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5 Lesson Plans
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were the Irish considered "white" in the 19th century? The teacher introduces the topic with background information on anti-Irish hostility. Students are then split into groups of 4 and given 2 political cartoons (one by Thomas Nast), a primary source except from a Know-Nothing newspaper, and a secondary source by historian David Roediger. For each, they answer guiding questions, and then, using all 4 documents, compare evidence that Irish were/were not considered "white." A final class discussion addresses the racially ambiguous status of the Irish.
In this lesson, students analyze 3 primary source documents (an editorial by Alexander Hamilton, and back-and-forth letters by Senators Rufus King and Timothy Pickering) in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Federalists oppose the Louisiana Purchase? The teacher models sourcing and contextualization to help students analyze the documents while the students fill in a graphic organizer. A final class discussion attempts to uncover the Federalist critics' real motivations—was their opposition practical or political?
In this lesson, students analyze maps, art, and primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How did Americans justify westward expansion? To begin the lesson, students will examine a painting entitled "American Progress. "Students will compare 2 maps of the U.S.: a political map from 1872 and an electoral map from 1816. Next, students examine another 1816 map; the map is unusual in that it depicts the U.S. stretching to the Pacific—decades before this actually happened! Students will read 2 passages by John O'Sullivan, coiner of the phrase "Manifest Destiny," and answer guiding questions. A final class discussion reviews students' answers and touches on the subject of American Exceptionalism.
In this lesson, students analyze 3 source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was Nat Turner a hero or a madman? The lesson begins by first reading the class textbook's account of the Nat Turner massacre and then reading a timeline which includes Turner's capture and execution. The teacher them models the first document, an excerpt from Thomas Gray's Confessions of Nat Turner, by helping students answer sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading questions. Students then do the same with 2 more documents: a newspaper editorial contemptuous of Turner and an admiring 1843 speech by Henry Garnet to the National Negro Convention. Finally, students use all 3 documents to write a response to the central question and discuss as a class: what kind of person was Nat Turner?
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Texans declare independence from Mexico in 1836? The teacher introduces the topic with a film clip (Note: requires registration to Discovery Education's website) and timeline and elicits student hypotheses. Students are then given 4 documents: 1) the Texas Declaration of Independence, 2) a letter by Tejano Rafael Manchola, 3) a speech by Mexican Juan Seguin, and 4) a pamphlet by abolitionist Benjamin Lundy. Students then analyze each using a graphic organizer; a final class discussion invites students to participate in the historical debate.
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