As educators, you’re always looking for innovative ways to enhance our teaching methods and engage your students. Microsoft Copilot is a powerful tool that can assist in creating comprehensive lesson plans and tests. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can leverage Copilot to design effective learning materials.

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

Before diving into the creation process, it’s crucial to outline the learning objectives of your lesson. What do you want your students to learn? For example, if you’re teaching about the Dawes Commission, your objective might be for students to understand its formation, purpose, and impact on Native American land ownership.

Step 2: Gather Your Resources

Copilot can help you compile a list of resources, but it’s up to you to ensure they’re accurate and appropriate for your class. This might include textbook excerpts, primary sources, and online databases.

Step 3: Structure Your Lesson Plan

With your objectives and resources in hand, use Copilot to draft the structure of your lesson plan. Break it down into sections like Introduction, Lesson Development, and Conclusion. Copilot can suggest activities and discussion points for each part.

Step 4: Create Interactive Content

Engage your students with interactive content. Ask Copilot to generate quizzes, discussion questions, or project ideas that align with your lesson’s theme. For instance, it can create a 20-question multiple-choice test on the Dawes Commission, ensuring it covers all key points discussed in the lesson.

Step 5: Personalize and Adapt

While Copilot provides a solid foundation, personalize the content to fit your teaching style and your students’ needs. Adapt the language, examples, and activities to make them more relatable and effective.

Step 6: Review and Refine

Go over the lesson plan and test to ensure they meet educational standards and objectives. Copilot can assist in checking for clarity and coherence, but the final judgment rests with you, the educator.

Step 7: Implement and Assess

Once you’re satisfied with the lesson plan and test, it’s time to implement them in the classroom. Afterward, use Copilot to help analyze the results of the test and assess the effectiveness of the lesson.

Step 8: Reflect and Iterate

Reflect on what worked well and what could be improved. Use Copilot to tweak the lesson plan and test for future classes, ensuring continuous improvement in your teaching methods.

Conclusion: Microsoft Copilot is a versatile assistant that can streamline the lesson planning and test creation process. By following these steps, you can craft engaging and informative materials that resonate with your students. Remember, Copilot is a tool to augment your expertise, not replace it. Your knowledge, intuition, and experience as an educator are irreplaceable.


Example Lesson Plan Creation

Below shows the prompts I used to create a lesson plan and 20-question test about the Dawes Commission. I came up with the idea overnight, and it took me about 10 minutes to create this lesson plan and test. Before presenting this lesson, I would gather more information and details using the referenced material. This is an example of what can be done quickly with Microsoft Copilot AI.

COPILOT PROMPT

This is the prompt I gave Copilot. Notice I gave Copilot a persona to begin with:

You are an 8th grade history teacher who likes to teach all sides and points of view in regards to history. You are now teaching your students American History and are teaching them about the Dawes Commission. Write a lesson plan explaining to students how the Dawes Commission was formed, why it was formed, how Congress approved of the Dawes Commission. Include a section about the debate on both sides about the reasoning behind the Dawes Commission and how it affected Native American tribal ownership of land in Oklahoma and surrounding states. Describe what happened to Native American land ownership after the Dawes Commission and how it affected both tribal land ownership and personal ownership of land, and include the long-term affect the Dawes Commission and the Dawes Rolls still have in Native American culture, tribal history, and land ownership.

LESSON PLAN

Copilot came back with this lesson plan witih links to source material.

Lesson Plan: The Dawes Commission and Its Impact

Objective:

Students will understand the formation, purpose, and impact of the Dawes Commission on Native American land ownership and culture.

Materials:

  • Textbook excerpts
  • Primary source documents
  • Maps of tribal lands before and after the Dawes Commission
  • Access to online archives and databases for research

Introduction (10 minutes):

  • Begin with a discussion on the concept of land ownership and its importance to different cultures.
  • Introduce the Dawes Commission as a pivotal moment in American history that significantly altered Native American land ownership.

Lesson Development:

Part 1: Formation of the Dawes Commission (15 minutes)

Part 2: Purpose of the Dawes Commission (15 minutes)

Part 3: Congressional Approval (15 minutes)

Part 4: Debate and Reasoning (20 minutes)

Part 5: Impact on Land Ownership (20 minutes)

Conclusion (15 minutes):

Assessment:

  • Students will write a short essay reflecting on the different perspectives regarding the Dawes Commission and its impact on Native American communities.

