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School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education

Where's Abe?

Intended audience: K-1 st


Abraham Lincoln is claimed by three states. Students will learn why and locate these states by shape using an Internet site. While doing this, students will learn about Lincoln's early life and family up to being a lawyer.


Students will:

  • Listen to a story about Abraham Lincoln's early life and discuss.
  • Identify Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois by shapes and letters.
  • Locate and trace Lincoln's early years from Hodgenville, Kentucky to Springfield Illinois.
  • Examine the pattern of the Lincoln family movement and discuss the general direction, eliciting any reasons why the movement was West during that time period.
  • Complete a map of the above using a map key to locate places, label, and connect with lines.
  • Compare and contrast Lincoln's homes, education, chores, interests, family, etc. to students'.
  • Discuss reasons why families move today.

Curriculum Connection

SS1a. identify examples of good citizenship.

SS1a. recognize symbols and leaders of the United States.

SK1b: locate places on a map and globe.

SS3b. recognize people from different times and places.

SS3a: trace family information over time.

SS3b: compare how people of long ago and people today meet similar needs.

SS10b. develop and use skills to communicate with individual and groups.

SS4b: identify directions (e.g., east, south, north, west).

SS4d: explain patterns of movement

SK1f: participate in problem solving simulations using technology.

E1c.2 Being Read To: listen to and discuss every day at least one book or chapter that is longer and more difficult than what they can read independently or with assistance.

E1c.3 Discussing Books: refer explicitly to parts of the text when presenting or defending a claim

E1c.4 Vocabulary: learn new words everyday from talk and books read aloud.

E3a.1 Speaking and Listening: Talking a Lot: talk about their ideas, experiences and feelings; listen to others, signaling comprehension by clarifying, agreeing, empathizing or commenting as appropriate.


Large United States map.

Outline cuts of Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. (see p.5 of National Park Service notebook on Lincoln's home.)


Copies of a map highlighting states above.

PowerPoint of photos taken from New Salem and Lincoln's house in Springfield.

Log cabin photo:

Springfield home:

Links for online state puzzle naming: (at home page, click on States Tutorial-Play)

Recommended Time (Number of class periods/time of class periods)

One 45-minute class period.

Activity Outline (Complete the following sections)

I. Context (Have the students answer the following questions for all documents in the Activity)

a. What type of document is this?

b. What time period do you think this is? When do you think the photo was taken?

d. What is the purpose of this document?

e. What is happening in the photo?

f. Who is the audience for this document?

II. Warm-Up (2-3 sentences)

Teacher asks questions about where Abe was born. Show the log cabin picture and discuss the Document Questions above. Discuss where they were born and compare. Then tell a story about his early life while showing photos in PowerPoint, illustrating with a map of the United States and cut out shapes of the three states. Students will compare their own life with Abe's early years.

III. Activity (6-10 sentences)

After telling story about Abraham Lincoln's early life, in which the teacher indicates he was born in a one room log cabin in Kentucky, moving to Indiana, and then moving to New Salem, where Lincoln helped cut down trees to clear the land to build a new cabin. Also tell about Lincoln working as a clerk in New Salem, working as a postmaster, and surveyor, and then studying law books. Tell about Lincoln then taking everything in two saddlebags and moving to Springfield, to begin his law practice. Have students compare their own birthplaces, first houses, chores, families, education, etc. to Lincoln's. After discussing, ask students why families might move today. Lastly, students will be given maps with the three states and they will use map skills to locate, label, and connect the migration of the Lincoln family.

IV. Evaluation

Teacher will look for completeness of map and student responses.

V. Extensions (Suggest an optional, related activity)

Students who finish early could cut the states apart and then try to put them together as a puzzle.

Students could play a state puzzle on the Internet (use links in "Materials).

Students make a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Lincoln's young life to students.'

Students make a migration make of their lives up to this point in their life.

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