French & Indian War: Causes & Effects


The French & Indian War is complex and fascinating to some, but a waste of time and unfortunate necessity before covering the American Revolution to others.  One can spend weeks and weeks on it (such in a course on the relationship between Europe & the US I took at the University of Erlangen in Germany) but realistically US history teachers need to cover it in a matter of days.

Here is my attempt to cover it in two days, focusing mainly on causes & effects, both intended and unintended.  My students did a fabulous job predicting and making decisions remarkably similar to the actual historical events– with a few key exceptions (notably the Proclamation of 1763).

Positives: These two lessons went very well, even with my more difficult classes.   Students have a fair amount of independence and get to be “experts” on their topic.

Negatives: Not everyone did the homework, but it’s not impossible to do the day 2 lesson without completed homework– just go over it with the class.  Some students also had trouble seeing how little things– like the stories– connected to the big picture.  Explicit explanation helped, as did the graphic organizers.

Unit Name: Causes of the Revolution
Lesson Plan Title: The Essential Question Day within the Unit #:
“What caused the French & Indian War?”


State Standard(s):


US I.1 A …impact of the French & Indian War

Lesson Objective(s): The student will be able to:                                  (Include Resources)


  • Identify cause & effect relationships
  • Explain the source of conflict between the French, Native Americans & English that led to the French & Indian War
  • Empathize with historical individuals (real and generalized historical archetypes) to identify their motivations


Conflict in the West handouts for students (at the end)

Causes of the French & Indian War Graphic Organizer (at the end)

Causes of the F&I War Homework (at the end)



Ohio Valley

Lesson                                                                                                                    Time
Do Now (5 mins): Students will answer the question to “What things can cause a war?”  The teacher will ask students to share their answers.  Students may say things such as self-defense, revenge, money, or fighting over land.  The teacher will then explain that they are going to learn about the causes of the French & Indian War and present the mastery objectives.


Problem Solving: Conflict in the West (10 minutes): Students will independently read one of the four character sheets and answer the questions on the worksheet. 

Graphic Organizer/Report Out (15 minutes): When students are finished, the teacher will give all students a copy of the graphic organizer, which she will fill out with them on the overhead.  The teacher will solicit responses from students who read the related documents to help fill in the G.O.  The teacher will fill in gaps or clear up any confusion.  Explaining the “action” section and filling in the “why did it cause conflict?” section should be straightforward.  For the “effect” section, students will be asked to share their theories about the actions– some students will probably guess what actually happened, and the teacher will fill in the rest.

Think-Pair-Share (10-15 minutes): Students will receive the “which side will you choose?” worksheet and will briefly work individually to decide which side of the conflict Native American tribes would choose.  They will write their own answer, share with a partner, discuss, and then report out to the class.  The class may be split but will probably lean more heavily toward the French.  The teacher will explain that Native Americans were indeed also split, but leaned toward the French. 

Accommodations for Special Needs and ARL Students:
Graphic organizer, Visuals , Teacher modelling notes


Assessment Strategies (Traditional/Authentic):Working towards proficiency
Students will be assessed on their class discussion and the content on their worksheet.


Their class work will also be part of their portfolio they create for this unit.

Students will complete the homework sheet (last page) reviewing the material and previewing the next topic, the impact of the war

Conflict in the West: 1

You are Susanna Boyd, an English colonist living in Virginia.  Just like most people in your town, your parents came to America as indentured servants and worked very hard for seven years growing tobacco for a rich family in Virginia.  When your parents’ contracts were up, they received clothes, tools and money to buy new land.  They have a small farm in Western Virginia where they grow corn and raise pigs.  You have grown up with plants and animals your whole life, and you are looking forward to getting married and raising a family on your own farm.

Your parents want to be able to give you some land to start your own farm, but they barely have enough land for themselves.  They cannot afford to give you any of their land.  They also can’t afford to buy you land, because it is so expensive.  Europeans have been settling in Virginia since the 1600s and all the land is owned by someone—someone who will only sell their land if they can make a profit.  It feels sometimes like you’ll have to live on your parents’ farm forever.

