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Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: War of 1812

Grade Level: 6-12

Common Core Standards
RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Content Areas: Reading, Social Studies

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes

Learning Goals: Students will become familiar with the reasons smuggling became common in early 19th century America.


  1. Introduce the article with a discussion about life in the early 19th century. America produced mostly raw materials and traded them for finished and luxery goods from around the world.
  2. Introduce the term “smuggle.” Point out that we usually think of smuggling of illegal goods like drugs, cigarettes, and people. Point out that smuggling could be anything that was not allowed to be imported.
  3. Introduce the term “embargo.” Embargos have been used throughout history in an effort to influence others (Iran is a current example).
  4. Distribute “Smuggling” articles and worksheets.
  5. Have students read the article independently or as a whole class.
  6. After they have had a chance to read the article, have them answer the comprehension questions on the worksheet.
  7. After they have had a chance to respond to the worksheet questions, review their responses together. Clarify or correct as necessary.

Assessments: Evaluate worksheets for accuracy and effort.

Materials/Resources: Multiple copies of Smuggling article and worksheets

Special Considerations: The article could be read aloud in pair work or as a whole class if it is beyond the independent reading level of students.

Extensions: Interested students may want to learn more about products that were produced and perhaps smuggled from your location. Interested students may want to learn more about the history of smuggling, especially during Prohibition and today.