Lesson plans by Holly Hurd and Dixie Hayes with Joel Eastman

These lesson plans are designed for Middle School students, grades 6-8, and focus on content from the book Settling the Maine Wilderness, by Walter Macdougall, about settlement of the interior regions of Maine in the years following the American Revolution. They are particularly well-suited to Maine Studies classes and address a variety of broad themes such as settlement, economics, statehood, community organizations, transportation, land use, and mapping. The book relates the contributions of Moses Greenleaf, Maine’s first mapmaker, and describes his role in furthering the development of Maine in the early nineteenth century. Greenleaf mapped and surveyed parts of the wilderness regions of Maine, and he also collected and published geographical information to help promote settlement of the state. He was a visionary who foresaw, and attempted to address, the challenges inherent in people living and thriving in Maine.

These lessons are meant to make the information in Macdougall’s book accessible to schoolchildren since Greenleaf’s life and activities exemplify historical themes relevant for students learning about their state, or for any student of history. An accompanying illustrated booklet, The Moses Greenleaf Primer, available through the Osher Map Library as a supplement to these lessons, describes the ideas in Settling the Maine Wilderness in a format that is engaging for young students. The lesson plans have been field tested by eight different groups of schoolchildren from 5th to 8th grades, and the response has been very positive.

How to Use the Lesson Plans

These lesson plans were written for Middle School students, generally in grades 6-8, but both older and younger students could also benefit from much of the information here and lessons can easily be adapted to a range of ages and abilities. The reading level for some of the lessons may be challenging for fourth and fifth graders, but some of the material could be accessed by those as young as third grade with some support. Extensions are provided in most of the lessons for older students or for advanced students who are particularly interested in the topics and would like to do and know more.

Each lesson has a section describing how the teacher can prepare for the lesson, including reading material, and what to photocopy and locate before the class. The lesson’s activities are described in detail and a method of assessing student learning is suggested for each. Supporting materials such as graphic organizers, readings, maps, and worksheets are provided for each lesson. Items that are needed or useful for all the lessons, such as the “Introduction to Moses Greenleaf “ and background about “The Times” in which he lived, are included under a separate heading “Supplemental Materials for all Lesson Plans.” Teacher keys are provided for all student worksheets.


Instructions for use of Moses Greenleaf Lesson Plans

Educational Materials and Lesson Plans

Supplemental Materials

The following are supplemental materials that are needed, or can be used for many of the lessons.

History of the Project

The .pdf below describes the background and evolution of the Lesson Plans as well as details about the lesson’s writers.


Author Walter Macdougall has been a steady and enthusiastic supporter, always ready to help and encourage in whatever ways were needed. Walter, of course, was the one who first introduced us all to Moses Greenleaf, and educated us about the importance of Greenleaf’s life in his book Settling the Maine Wilderness. Walter has also engaged us in many fascinating discussions about Moses Greenleaf over the years that went beyond the book’s content. Thanks also to Osher Map Library staff persons for help setting up the website.

Special thanks to the teachers who originally participated in the workshop and wrote lessons, parts of which were revised and incorporated into the final lesson plans that appear on the Osher Map Library website: Julie Anderson, Holly Hurd, Jessica Graham, Jonathan Graham, and Roxann Montgomery. The contribution of their ideas and writings were an important part of the development of these lesson plans. Thanks also to Lena Champlin, who graciously spent many hours creating the drawings for The Moses Greenleaf Primer.

The students in Dixie Hayes class, Josh Medrano, Harry Pershing, Claire Nicholson, Lydia Wickard, Nathaniel Harrington, Blaine Ventry, Libby George, and Maggie Reed, contributed many good insights that provided significant help with revisions and development of these lesson plans. Thanks also to teachers Steve Hill, Deb Crocker, Darryl Ellis, Bill Hale, Lisa Nelson, and their Social Studies classes for their contributions in field-testing some of the lessons. Special thanks to teacher Dixie Hayes, who graciously and enthusiastically committed a year of classroom time to Moses Greenleaf.

Lesson plans about a cartographer required the use of maps. Richard D’Abate, Executive Director of the Maine Historical Society, kindly gave the Osher Map Library permission to use the maps created for the The Maine Bicentennial Atlas: An Historical Survey (1976) in the published lesson plans and to place them on the library’s website. The bulk of the maps in the atlas were created by cartographer Dr. Richard D. Kelly, Jr., who enthusiastically supported the use of his maps for these lessons. The contemporary maps in the Atlas were drawn by student cartographers at the University of Maine at Farmington–Mark Adelson, Dale Dorr, Loius Mitchell, Baychar C. Morris, John B. Poisson, and Kenneth Shaw.