One day you are talking to your friends after church, and your friend Abby tells you that she is planning to marry the blacksmith’s son, Roger.  Roger says that he has saved up a little money to buy land.  It definitely isn’t enough to buy land here in the civilized part of Virginia, but way out west in the Ohio Valley, land is very cheap.  The Ohio Company sells land for less than half of what it is near the coast.  Roger and Abby will be able to get married and start their own form in Ohio.  They suggest that when you get married, you should move to the Ohio Valley to live near them.

You’re not sure about this idea.  You’ve heard that the Native Americans out west try to kill settlers and burn their farms.  You’ve also heard that there are huge bears and dangerous snakes.  Are they just rumors, or are those true?  If these rumors aren’t true, living in the Ohio Valley sounds great.  The land is very cheap and the climate is similar to Virginia.

Why do people like Susanna, Abby & Roger want to move to the Ohio Valley?

Do you think Abby & Roger should move to the Ohio Valley?  Why or why not?

Conflict in the West: 2

Your name is Jacques Gladieux and you are a French fur trader living in New France (see the map on the right).  You have lived in New France for six years, trading with the Native Americans.  The natives trap animals with valuable fur such as foxes and beavers, and you buy them in exchange for European goods such as iron pots and steel sewing needles.  The Native American tribes in this region do not have the technology to make steel and iron products, so they are very eager to trade.

After six years in New France, you have made a comfortable life for yourself.  You married a Native American woman named Onahtah, from the Iroquois tribe.  She helps you communicate with her people.  You have made a lot of money living in America and enjoy your life here.

Things have started to change recently.  English colonists from the coast have started moving into the Ohio Valley, where you do most of your trading.  Some of them have started trapping the same animals that you buy from the Native Americans, which is upsetting the Native Americans.  Other English colonists are cutting down the forest to build farms, which is scaring the animals and taking land away from the Native Americans.

How does Jacques Gladieux feel about what the English colonists are doing?  Why?

What should he do next?

Conflict in the West 3

You are Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, which means that you are the second most powerful member of the colonial government.  Having an important job is great, but it doesn’t pay for the expensive clothes that your children want.  Your daughters are getting older—old enough to get married—and they want to look beautiful all the time so they can attract a rich husband.  You want them to be happy, so you need to find a way to make more money.

To make more money, you decide to sell land out west in the Ohio Valley (see the map below).  Because you’re the Lieutenant Governor, you have the power to give a company the right to sell that land.  You then become the president of the new Ohio Company so you can get rich selling that land in the Ohio Valley to the colonists.  This plan works well, and you are able to make your children very happy.

The only problem with your scheme is that the French colonists in New France think that they own the land.  To show how serious they are about keeping the land, the French send 800 soldiers and start building forts in the Ohio Valley.

Should Lt. Governor Dinwiddie be allowed to sell that land in the Ohio Valley?  Why/why not?

How should Lt. Governor Dinwiddie respond to what the French are doing in the Ohio Valley?

Conflict in the West 4

You are Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, an American-born English soldier.  You have been sent by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia to defend the Ohio Valley.  The French want access to the Ohio Valley so they can continue to use it for fur trading.  You have orders to stop them, because the Lt. Governor insists that the Ohio Valley is part of Virginia.

You assemble your soldiers and march to the Ohio Valley.  This is the first command you have gotten, and you are eager to do a good job.  If this goes well, you might get promoted to a full colonel, or even a general.

When you get to Ohio, it’s a total wilderness: you have marched for days and all you see are miles and miles of trees.  You arrive at Fort LeBoeuf, one of the French forts, and deliver a polite letter asking the French to leave.  The French commander informs you that they will not.  You return to Virginia to inform the Lt. Governor of the bad news.