Homework:

  • Students will research a specific case of how the Dawes Rolls affected an individual or family and present their findings to the class.

This lesson plan aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Dawes Commission and encourage critical thinking about its consequences. It’s important to approach this topic with sensitivity and respect for the affected communities.

Test Questions

I asked Copilot to create a 20-question multiple-choice test based on the lesson plan Copilot gave me:

Certainly! Here’s a multiple-choice test to assess students’ understanding of the Dawes Commission and its impact:

  1. What was the primary goal of the Dawes Commission?
    • A) To preserve tribal land ownership
    • B) To negotiate treaties with Native American tribes
    • C) To divide tribal land into individual plots
    • D) To promote communal land ownership
  2. Who was Senator Henry L. Dawes, and what role did he play in the commission’s formation?
    • A) A Native American leader who advocated for tribal sovereignty
    • B) A senator who introduced legislation to create the commission
    • C) A commissioner appointed by President Cleveland
    • D) A historian who documented the commission’s work
  3. Which act of Congress allowed the Dawes Commission to take over certain functions of tribal government?
    • A) The Indian Removal Act
    • B) The Curtis Act
    • C) The Homestead Act
    • D) The Indian Reorganization Act
  4. What was the broader goal of the Dawes Commission regarding Native Americans?
    • A) To maintain traditional tribal practices
    • B) To assimilate Native Americans into mainstream US society
    • C) To protect tribal sovereignty
    • D) To promote cultural preservation
  5. How did the Dawes Commission impact tribal land ownership?
    • A) It expanded tribal land bases
    • B) It led to the loss of tribal land
    • C) It encouraged communal land ownership
    • D) It had no effect on land ownership
  6. What did the Dawes Commission do with “surplus” land?
    • A) Sold it to non-Native settlers
    • B) Returned it to the tribes
    • C) Used it for public parks
    • D) Converted it into reservations
  7. How did the Dawes Commission affect traditional migratory patterns of Native American tribes?
    • A) It disrupted them
    • B) It had no impact
    • C) It strengthened them
    • D) It encouraged them
  8. What were the Dawes Rolls used for?
    • A) To track tribal membership
    • B) To document tribal ceremonies
    • C) To record tribal legends
    • D) To map tribal territories
  9. Which term describes the transition from communal to individual land ownership?
    • A) Assimilation
    • B) Reservation
    • C) Allotment
    • D) Sovereignty
  10. What is the long-term impact of the Dawes Commission on Native American culture?
    • A) Increased tribal unity
    • B) Preservation of traditional practices
    • C) Ongoing debates about tribal membership and land rights
    • D) Eradication of tribal identity
  11. Which tribe was NOT directly impacted by the Dawes Commission?
    • A) Cherokee
    • B) Choctaw
    • C) Sioux
    • D) Creek
  12. What role did the Curtis Act play in the Dawes Commission’s work?
    • A) It expanded tribal sovereignty
    • B) It provided funding for land surveys
    • C) It allowed the commission to take over tribal functions
    • D) It abolished the commission
  13. What was the main reason behind opposition to the Dawes Commission?
    • A) Fear of losing cultural identity
    • B) Desire for individual land ownership
    • C) Support for tribal sovereignty
    • D) Political disagreements
  14. How did the Dawes Commission impact personal ownership of land?
    • A) It increased personal land holdings
    • B) It decreased personal land holdings
    • C) It had no effect on personal land ownership
    • D) It led to communal land ownership
  15. Which term refers to the process of dividing tribal land into individual plots?
    • A) Allotment
    • B) Reservation
    • C) Sovereignty
    • D) Assimilation
  16. What is the significance of the Dawes Rolls in Native American history?
    • A) They documented tribal ceremonies
    • B) They served as a census of tribal members
    • C) They mapped tribal territories
    • D) They recorded tribal legends
  17. How did the Dawes Commission impact Native American tribal history?
    • A) It strengthened tribal traditions
    • B) It erased tribal history
    • C) It preserved oral histories
    • D) It had no effect on tribal history
  18. What is the legacy of the Dawes Commission today?
    • A) Ongoing legal battles over land ownership
    • B) Increased tribal sovereignty
    • C) Preservation of communal land
    • D) Forgotten history
  19. Which act is commonly associated with the Dawes Commission?
    • A) The Indian Removal Act
    • B) The Hom

