Lesson Plan: Geography and Travel

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SUBJECT AREA: German – Developing/Transitioning Level

DURATION: varies

STANDARDS: all five C’s


Students will

  • Learn Vocabulary and phrases as they relate to geography and travel.
  • Be able to give locations and directions, using maps.
  • Experience working with historic materials.
  • Learn about the early settlement history of their state.



Students will brainstorm geography and travel vocabulary, verbs of motion, terms of direction


  1. With partners, students will study the map of Wisconsin/Michigan and
    1. find cities and rivers that are spelled differently from today.
    2. find where they live today and describe the location of their hometown in relation to other places on the map.
  2. A very common immigration route from Germany to Wisconsin in the 19th century was across the Atlantic to New York (by ship), to Buffalo (by train), to Milwaukee (by boat), to the final destination in Wisconsin (by various means).
    1. Students will use the US and Wisconsin maps to describe a typical immigration trip in the 19th century “auf Deutsch.”


Depending on language skills, students will read different sections of the article on Wisconsin in the Rathgeber für Auswanderungslustige (p. 118-121). Reading approaches could include the following:

  • In a specific passage, students will identify (e.g.) a) names of locations, b) English words, c) rivers, cities, mountains, county names, etc.
  • Mystery city (or river): Students read a passage with the name of the described city left out. What is the city?
  • Students will discuss in German or English, depending on skill level:
  • What was different/the same in Wisconsin in 1847 compared with today?
  • Where in Wisconsin would they have settled, had they been new immigrants, and why?
  • Where did their ancestors settle in the United States? Where did they come from and by what means?


Preparation: Students will read phrases from the travel and other sections in the Amerikanischer Dolmetscher

  • With a partner or in a group, they will act out dialogues in the various travel situations an immigrant might have found himself in, using the phrase book (in German).

© Max Kade Institute for German American Studies at the University of Wisconsin/Madison

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