To secure the English claim on the Ohio Valley, another English military commander goes west to set up a fort.  They have a difficult time building the fort, and before they are finished, the French attack and take over the fort.  The French finish building the fort and name it Fort Duquesne.  It takes days for the news of this event to reach you in Virginia.

When Lieutenant Colonel Washington hears about what happened to the English fort, what will he think?

What should Lieutenant Colonel Washington do next?


Causes of the French and Indian War

Action How did it cause conflict?


(Who did it upset and why?)

What effect did it have?
Land in Virginia and the other original colonies became very expensive


English colonists & fur traders moved to the Ohio Valley


Lt. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia sells land in the Ohio Valley


The French built military forts in the Ohio Valley & attack the English fort


Name:                                                                                                              Early US History

Which side will you choose?

In the 1750s war was about to break out between the French and the English, and Native American tribes were faced with a tough choice.   Which side would they choose?  Use these facts to help you make a decision.

The English & English Colonists… The French & French colonists…
  • Want to use your land for fur trading and farming
  • Think that Native Americans are “savages”
  • Want to expand their territory further to the West
  • Have a steadily growing population in America
  • Want to use your land for fur trading
  • Have married Native Americans and raised families with them in America
  • Have many missionaries living in the west that try to convert Native Americans to Christianity
  • Have a relatively small population in America

If the French and English are going to have war, which side will your Native American tribe be allies with?  Explain why you chose that answer.


Homework: Major causes of the French & Indian War

1) The French were mad at the English colonists because:

2) The English colonists were mad at the French because:

3) The Native Americans were mad at the British because:

For these reasons, they fought a war.  Between 1754 and 1763, English soldiers (from the American colonies and England) battled French and Native American soldiers, which is why Americans call it the French and Indian War.  Most other countries call it the Seven Years War.  When the fighting stopped in 1763, America was a very different place.

4) Why do you think it’s called the Seven Years War?

5) In what ways might a war affect a country?  List as many ways as you can think of.

Day 2:

Unit Name: Causes of the Revolution
Lesson Plan Title: The Essential Question Day within the Unit #:


“What impacts did the French & Indian War have on the English Colonies?”

State Standard(s):


US I.1 A …impact of the French & Indian War

Lesson Objective(s): The student will be able to:                                  (Include Resources)


  • Explain several impacts the French and Indian War had on the American colonies
  • Identify cause and effect relationships




Lesson                                                                                                                    Time
Do Now (5 min)Students will answer the question “Is it better for a country to win a war, or lose a war?  Explain why.”    During this time the teacher will check students’ homework sheets.  After 3 minutes, students will be asked to share their answers and the do now will be collected.


Class Brainstorm (10-15 min)—Students will be instructed to look at the last question on their homework, “In what ways might a war affect a country” and a volunteer student will record class brainstorming on the board.  Students will be encouraged to add to their answer on the homework (it has already been checked).

As the list grows, the teacher will pose the question: “Does it matter if a country wins or loses?  Which of these are bad for both the winner and the loser?”  And another student volunteer (with help from the class) will star or underline which ones are bad for both sides.

Graphic Organizer Notes (20 minutes): The teacher will explain that just like the class theorized, a war can have a big impact on the countries that fight.  Each student will get a copy of the graphic organizer for notes on the causes and effects of the war.  (attached as PowerPoint)

To fill out of the effects section, student volunteers will add to the causes of the war.

Then the war happened and the teacher will remind students who fought on which side.

Then the teacher will explain the major effects & the British government’s reaction while modeling the notes they will take on the overhead.

Ticket to go (5 min): Students will individually answer the question “Do you think the colonists in America were happy about how the war turned out?  Why or why not?”

Accommodations for Special Needs and ARL Students:


Graphic organizer

Teacher modelling notes—copy of teacher notes available for students


Assessment Strategies (Traditional/Authentic):Working towards proficiency


Ticket to go will show if students understand how the war impacted colonists beyond the simple fact that they “won”


(I can send you a larger version of this graphic organizer in a word document or PowerPoint upon request)

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93 Responses to “French & Indian War: Causes & Effects”

  1. Creighton Davis Says:

    Hi Whitney,

    This is a great lesson! I definitely plan on using it.