Follow-Up Questions to Copilot

When you are working with typical large language model AI such as Copilot, you can have a conversation on a topic such as the Dawes Commission noted above. Copilot remembers what you were talking about and you can ask further questions to either get more information or to refine your lesson plan.

I wanted to elaborate on the political aspects of the Dawes Commission so I continued with this prompt next:

COPILOT PROMPT

Provide more detail about the political arguments behind the creation of the Dawes commission. Provide links to any speeches or debate given at the time in congress. Describe the position of various Native American tribes to the Dawes Act and how they felt about it. Explain which tribes were covered by the Dawes Commission and why they were the tribes chosen.

The Dawes Commission, officially known as the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, was established by an act of Congress on March 3, 18931. It was named after Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts, who was a significant proponent of the allotment policy that aimed to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society1The commission’s task was to negotiate agreements with the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole tribes—collectively known as the Five Civilized Tribes—regarding the allotment of tribal lands1.

Political Arguments Behind the Creation: The political arguments for the creation of the Dawes Commission were rooted in the belief that the communal ownership of land by Native American tribes was a barrier to their assimilation into American society. Reformers and policymakers argued that individual land ownership would encourage Native Americans to adopt farming and integrate into the economic life of the country2However, there were also economic interests at play, as the allotment of tribal lands would open up “surplus” lands to non-Native settlers3.

Congressional Debates: Debates in Congress reflected these views, with proponents of the Dawes Act arguing that it would lead to the civilization and eventual citizenship of Native Americans. Opponents, however, raised concerns about the loss of tribal sovereignty and the potential negative impacts on Native American communities4.

Native American Tribes’ Position: Many Native American tribes opposed the Dawes Act and the work of the Dawes Commission. They viewed the allotment policy as a direct attack on their traditional way of life and communal land ownership. The act was seen as a means to strip them of their land and resources, and there was widespread resistance among the tribes5The Five Civilized Tribes, in particular, had already adopted many aspects of European-American culture and governance, and they resisted the imposition of further changes that would disrupt their societies6.

Tribes Covered by the Dawes Commission: The Dawes Commission focused on the Five Civilized Tribes—Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole—because they occupied over twenty million acres of valuable land in what is now Oklahoma1. These tribes were chosen due to their relatively advanced integration of European-American economic, social, and governmental practices, which made them distinct from other tribes. Additionally, their lands were highly coveted for settlement and development by non-Native Americans7.

The Dawes Commission and the Dawes Act had long-lasting effects on Native American tribes, leading to significant loss of land and cultural disruption. The legacy of these policies continues to influence Native American communities today.

As you work with Copilot you will learn that the more detailed and specific your craft the prompt, the more precise the information you get back from Copilot. You will want to verify the information since today’s large language models may at times “hallucinate” or make things up to support their point (not unlike humans). And you, the teacher, are still crucial to the role of teaching and coming up with the ideas behind the lesson plan. You still need to come up with the ideas, but Copilot can make the mundane tasks of creating a lesson plan much easier and allow you to focus on teaching.


This blog post is designed to guide school teachers and superintendents through the process of using Microsoft Copilot to create lesson plans and tests. It’s a starting point to explore the capabilities of Copilot in the realm of education. Remember, the most effective teaching materials are those that are thoughtfully crafted with both the educator’s insight and the students’ needs in mind.

If you have questions or need assistance with Microsoft Copilot 365, contact your Twotrees account representive for more information on licensing, training, and support.


NOTE: The image used in this post was created with Microsoft Copilot using the following prompt:

Create an image of a male high school history teacher sitting behind a computer in his classroom as he uses Microsoft Copilot to create a lesson plan. There are no students in the room, only the teacher. It is after the students have left for a break. The classoom is decorated in Native American history and Constitutional history documents. Make the image realistic.

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