Teacher’s Guide to Across the Ocean


Welcome to the teachers’ guide to the Tennessee History for Kids booklet Across the Ocean [2019-2020 edition].

Please do NOT copy the booklets. That is a violation of our copyright and makes it difficult for us to continue to exist. The reason we sell them for only $2.50 is so teachers will not be tempted to copy the booklets. We print these booklets on non-glossy paper because we want students to write in their booklets and keep them.

If you would like answers to the quiz questions in the booklet, email Bill Carey at bill@tnhistoryforkids.org.


Oconaluftee Indian Village (THFK photo)

Chapters One through Three


There’s a lot of information in these chapters about Native American culture. This can be very difficult to summarize because there isn’t really one “Native American” culture. There is Cherokee culture, Navajo culture, Chickasaw culture, etc.

Oconaluftee Indian Village (THFK photo)

I recommend a visit to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina. If you are able to make it there (and I strongly recommend the place), make sure you also check out the nearby Oconaluftee Indian Village, where you can step into and explore things such as a summer house and a council house.

Jamestown Settlement (THFK photo)

Speaking of Cherokee culture, you can also learn a lot of it at places such as the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and at occasional powwow events such as the ones put on Indian Creek Productions, Red Clay State Historic Park and Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park.

Jamestown Settlement (THFK photo)

It’s pretty far away, but if you ever get a chance to go, check out the Jamestown Settlement, which contains (among many other things) a Powhatan Indian Village. As you can see from the photos on the right and left, there are wonderful examples of wigwams there.


Chapter Four

Semhur/Wikepedia Commons


A few years ago a man named Morgan Sanger created an exact replica of Christopher Columbus’ ship the Nina and turned it into a floating museum. Sanger has passed away now, but the organization he founded (the Columbus Foundation) continues and can be found at www.ninapinta.org.

Charles Hudson Map

The maps on pages 18-19 and 21 are pretty busy. Click on the images on the right and left to see larger versions of them.

For much more detail about de Soto and his journey across the present-day Southeastern United States, click here for a fascinating Tennessee History for Kids virtual tour “In Search of de Soto.”


Chapter Five


Click here for a history channel story from 2015 about new developments in the search to find out what happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Graves at Historic Jamestowne NP
(THFK photo)

If you search on the internet for more information about Jamestown, you may get confused. Let me try to clear this up: The actual site of the Jamestown Colony is now a federal government owned national park called Historic Jamestowne, where the land and structures are heavily protected and where little living history is staged. Because it is so geographically close to the site of the Battle of Yorktown, this park is administratively run as part of another national park called Yorktown Battlefield, which contains and preserves parts of the actual battlefield.

Meanwhile, there are several privately-run historic attractions in the same area that heavily incorporate living history into what they do (and I strongly recommend all of them). One of them is Jamestown Settlement. Another is the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. And a third is Colonial Williamsburg, which is the closest thing to a “living history theme park” in America.


On page 27 I mention Plymouth Rock. This may lead to some obvious questions such as “How big is this rock?” and “Where can you see this rock?”

John O’ Neill/Wikipedia

On your right is a photo of Plymouth Harbor. The dignified structure in the middle houses Plymouth Rock.

On the left is a photo of the actual rock.


Chapter Six


Rob Rambo’s portrayal of Little Carpenter (page 31) makes an appearance in the Tennessee History for Kids video “Happy Times at Fort Loudoun.” Click here to see it.


Chapter Seven


There’s a lot of material packed into this chapter. Here are some supplemental questions that you might want to ask your students after they read it:

Who is Georgia named for? What colony was known for its toleration of Catholics? What colony was associated with Quakers? What colony was split into two colonies?

By the way, this chapter is repeated in the fall fourth grade booklet called Upon a Pivot, because I don’t necessarily think students will remember every single thing that they learned in third grade when they get to fourth. Just FYI!


Chapter Eight


On page 42 it is mentioned that Dorchester, Massachusetts, was the site of the first elementary school in America. It was called the Mather School.

Get this: It is still there, and still an operating elementary school! Click here to be taken to its website.


Chapter Nine


Do realize that students will (or should, at least) learn more about slavery in grades 4, 5, 8 and the high school U.S. history class. They will learn more about the slave trade, and about how slavery spread across the United States, and about the conditions of slavery.

It is, however, important they learn the basics about what slavery was and how it was similar and different than indentured servanthood. After all, more than half of the colonists who came to the United States came as indentured servants–click here to learn more about this.


Chapters 10 and 11


I will admit that I love writing about Thomas “Big Foot” Spencer. Click here to read a column that I wrote for Tennessee Magazine about the man.

THFK photo

By the way, among the places named for Spencer are the town of Spencer, Spencer’s Creek in Williamson County, and Spencer’s Mountain (or Hill) in Cumberland County.

There is a rock high above I-40 in Crab Orchard near where he was killed. In my opinion the rock even looks like the head of a large man. Click on it on the right and ask your students what they think.

Click here for a video where “History Bill” meets Daniel Boone and gets his help through the Cumberland Plateau.

Chapter 12


The social studies standards didn’t necessarily require that I included the content of chapter 12. But I thought we badly needed to address a few obvious things about life in the frontier that may not be included among the list of names and dates.

An event at Rock Castle
THFK photo

The best way to learn some of the content in this chapter is to go to a living history event that covers the frontier period. Here are a few suggestions, in no particular order:

* Rocky Mount, in Sullivan County

* Daniel Smith Days at Rock Castle, in Sumner County

* Heritage Days in Manskers Station, in Davidson County

* The Museum of Appalachia, in Anderson County

* Sycamore Shoals State Park, in Carter County

* The Tennessee History Festival at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Nashville


Chapter 13


Click on the right and left to see larger versions of the maps on pages 66 and 67.

Click here to see a pretty funny video starring “History Bill” about Tennessee geography.

You may scratch your head about the photograph of the oil well on page 68. As it turns out, there are 11 counties in Tennessee that have oil wells! Click here to learn more about this.

By the way, Grainger County is so famous for its tomatoes that it even has an annual tomato festival. Click here to see some photos from it.

Chapter 14


Click here for a virtual tour of the Musgrave Pencil Factory in Shelbyville.

Also, if you would like to buy some pencils with a specially made logo or name on the side of them, I strongly recommend Musgrave!

Chapter 15


Chapter 15 tackles what I believe to be the most difficult Tennessee social studies standard–not just for third grade, but for all 13 grades. Standard 3.15 requires students to “interpret a chart, graph, or resource map of major imports and exports in Tennessee.”

I spent quite a bit of time on this topic, and left about a dozen voice mails with officials at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. (I finally gave up on them.) However, the folks at the Business and Economic Resource Center at MTSU did help me to get this chart (to the right). I am grateful for their help.

Chapter 16


The photo on page 80 was taken in front of the Pancake Pantry restaurant in Nashville.

In case the students ask, the toy store photographed on page 81 is the Phillips Toy Mart in Nashville, which may be the largest privately owned toy store left in the state.

TN State Library and Archives photo

Chapter 17


THFK photo

Click on the right and the left for larger versions of the very interesting photographs on pages 86 and 87.