    Could you send the French and Indian Causes and Effects in a word document?

    Are there any U.S. history lessons that you wouldn’t mind sharing?

    Thank you!


  2. rachel caudill Says:

    i love this mini-unit…could you please email me a copy of the corresponding worksheets? I am beginning this unit tomorrow with my fifth grade class

  3. Jackson Lay Says:

    Hi Whitney
    This is a great lesson, and it help me to learn the lesson about the French and Indian War.
    Can you send me a word document or PowerPoint so I can use it to study for my exam?
    Thank You!

  4. Anita Slater Says:

    Thanks for posting this unit. I actually stumbled across it last year and used it. I cannot seem to find the graphic organizer on my flash drive. Would you be willing to send it to me?

  5. kbrumley Says:

    Great lesson. would you mind sending me th ecause/effect graphic organizer?

  6. Aleks Says:

    Great Idea! I am definitely planning to use portions of this.

    Would you mind sending me the docs/PPT if you have them?



  7. Brent Says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for and has some great ideas and great organization. I would appreciate if you could send me any documents associated with it.


  8. Liz Says:

    I would love to have a copy of the Graphic Organizer. This is perfect for my 8th grade class! Thank you!

  9. Ms. Antoinette Erwin Says:

    I am an ESOL teacher who is trying to assist my students and I love what you have done. Can you please send me your cause and effect sheet in Word along with any corrisponding handouts?

  10. Alisha Says:

    I would love to have a copy of the graphic organizer! It would be perfect for my 8th grade class.. we are starting it Monday! Thanks

  11. heidi Says:

    Great – would love to have a copy of the graphic organizer.

  12. Heather Bologna Says:

    This is a great lesson! I would love a copy of the graphic organizer.

  13. C Taylor Says:

    I also teach reading… Reading through SS so I like this approach.

    Could you please forward the graphic organizer and PPT? Oh, and you mentioned a map featuring New France is it possible to send that too?


  14. hillary Says:

    Hello! I would like a word document of the graphic organizer!I work with Deaf students, so this is really helpful to have a visual representation! Thanks! :)

  15. Judy Dunn Says:

    Good lesson! I am looking forward to using it with my class. can you please forward the word document for the graphic organizer. Thank you so much.

  16. Rachel Says:

    I would love to get a copy of the handouts in word form and the power point if possible. This lesson looks great, thank you for sharing!!

  17. cale Says:

    Hey – I’m very interested in this. Can I receive the PPT too? Thanks!

  18. shannon Says:

    Great lesson. can you please forward the word document of the graphic organizer. Thanks!!

  19. shannon Says:

    I just noticed….would you please forward the PPT, graphic organizers, and map featuring New France if available. Thank you so much!!!

  20. C Beckman Says:

    Can you send me this lesson in a word doc with corresponding worksheets, thank you!!!

  21. C Beckman Says:

    And PowerPoint!! Thank you!!!

  22. C Beckman Says:

    I anyway you can send me the worksheets/ PPT via word?? thanks!!!

  23. Brent Says:

    This looks like a great lesson and I would love to get a copy of the handouts in word form and the PPT. If at all possible.
    Thank You

  24. S Myers Says:

    Great lesson idea. I would love to have a copy of the files if possible. Thanks!

  25. Christy Says:

    Great lesson! I have searched the web for F&I War and have found very little good quality lesson materials. May I have the Word resources and ppt?

  26. Leinad Says:

    This is an EXCELLENT lesson!! If you could please send me the resources, I would greatly appreciate it!

  27. Cory Says:

    Hey I like this lesson, if you could send me the power point for day 2 that would be awesome. You can send it to Thanks.

