QFT.

So overall I thought it went great – their questions weren’t exactly like mine – however they truly reflected (given our time constraints) a really good understanding of all that we covered in our unit.