Florida During the Spanish-American War of 1898

The Rough Riders in Tampa
4th Grade Lesson Plan

CPALMS Reviewed and Approved

This lesson has been reviewed and approved by CPALMS.


Theodore Roosevelt led the most famous unit fighting in Cuba, the "Rough Riders." The First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry were a diverse group including Native Americans, Ivy League athletes, Texas Rangers, cowboys and gold prospectors.

The Rough Riders went to Tampa at the end of May. On June 13, they left Tampa to fight in Cuba. Two years after the end of the war, Roosevelt went on to become the 26th president of the United States.

These images show Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders in Tampa in 1898 as they prepare to leave for Cuba.


Students will:

  • Analyze primary source documents (photographs).
  • Write about history using primary sources.



Sunshine State Standards

  • SS.4.A.1.1: Analyze primary and secondary resources to identify significant individuals and events throughout Florida history.
  • SS.4.A.6.3: Describe the contributions of significant individuals to Florida.
    Examples may include, but are not limited to, John Gorrie, Henry Flagler, Henry Plant, Lue Gim Gong, Vicente Martinez Ybor, Julia Tuttle, Mary McLeod Bethune, Thomas Alva Edison, James Weldon Johnson, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
  • SS.4.A.6.4: Describe effects of the Spanish-American War on Florida.
    Examples are Rough Riders, cigar industry.

Florida Standards

  • LAFS.4.RI.1.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.2: Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.3: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.3.9: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • LAFS.K12.R.1.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

Materials Needed

  1. Photo Analysis Worksheet from the National Archives and Records Administration
  2. Four photographs from the State Archives of Florida


Part I: Introducing Content

  1. You may review previously covered material dealing with the Rough Riders, Theodore Roosevelt and the Spanish-American War.
  2. Consider conducting an in-class discussion/survey of students’ prior knowledge.
    • Who were the Rough Riders?
    • How were the Rough Riders connected to Florida?
    • What role did the Rough Riders play in the Spanish-American War?

Part II: Photo Analysis

  1. Assign or have students choose one of the four photographs.
  2. Students will analyze the photographs. Students should record their reactions to the photographs using the Photo Analysis Worksheet.
  3. Conduct an in-class discussion/survey of what students learned during the photo analysis. What can students infer from the photographs about the activities of the Rough Riders in Florida? Were they surprised by anything they saw? The teacher can take this time to answer any questions students might have after their examination of the photographs.

Part III: Writing About the Rough Riders

Students should write brief journal responses to the photographs focused on what they learned about the Rough Riders.

Related Resources

  • Roosevelt, Theodore. The Rough Riders. New York: Charles Scribner’s sons, 1899; Bartleby.com, 1997.