  28. Vivian Starbuck Says:

    Hi Whitney,
    This is a great interactive lesson that I plan to use with my class tomorrow. Can you please send me a copy of the resources. I really appreciate your creativity and help.
    Vivian Starbuck

  29. Megan Flaherty Says:

    This lesson looks wonderful! I would like to try it out with my class tomorrow, if possible could you please email it to me?
    Thank you so much!
    Megan Flaherty

  30. Tori Says:

    I’d appreciate it if you could send me the resources. This looks great!

  31. Brandi Says:

    These lessons look great! Could you please send me the resources? Thank you:)

  32. Malisia Says:

    Can you send me a copy of the files please.Thanks!

  33. barbara hartmann Says:

    I am teaching Social studies for the first time this year. This lesson looks like it would be very helpful to me. Please send me any and all of the files and resources are available.
    Thanks for the help.

  34. allifos Says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for regarding this topic. Would love a word document file sent to:
    Thanks-looking forward to future ideas!

  35. Tracy Olmsted Says:

    Would love a copy of the resources. Many thanks.

  36. Jenifer Powell Says:

    I would love a copy of the word doc. Thank you so much for sharing…this is my 1st time teaching this part of history!

  37. Jenifer Powell Says:

    I would love a word version of your document. This looks like a great lesson. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Katie Says:

    Could you send me a copy of your word file? I love this lesson. I had just started creating one and would like to use your cause and effect map. Thanks.

  39. Rita Says:

    Hi my name is Rita could you please send me a copy of this lesson plan and graphic organizer. It looks great and I would love to use it in my U.S. History and Government class.


  40. Jen Says:

    I would love to have a copy of these files to use with my class. Thanks so much!

  41. Stephanie Says:

    Love this, could you send me the word or ppt of the organizers?

  42. Denise D. Says:

    Please send me a copy of the files. These look great and I would love to use them with my students. Thank you

  43. Michele Flynn Says:

    I would also like a copy of graphic organizers…love the lessons. Thanks!

  44. Jake Says:

    Neat lesson. I especially liked the perspectives and the collaborative approach. Would you email me the corresponding powerpoint and any other documents? I would love to use them with my students.

  45. Shannon Says:

    I am requesting the files for this lesson. Thank you!

  46. Brian Harpster Says:

    This lesson sounds great and manageable for my class. I would love to have a copy of the graphic organizer and the PowerPoint. Thanks in advance.

  47. Scott C. Says:

    Hello! This looks like an excellent lesson! Could you please email the word documents to me at
    Thanks so much!

  48. Lauren Says:

    If you’re still sending PPT’s and Word docs out on this, I’d love to have a copy!

  49. Gaby Says:

    Hi, can you send me the word doc

  50. Laura Fleming Says:

    Hi Whitney,
    Thank you so much for sharing this unit. I have to present a lesson on the French and Indian War tomorrow for a class and an interview committee. Would it be possible for you to send me the lesson files tonight. I would really appreciate that!

  51. Nagla Says:

    Hey Whitney,

    This lesson is perfect and I really would like to use this lesson plan in my classroom this week. If you could send me the word documents and whatever files you have for this lesson, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for providing teachers with such a great resource!

  52. jackie Says:

    Love this lesson! Can you send me a copy of the power point? Please send to

  53. JoLinn Broughton Says:

    Love the lesson! Can you send me the word documents and PPT. Thanks so much

  54. Megan Says:

    This is a great lesson! Would you be able to send me a word document of the cause and effect worksheet to use with my class? Thanks!

  55. Maddie Says:

    This is great!! I would so appreciate it if u sent ur materials to me as this is my first yr teaching 8th grade US History!

  56. Nick Vecchio Says:

    This lesson is great, exactly what I was looking for. I would love a copy in the word document form. Thank you so much !
    email is

  57. Torri Says:

    I’m always looking for great ideas to teach outside of the box- I would love the resources that go along with this lesson! Thanks

  58. Deanna Dennis Says:

    This is my first year teaching 8th grade US History. I would love to use this material. My email Thank you!!!!!

