5th Grade New York

New France

This inquiry focuses on the emergence, growth, and collapse of the New France colony in North America. French explorers, missionaries, traders, and settlers established an important presence in North America, beginning with Jacques Cartier’s explorations in 1534 and continuing through the 19th century. The development of the fur-trading industry, along with a relatively stable relationship with Native peoples in North America, peaked around 1710. At that time the French controlled territory stretching west from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains and south from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Over the next five decades, much of the New France colony collapsed, culminating in a French loss in the French and Indian War (known as the Seven Years’ War in Europe).


Compelling Question:

Did the French Lose Out in North America?

Staging the Question:

Examine two maps—one of New France in 1750 and the other of French-speaking North America in 2006*—and speculate about why the maps are so different.

Supporting Question Where in North America did the French explore and settle?

Formative Task Create a chart of French explorers within the area and dates of exploration.

Sources Source A: Maps of French exploration and settlement in North America
Source B: Source bank: Excerpts from accounts of Cartier and Champlain’s expeditions to North America
Source C: Source bank: Excerpts from accounts of French Catholic missions in 17th-century Canada


Supporting Question What relationships developed between Native Americans and the French over the fur trade?

Formative Task List the benefits and costs of the North American fur trade.

Sources Source A: Engraving showing the beaver fur trade
Source B: Engraving showing styles of beaver hats in Europe
Source C: Table showing the price of beaver pelts in Britain, 1713–1763
Source D: Excerpts from “Your People Live Only Upon Cod”


Supporting Question How did the French and Indian War affect the French influence in North America?

Formative Task Make a claim about the consequences of the French and Indian War.

Sources Source A: Map of the French and Indian War
Source B: Deportation Grand-Pré
Source C: Excerpts from an address by Minavavana


Supporting Question Where is French culture represented in North America today?

Formative Task


Summative Performance Task

Argument: Did the French lose out in North America? Construct an argument (e.g., speech, movie, poster, essay) that explains how France lost influence in North America, using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical sources while acknowledging competing perspectives.
Extension: Create a time-lapse map that illustrates the changes in French influence in North America.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Identify examples of French influence and heritage (e.g., province of Quebec and city of New Orleans).

Assess: Evaluate French influence in North America as it applies to today.
Act: Hold a community forum focused on the French influence in North America.