  59. Eric Holtorf Says:

    This lesson looks awesome, I look forward to using I in my own classroom this week. Could you send me a copy in the word document and the Power Point to accompany it. Thanks

  60. Steph Chaisson Says:

    I love this lesson ! Would you mind sending me a copy of the PowerPoint and word document? Thank you !

  61. sandra Says:

    Could you email me a copy on word also

  62. Lisa Febus Says:

    I too would love a copy of these files to use with my class! Could you send them? Thanks, Lisa

  63. Katie Says:

    This lesson looks wonderful! I would love to get a copy of the cause and effect worksheet!

  64. Jill Says:

    Please send me the word document, maps, and power point of the lesson. The lesson sounds great!

  65. Roberta Hoppes Says:

    lesson looks great. May I have the handouts?

  66. Emma Says:

    This lesson is great! Could you please send me the info you have on it?

  67. Coach Tollison Says:

    Amazing! Can I have the digital copies as well? Thank you!

  68. Jolene Lanier Says:

    I would love to have a copy of this! You are exactly right that we have so little time to cover the material!

  69. Jonathan Says:

    I also agree, a great lesson for the new Common Core curriculum. If you could forward the documents and PPT that would be awesome!

  70. Roxann Says:

    Could you send this to me in a word document? Looks great.

  71. KIm Says:

    Could you please send a copy? This looks great!

  72. Matt Spencer Says:

    Def requesting files.

  73. Aubree Says:

    I would love to have all of the files as well. Thanks for sharing a great lesson!

  74. Amanda Ballard Says:

    I would love a copy of the resources that you offered. My e-mail is

    Also, I like this video from Keith Hughes:

  75. Devon Says:

    I would also like a word doc form of this lesson please!

  76. Suzanne Jarrell Says:

    Great lesson, Could you send me a digital copy? Great Job! You make teaching easier!

  77. Emily Says:

    I too would love a copy of the word document. Thank you for posting such a thorough lesson plan! It is great!

  78. Emily Says:

    Has anyone received this recently? I would really like to use it. Can someone forward me the word doc?

  79. adam bazant Says:

    this lesson looks great! I would love a copy in word form as well! thanks.

  80. Hillary Lundgreen Says:

    I love this lesson. Would you please send me a copy in a Word document? Thank you so much!

  81. Curshina Says:

    Thanks for sharing this lesson it sounds great and I can’t wait to share it with my fourth grade class. Could you please email the graphic organizer and powerpoint. Thanks again.

  82. Emily Says:

    An excellent, meaningful and interactive lesson. Can you please send me the PPT and word documents?

  83. Christina Says:

    I really like some of the ideas in this lesson. Can you please send me bot put he word documents and the PowerPoint? Thanks so much!

  84. Travis Putnam Says:

    Hi, This looks like a really great lesson. Can you please send me your documents?

    I’d greatly appreciate it!

  85. Michael Chapman Says:

    I would appreciate it if you could send me the documents in Word form. Great lesson!

  86. Kelly Holeman Says:

    Love it. Could you please send me the Word doc and the PPT?

  87. Erin Farley Says:

    Hi- I would appreciate a word version as well as a copy of your powerpoint. Thanks!

  88. Andrew Hunter Says:

    Good evening,

    This is such a great lesson, can you possibly send me the the documents and the power point so I can use this this week!

    Thank you again,

  89. Jenny Says:

    Very organized lesson, love it, could I have the files for it please in a word document. Thanks

  90. angeline Says:

    Can I also please have a copy of these files? They seem really engaging.

    Thanks a bunch!

  91. Jaime Says:

    This is fantastic! Would you be able to e-mail me the documents and ppt?


  92. Lucindy Cunningham Says:

    This lesson is great. Please send me a copy of graphic organizers in a larger version in word document. Thanks!!!

  93. Connie Says:

    Can I please get a copy sent as a word file also! I have taught this lesson four years now and was searching for a new way to present this. I love your lesson! Thank you for sharing!

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